Learn how to use Google Ads for vacation rentals to boost bookings. Discover step-by-step instructions, tips, and best practices to maximize your revenue.

Are you a homeowner looking to advertise your properties? Google ads for vacation rentals is a top-tier marketing tool that can help you reach a broader audience and increase bookings. Customers, and in your case, guests, browse the web daily to find unique short-term rentals for their next stay.

If you want to be among their search results, you need to advertise on Google. Given that you already have a direct booking website, this investment can prove most lucrative. According to Google, advertisers earn $2 for every $1 spent on ads—a very high return. At the same time, you'll be one step ahead of the competition, earning your share of the hospitality pie.

Thankfully, you don't have to be a Google ads expert to set up a campaign. Google's intuitive interface makes advertising your vacation rental website easy with a few clicks. In this article, we'll explore the fundamentals of Google ads and help you set your first campaign. Let's dive in!

What Are Google Ads?

Google ads are promotions across Google's products, such as Search, Display, and YouTube. They help showcase your business, raise brand awareness, and sell products. Google ads are based on a pay-per-click model (PPC), meaning you only pay when users click on your ads. This makes an affordable advertising alternative that helps you reach visitors when they're actively searching for your rentals.

What Are the Benefits of Google Ads for Vacation Rentals?

With billions of Google searches daily, your business must show where its customers are. Here are the most essential benefits of Google ads for vacation rentals:

  • Increased visibility: although it's impossible to outrank major OTAs like Airbnb and VRBO, it's still vital you appear on the first page of Google search results for vacation rentals. This ensures your properties are displayed in front of the right eyes and attract potential guests.
  • Targeted advertising: unlike other advertising platforms, Google lets you target your audience in detail. When setting up a Google ads campaign, you must decide on the location, demographics, behaviors, keywords, and search intent, ensuring your ads reach the right prospects at the right time.
  • Measurable results: Google ads for vacation rentals allow you to track your campaign's performance through detailed reporting and analytics. This gives you complete control over your spending and helps you adjust your strategies accordingly.
  • More bookings: whether you want to attract staycationers or worldwide travelers, Google ads display your rentals to broader or specific audiences, increasing your chances of getting more bookings. Instead of passively waiting for guests to come to you, you show up when they're ready to book and earn their business.
  • Cost efficiency: Google's advertising charges you only when you see results on your campaigns. The PPC model gives you a lot of control over your spending and the freedom to readjust your prices if there's a budget shortage.
Google Ads for Vacation Rentals: a Beginner's Guide
Vacation rental Google ads

What Types of Google Ads Are There?

Google features various types of ads catering to different needs. Here are the most important ones for property owners:

  • Google Search ads: text-based ads showing on Google's search results when users type specific keywords. For example, when a prospective guest searches for "villa in Ibiza", search ads will appear on top of Google with homes in the area. The ads will display a catchy headline, a brief description, and a link to the landing page (your direct booking site).
  • Google Display campaigns: visual ads in the form of banners appearing on websites within the Google Display Network (GDN). If you're looking to attract your target audience with impressive photos of your vacation rental, Display ads could work wonders. Instead of waiting for users to search for your business, you appear right before them and lure them in with your visuals.
  • YouTube video ads: they appear before, during, or after YouTube videos. For example, as a property manager, you can create a video presentation of your rentals and advertise it with skippable or non-skippable campaigns. Again, visuals are important here, as they can make or break your Google ads campaign results.
  • Discovery ads: as the name indicates, these are ads appearing on Google's discovery feed, such as YouTube and Gmail. They aim to "catch" users when actively searching for products or services and entice them to book. That's why they come in the form of banners or beautiful imagery.
  • Local ads: they appear on Google Maps and are ideal for advertising businesses locally. For instance, if you want to attract more staycationers to your vacation rental, local ads can help you target an audience within close reach of your physical location.
Google Ads for Vacation Rentals: a Beginner's Guide
Google ads for vacation rentals

How to Run Google Ads for Vacation Rentals?

1. Decide on Your Campaign Objective

Log into your Google ads account and create a "New Campaign". You'll be presented with Google's advertising objectives to pick the one that best suits your needs:

  • Sales: focus on increasing bookings for your vacation rental
  • Leads: find potential guests and encourage them to take action (e.g., fill in a contact form)
  • Website traffic: get your target audience to visit your website
  • App promotion: generate more installs, engagement, and pre-registrations for your app
  • Awareness and consideration: get more people to know your short-term rental business
  • Local store visits and promotions: drive more local tourists to your properties
  • Choose a campaign type without a goal's guidance: choose a campaign type first without recommendations

2. Choose Your Campaign Type

Now it's time to choose your campaign type among:

  • Search: get in front of high-intent visitors when they're searching for a home like yours
  • Display: reach guests across 3 million sites and apps with compelling visuals
  • Demand gen: drive conversions with images or videos on Discovery, YouTube, and Gmail
  • Performance Max: reach your audience across all Google's products with one campaign
  • Shopping: showcase your properties to shoppers as they're ready to buy
  • Video: catch users attention with videos on YouTube
  • App: drive downloads and grow engagement for your app
  • Smart: let Google set up your campaign if you're an advertising newbie

3. Perform Keyword Research

If you opt for Search ads, keyword research is vital to your campaign's success. Google offers a free research tool called Google Keyword Planner, helping you brainstorm keywords and spot the ones with the highest search volumes. A helpful tip is to think about what potential guests could be searching for on Google.

For example, if you own an apartment in New York, keywords such as "short-term rentals in New York", "NYC short-term rentals", and "short-term furnished rentals in New York City" are a good starting point. As a general rule of thumb, opt for keywords with high purchase intent, a medium to high search volume, and a low cost-per-click.

Google Ads for Vacation Rentals: a Beginner's Guide
Google ad campaigns for vacation rental properties

4. Create Audience Segments

For more detailed targeting, specify your audience based on advanced demographics, interests, habits, or what they're actively searching for. Google will analyze guests' behaviors over the last 24 hours and target users with only your selected characteristics.

5. Add Locations and Target Languages

Where is your target market? Do you want your Google ads for vacation rentals to appear in front of local travelers or international tourists? Google allows you to select country, city, and region and exclude some locations. You should also choose a target language for your audience. For instance, if you're based in the US, you can only target US guests using an English version of Google.

6. Write Compelling Ad Copy

Your ad copy can be the reason why someone clicks on your vacation rental listings or not. Highlight your top house features and the benefits of booking with you. Draw emphasis on the experience of what it's like living in your properties and have users daydream of their stay. Always include a call to action such as "Book now" to urge people to make reservations.

Google Ads for Vacation Rentals: a Beginner's Guide
Search campaign for vacation rental

7. Set Up Your Advertising Dates and Budget

Google lets you have full control over your spending. You can set a daily or monthly budget and alter it whenever you want. You can also consider bidding strategies for popular keywords. These work like auctions, impacting your rankings against competitors. Set up your PPC campaigns' dates, and you're good to go.

8. Leverage Ad Extensions

Google also offers ad extensions that help you include additional information in your ads. For example, you could add location, contact details, reviews, amenities, or links to specific pages on your vacation rental website. This makes your campaigns more appealing to potential customers and increases your trustworthiness.

9. Optimize and Adjust

Once your Google ads campaigns are up and running, you should regularly review them for possible areas of improvement. Optimization should be an ongoing process, so don't hit "publish" and disappear from the face of Google. Check your budget for possible reallocation to ads that perform better, and adjust your copy to maximize your message's impact.

Google Ads for Vacation Rentals: a Beginner's Guide
Google ads for vacation rentals

Make the Most of Your Short-term Rentals With Google Ads

In conclusion, with more than 8.5 billion searches daily, Google is a treasure trove of opportunities to connect with potential customers. Google ads for vacation rentals are simple to set up and can drastically increase direct bookings, saving you money on commissions from large OTAs.

Hopefully, our tips on running a Google ads campaign will encourage you to give paid advertising a try. Naturally, you'll need to have a direct booking website first. At Houfy, we make that possible. Join a community of over 15,000 hosts who enjoy the perks of direct booking without sacrificing their brands and take your vacation rental business to the next level. Get started today!

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