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Published by Nicole Kow | Jul 12, 2017 | | 2 MIN READ

5 ways to drive last-minute bookings with Google AdWords on a tight budget

Summer is here and there are a few things you can do to get those last couple of spaces booked up to maximise profits. 

One of them is by strategically advertising your tours or activities to last-minute, in-destination bookers using Google AdWords.

But, why last-minute bookers? 

In a previous article, I shared research on the growing last-minute booking trend and included an infographic to give you a visual representation of this growing booking behaviour. 

And why use Google AdWords?

With AdWords, you're able to display ads to people who are already in your destination and who are ready to book a tour or activity - they've just not found the right company yet.


What does this mean for your Google AdWords strategy?

Here's the thing - Google AdWords allows you to target these last-minute bookers by adjusting your targeting settings and by modifying your bids.

When choosing your "Campaign Type", select "Search Network only" and then select "All Features".



1. Adjust your target location to your destination to attract in-destination bookers

Under "Location (advanced)", select "People in my targeted location". This way, your ads will only show up for people who are already in your destination.

You can even limit the radius of where tour ad will show up, for example 20 miles from your office. This can be particularly effective if your office is surrounded by hostels or hotels. 

AdWords_location setting.png


2. Limit your ad spending by choosing Manual CPC

When selecting your bidding strategy, select "Manual CPC" to have more control over how much money you're willing to spend on your ads.

This way, you can increase bids on high performing keywords and decrease bids (or pause it altogether) for low performing keywords.


3. Include "Location" and "Call" in your ad-extension

These are two simple extensions that you absolutely need to include if you're hoping to get last minute bookings.

You want to make it as easy as possible for customers close by to find you and contact you (if they need to). Include all the relevant information to speed up the process. 


4. Set a schedule for your ads to maximise your budget

Set date and time of day for your ads to be displayed so that you're targetting all the right people at the right time. Think about it - what time of day and day in the week do you get the most bookings and inquiries? You can set up your ads to maximise performance within this time frame. 

Not sure when to schedule your ads? Run ads 24/7 for a week or two to identify search trends and then adjust your ad schedule accordingly. 


5. Optimise your landing pages for mobile


Did you know that a majority of last-minute bookings happen on mobile? However, the terrible experience people have with mobile booking sites drives them to search for the same services elsewhere

Running ads end up becoming something of a double-edged sword: on one hand most travellers are likely to only be carrying a smartphone while travelling (a tablet at most); while on the other hand bad mobile booking experiences are driving customers away. 

What can you do about this?

Optimise your mobile site to make sure that every ad click you get gives you the highest chance of converting that person into a paid customer. 

There are 3 simple things you can do today:

  1. Get a mobile responsive website and booking system (TrekkSoft can help you out with this).
  2. Use a secure payment gateway that delivers a seamless mobile experience.
  3. Make sure your site loads fast on mobile. Use this free Google tool to get a report on your page and scroll down for a list of recommendations on how to improve your site.

Read more: 9 ways mobile has changed the travel industry (and what tour and activity operators can do about it) 


Want more tips on Google AdWords? Download this free checklist to make sure your campaigns are performing well all season long.


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Nicole Kow
Published by Nicole Kow
Having graduated from the UK, Nicole travelled around Europe before joining TrekkSoft's marketing team. She is now based in KL and regularly blogs about her travels at Next Train Out.
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