Pay-Per-Click Advertising Success Story: The Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls

November 26, 2019

What do you get when you combine a robust strategy to drive organic traffic to your website with a pay-per-click advertising program? You get results.

Q4Launch’s master plan for online hospitality marketing involves using various pathways to direct travelers to visit your website and book; PPC is one of them. But you can’t just throw money at an ad and hope for a great result. You need a clear-cut program to see a return on your advertising spend. Want to see an example of PPC success? Take a look below at what we achieved for our friends at the Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls in Hocking Hills, Ohio.

Tell Me More About PPC 

Pay-Per-Click Advertising Success: The Results 

The Inn and Spa at Cedar Falls website home page

For those of you who like to read the last page of a novel because you can’t wait to find out what happens, this is for you. 

Our pay-per-click advertising strategy drove incredible results in the third quarter of 2019 for the Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls. In fact, our Q4Launch PPC expert said the results were “huge,” and “a breakthrough.” Furthermore, when he described the client’s investment in pro PPC management, he said it was “The deal of the century!” 

Can you tell we get excited about getting results for our customers? Here’s why:

When we look at performance in the Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls account for Q3 compared to Q2, 2019, PPC really stands out for delivering huge gains and more than quadrupling their revenue while keeping budgets the same. 

  • Q3 PPC more than tripled the Q2 total: PPC drove $29,400 in bookings in Q3 compared to $8,400 in Q2.
  • Q2 was a best-ever quarter with 8X return on ad spend, but we increased that to 28X for Q3. This is up double digits versus 2018 and earned mostly via non-branded “generic” campaigns versus the 100% branded revenue in 2018. So these were new customers not yet familiar with the property.

What does that mean? For every dollar the Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls spends on PPC, they earned $28 in bookings, and there has been a continuous improvement since July.

Screenshot of Google Analytics for Pay-Per-Click Advertising Results

How Did We Do It?

One of our Q4Launch Core Values is to share knowledge, so let’s do this! 

First, you need to know that organic search and paid search are complementary and work together to maximize your brand’s presence on search results pages. For the 50-percent-plus of searches that have ads above the organic rankings, being present in paid increases your brand’s overall click share for the large segment of the consumers who only view those top results. Strong organic content, in turn, reduces the cost-per-click of PPC programs by boosting the AdRank of your search terms. Excellent organic website content increases efficiency and return-on-ad-spend in ways that pay-per-click advertising alone cannot.

How Did Q4Launch Drive PPC Results for the Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls?

The exterior of the Spa at Cedar Falls

1. We achieved a 257% increase in revenue and a 28X ROAS with:

  • An intensive optimization and campaign restructuring
  • A full rewrite of all their ad creative
  • A retargeting of bid adjustments by custom remarketing audiences
  • A detailed negative keyword list development, and lastly 
  • The implementation of bid adjustments by day of the week, time of day, device, age, and gender.

2. A breakthrough in the account came from focusing on the vacation rental side of the business at the Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls. They run an inn, but they also have nine cabins and cottages available to rent. While the inn/B&B space is crowded in their Hocking Hills geographic area, the vacation rental space is much less contested. 

3. We worked within our budget to deliver a huge gain in ROAS because we took a step back to rethink the original strategy. This intensive dive led us to restructure the way their programs are set up so they perform well now and they keep improving with time. What’s more, for the return the Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls is getting for their monthly PPC management fee, they are getting the “deal of the century!” 

4. To top it all off, the average transaction price for this timeframe vs year-ago decreased 34% from $391 to $259 during this timeframe — making the revenue gains Q4Launch delivered even more significant.

The PPC Proof Is in the Analytics Data

As a general frame of reference for how intense our PPC optimizations are, here is a look at the changelog for this account from April through September of 2019. We average around 1,000 significant PPC tweaks and upgrades a month. The vast majority of these relate to the most critical element of any PPC campaign: THE KEYWORDS! 

Our PPC Year-Over-Year Success

Now that we’ve looked at our success from Q2 to Q3, let’s look at year-over-year performance.

Quarter 3, 2019 vs Quarter 3, 2018

In the example below, we see that PPC performance has improved year-over-year by about 89%, meaning we nearly doubled their revenue directly attributed to PPC from $15,400 to $28,400. 

Screenshot of Google Analytics Year over Year Success Q4L PPC Inn Spa Cedar Falls

More Success Stories

Beyond the PPC success for the Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls, there were astounding lifts in performance for many other traffic channels for the same year-over-year time frame. 

  • Social media delivered a 450% increase in revenue. 
  • Organic search was up 156%. 
  • Direct up 87%, PPC up 89%. 
  • Email revenue is up infinity percent from $0 to $5,050. 

So, Why Do You Need PPC and an Organic Strategy?

The short answer is: Google. 

The long answer is: Google has given increasing prominence to paid ads in search results and many people don’t scroll past these paid results. What this really means is that even if you’re ranking No. 1 for a keyword organically, you’re still losing out on capturing the people who will click on the first thing they see whether it’s an ad or not.

Also, OTAs (online travel agencies) are likely bidding on your brand name, which means they’re basically stealing traffic from people who already intend to stay at your property. 

Top Takeaway: PPC and organic are complementary ways to increase your brand’s presence and share of clicks on search results pages. They work together to drive traffic and revenue.

How Do You Get Started With PPC? 

Pay-per-click advertising is complex and requires a lot of research and expertise to prove successful. If you’re ready to DIY, read our blog on Understanding PPC for Hotels and the Hospitality Industry to get more information. Or, if you’d like to focus on other aspects of your business and leave this to the professionals, contact us to find out how we can make PPC into a revenue machine for your business. Are you ready? Let’s do this!