June Paid Advertising Success: $1240 spent > $20,820 bookings generated

Matt Landau

Staff member
Ambassadors
Yesterday, on a panel I was asked "What's your favorite booking channel?"

And I said "It's a new channel that just came out. It's called 'Word of Mouth.'"

It was half cheeky joke, half serious because the mother category (direct bookings) is so much more complex, nuanced, and powerful than saying "Airbnb" or "Vrbo."

Not long after the panel, I got a note from Terry Terry who shared with me his June paid advertising numbers using the services of ConradO ConradO ...
  • Terry has been aiming to grow direct bookings in 2022
  • With Conrad he has been working on the 3 core pillars of direct booking traffic: search, social and email marketing.
  • Search: Conrad is running paid search ads ($677 on Google ads + $297 on Bing ads) targeting people searching for properties in Anna Maria Island
  • Search: Conrad created content (blog posts) and building links to Terry's site to improve organic traffic
  • Social: They are retargeting (across Facebook and Instagram) ALL who visit Terry's website but do not book
  • Email: They're reaching out via newsletter / monthly email to all past guests and past leads with offers to book directly
Conrad clarifies, "we've been at this since the Fall of 2020, but our paid has expanded and been more aggressive (budget wise) in 2022."

The result?

June spend: $1240.00

Bookings directly attributed: $20,820.68

And according to Terry, "best part, I didn’t do a thing."

If that's not a ringing endorsement for paid advertising and hiring an expert like Conrad to go deeper into fields that generate results, I don't know what is!

Conrad has offered to answer your questions around paid advertising in the thread below...
 

DMartinez

Premium Member
Ambassadors
ConradO ConradO I have ONLY my one little house that serves as a part-time vacation rental. We use it 2 months out of the year plus any open dates that may coincide with our impromptu escape whims.

My marketing questions for you:
  • How do vacation rental homeowners get their one little house, not-a-business as defined by Google, marketed on their platform and elsewhere?
  • After being de-listed from Google Business - What are your suggestions for reinventing our business into one that is acceptable to Google marketing?
  • As a not-a-business how do we develop marketing ads?
 
ConradO ConradO I have ONLY my one little house that serves as a part-time vacation rental. We use it 2 months out of the year plus any open dates that may coincide with our impromptu escape whims.

My marketing questions for you:
  • How do vacation rental homeowners get their one little house, not-a-business as defined by Google, marketed on their platform and elsewhere?
  • After being de-listed from Google Business - What are your suggestions for reinventing our business into one that is acceptable to Google marketing?
  • As a not-a-business how do we develop marketing ads?
Hi Donna,

1) As mentioned in another post, you need to list yourself not as a vacation rental, but as a vacation rental AGENCY*.

2) Next, you get a business address by renting a post office at a UPS store or other such facility. You need this because Google will check to see if it is a business address and not a residence, and mail you a post card with a code to confirm your receipt of it at that address**.

3) Get yourself a specific separate business phone number that you put on your website using phone.com. Google will call periodically (it's a machine that does it) to check and see that you're actually 'open', and confirm your hours.

4) Maintain your Google Business Listing through Google Maps.

* As a vacation rental agency, Google doesn't care how many vacation rentals you represent. They don't need to know that you only represent ONE.

** After you have established yourself in a business location, and confirmed your existence via the postcard, you may choose to move your office address to some other place. In my case, I moved mine into a forest close to the centre of the subdivision where our three properties are located, however the new address that I gave Google for our 'office' matched the forest location and street address it would have, if it existed, even though there are no actual buildings in that location. It's silly, I know, but Google accepted it. And now on Google Maps, there is a business location pin, right in the middle of the subdivision where our homes are, with our business name right on it. It shows up on all kinds of maps on lots of different websites (even VRBO) where Google Map data is used to generate maps on those sites.

Note: I have seen others list themselves as hotels or BnB's on their Google Maps listings, but to me this seems a little risky and likely to draw unwanted negative attention from Google.
 
Hi all, Terry is being awesome here allowing these numbers to be shared in a community, 99% of the PPC work we do I can't share specific numbers :)

Happy to explain how this works on the search side - let me know if you have any questions.
Conrad, how do you do the Google ads to target people searching in a specific area? I would like to try that.
 
ConradO ConradO I have ONLY my one little house that serves as a part-time vacation rental. We use it 2 months out of the year plus any open dates that may coincide with our impromptu escape whims.

My marketing questions for you:
  • How do vacation rental homeowners get their one little house, not-a-business as defined by Google, marketed on their platform and elsewhere?
  • After being de-listed from Google Business - What are your suggestions for reinventing our business into one that is acceptable to Google marketing?
  • As a not-a-business how do we develop marketing ads?


1 - So while Google Maps may be off the table (or honestly just hard to keep verified) you still have organic search + paid search (Google Ads) on the table!

2 - The foolproof answer is that you need a physical address/office, which of course doesn't make sense for almost every single-property host out there. If you are unable to keep the Maps / My Business listing active, you pretty much have two options: play whack-a-mole with Google or retreat :)

3 - Even if Google doesn't allow you to have a business listing, they'll still take your money (and give you traffic in exchange) with Search Ads.

Search volume for Sea Ranch vacation rentals: during peak, almost 1k searches a month with average CPC between $1.20 and $5 per click.

1663848348880.png
 
This is AMAZING information! ConradO ConradO ... we also need to talk (but first I will attempt to set up some of the things you mentioned). We are moving from one VR that is booked into next year to 7 quickly and I would love to get the set up (social media organized) and ready to go when we are but I had no idea how! And then along came this post! Lucky me :) I would love to schedule a time to talk AND thank you for sharing this!
 

DMartinez

Premium Member
Ambassadors
ConradO ConradO ToonTownRob ToonTownRob Thanks for your responses.

Now that I have a relatively successful first year of independence under my belt (and money in the bank), I anticipate setting up Google Ads by the end of the year to kick my marketing into full steam... Step by carefully step.

I was listed as an "Agency". Google did call on occasion and it seemed fine with my one phone number. A dedicated number is up next.
I haven't given up the whack-a-mole approach until they slap my hand again yet. The challenge in getting the postcard is to set up a significant block of time to be there to check the local post office daily for their validation postcard. Unfortunately, our podunky local post office receives USPS mail under contract but doesn't forward mail...so stay tuned.
 
Hey Karen, that's very straightforward, in the campaign view there is a location tab where you can target or even exclude areas:

View attachment 5060
?????

Isn’t this targeting where the guests are from who will see your ad? And not necessarily those who are looking for your vacation rental location?

Am I wrong in thinking that the only way to target those looking to COME to your specific location is with key words that are your location’s name?
 
?????

Isn’t this targeting where the guests are from who will see your ad? And not necessarily those who are looking for your vacation rental location?

Am I wrong in thinking that the only way to target those looking to COME to your specific location is with key words that are your location’s name?

Not sure I follow, sorry!

This setting controls where the ads will show based on the location of the searcher. The keywords/queries control what the guest is searching - both are needed to see the best outcome and target the most effectively.
 
Not sure I follow, sorry!

This setting controls where the ads will show based on the location of the searcher. The keywords/queries control what the guest is searching - both are needed to see the best outcome and target the most effectively.
Karen's question was:
Conrad, how do you do the Google ads to target people searching in a specific area? I would like to try that.
I interpreted this to mean "How do you target people searching for a vacation rental located in a specific area?"

But your answer, as you have confirmed, explained how to target people located in a particular area, as per your example, in this case people located in Georgia, Alabama and Florida. Based on how I understood Karen's question, your response didn't answer what she was asking. (I fully recognize that my interpretation of her question could be wrong.) But I would really like to know the answer to the question I thought it was!

Targeting like you demonstrate makes sense and is useful for vacation rental hosts who have strong "drive-to" markets.

Like many others, I don't care where my guests come from as long as they come!

My location targeting of Google ads includes Canada, the United States, the UK, and Europe, as that is where the vast majority of our guests come from. There are no specific locations that it makes sense for us to target over others, based on an analysis of our guest's home addresses. We also get a few guests from South America and the Middle East (Our listings on a Japanese website did not produce any results.) but chose to ignore those locations.

Our guest home locations for Google advertising are HUGE! And way beyond my budget, unfortunately.
 
I also seem to have been de-listed by Google with no good reason. Nothing has changed and all of a sudden, Google my business has gone! I have tried to get re-listed, but I guess Google are busy with their 50 billion other customers!

Paid advertising for our area, seems to be very expensive, even using tightly marketed keywords and phrases. Now if I pay for an ad and it cost me, $20.00 and I get a $1,000 booking, then it's worth it, but we seemed to burn through our budget in no time with little or no return. Naturally I may just be rubbish at writing adverts! When we have tried to get assistance, using an external company to manage our Google ads and add their fee into the equation, I tend to loose our nerve! I realise this is labour intensive work and we are a small operation so some agencies won't even look at us.
 
I also seem to have been de-listed by Google with no good reason. Nothing has changed and all of a sudden, Google my business has gone! I have tried to get re-listed, but I guess Google are busy with their 50 billion other customers!

Paid advertising for our area, seems to be very expensive, even using tightly marketed keywords and phrases. Now if I pay for an ad and it cost me, $20.00 and I get a $1,000 booking, then it's worth it, but we seemed to burn through our budget in no time with little or no return. Naturally I may just be rubbish at writing adverts! When we have tried to get assistance, using an external company to manage our Google ads and add their fee into the equation, I tend to loose our nerve! I realise this is labour intensive work and we are a small operation so some agencies won't even look at us.
I am working on more in-depth training on this topic soon to share more about exactly *how* we run ads, even if the budget is $100 or $1,000 or $10,000 they follow a similar structure.
 

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Matt Landau
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