The Do’s and Don’ts of SEM, Including “Bid Gap” Management and Intellectual Property Rights — Lodging Interactive White Paper Series: 2 of 7

Parsippany, NJ (PRWEB) November 29, 2005

In last weeks installment The Value of Search Engine Marketing we looked at the how your hotel website can be marketed via the search engines to drive business directly to your own website and your booking engine. This week we will cover some of the dos and donts for the hoteliers who choose to manage their own online marketing. We also touch on two often overlooked elements of online marketing; big gap management and protecting your intellectual property online.

It is important to understand two things when embarking on your own Search Engine Marketing (SEM) campaign. First, the search engines are all about making money and will gladly help you spend your marketing budget in a way which benefits them the most and not necessarily look after your hotels best interest. Secondly, the search engines are about offering relevant search results as without relevancy they would have no users and therefore would have no opportunities to spend your PPC funds. Yes, its a vicious circle. While most search engines have taken on a public position similar to church and state in separating their PPC business lines with their organic search group, one can simple read their annual reports to gain insight as to which side of the house their income in being derived from.

As we discussed in our last white paper, Pay-Per-Click (PPC) is nothing more than an online advertising/marketing campaign. One in which you, the hotel advertiser, pays to the search engine for every click which materializes by the searcher. Understanding how the PPC bidding process works is a key factor to your online success. Not only will every keyword or keyword phrase be priced differently, but the competitive landscape also influences the price of keyword clicks as well as your desired page position. Lets take a look at some of the dos and donts of PPC. For discussion purposes, lets assume your hotel is a luxury hotel located in mid-town New York.

DO: Research which keywords to use for your campaign Besides documenting the obvious keywords first which make sense for your property, go ahead and visit your competitors websites. On the home page of your competitors website, click on view in your browsers tool bar and scroll down to View Source. This will open up a new browser window on your screen which will show you the website computer code for your competitors home page. Next, look for a line of code near the top of the screen which is titled keywords. That line of text will show you which keywords your competitor is marketing themselves on via their organic search optimization efforts. Researching your competitors keywords will help you to fine tune your own list of keywords for your PPC program. Another good resource is to use Wordtracker, which is found at For less than $ 10, Wordtracker will help you find hundreds of relevant keywords for your PPC campaign. These keywords even include misspellings of popular keywords. Looking over your website server logs will also provide you with some insight as to which keywords your visitors are using to find your hotels website.

DONT: Pay the most per click just because your General Manager wants to see your hotel in the number one position all the time As mentioned previously PPC is mostly a bidding game, with the top rankings going to the highest bidder. So while it may make sense for you to bid top dollar for your hotels name on Yahoo, it doesnt make any sense to bid as aggressively for generic terms such as new york hotels. Doing so will certainly cause you to exhaust your PPC marketing budget in no time with irrelevant click throughs, which the search engines will happily send your way. Such generic terms are best left to the third party travel sites like Expedia or Travelocity to fight over the top few listings.

DO: Bid to be in the top 3 search positions The search engines have found more ways to spend your online marketing budget by syndicating their top listings to their network of third party search engines. So if you want your listing to appear on other search engines, its best to be positioned in the top 3 listingswhich will cost you more on a pay per click basis of course. Bidding to be in the top 3 positions must be done in a very targeted manner to gain the most value. Again, stay away from highly generic terms like hotels in new york but do target midtown hotels in new york or boutique hotels in new york.

DO: Protect your intellectual property rights aggressively — Want to see something really scary? Go to Yahoo and enter the exact name of your hotel and click Yahoo Search. I will bet youre seeing a bunch of sponsored listings which contain your hotels name bolded in the title or body of the listing. Welcome to what is referred too as click jacking. These aggressive marketers, some would say hijackers, are using your hotels name to cannibalize and divert business to their website versus sending the searcher on to your website. You need to aggressively go after these offenders as they are not only confusing your potential clients but are also driving up the per click cost for you to buy your own name as a keyword as you will wind up bidding against them! We recommend drafting a simple cease & desists letter and sending it to the site owner. We can help you draft the cease & desist letter and you can visit and click on the WhoIs link to find out where to send the letter.

DONT: Send users to your homepage all the time If youre buying the search term Valentines Day Weekend Packages New York it makes no sense to send the visitor to your generic homepage. Rather have your webmaster develop a relevant landing page on your website which provides content relevant to the search term Valentines Day Weekend Packages. This extra step will go a long way towards increasing your online conversions from click to book.

We hope these tip have been useful. If you have a comment about our information or need more details please contact us.

About Lodging Interactive

Lodging Interactive is a leading provider of Internet Marketing Services to the travel and lodging industries. The company provides a portfolio of effective Internet Marketing Services to hundreds of hotels, resorts, timeshares and bed and breakfasts worldwide. We also offer, a self-service email marketing system and, a self-service online promotions marketing system.

Lodging Interactive clients include branded properties such as Marriott, Sheraton, Hilton, Radisson, Crowne Plaza Hotels, Doubletree Hotels, Candlewood Suites, Best Western, Wyndham Hotels plus numerous independent properties. The company is headquartered in Parsippany, NJ and can be reached at 973-402-4970 or by visiting its website at or

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