Aktualisiert am 16. August 2023

In the highly competitive tourism industry, it is crucial that ski resorts increase their visibility and effectively reach their target audience. One of the most effective ways to achieve this is through the use of
Google Ads
. When used properly, this powerful online advertising platform can help attract more guests and increase sales.

The problem? Many ski resorts are unsure how to effectively use Google Ads or find it overwhelming to deal with the many features and capabilities of this advertising platform. This blog post aims to solve this problem.

We present an in-depth guide specifically focused on how ski resorts can use Google Ads to attract more guests. From creating your first campaign to fine-tuning your ads for maximum effectiveness, we cover every aspect you need to make Google Ads successful.

We also examine the most common mistakes ski resorts make when using Google Ads and give you specific tips on how to avoid them. Whether you’re a small local ski area or a large resort, this guide will help you improve your online advertising strategy and attract more skiers to your slopes.

So get ready to dive into the world of Google Ads and learn how to increase your visibility and attract more guests to your ski resort!

Tourism in ski resorts and the role of online marketing

But at a time when more and more people are booking their trips online, the way in which ski resorts attract their guests has also changed. A study showed that over 80% of travelers start their vacation research online, and more than 50% make their bookings directly via the Internet.

In this context, online marketing, particularly via platforms such as Google Ads, has taken on a central role. It enables ski resorts to create targeted advertising campaigns that are precisely tailored to the needs and interests of potential guests. Ski resorts can use online marketing:

  • Increase your visibility in search engines.
  • Encourage direct bookings via their websites.
  • Promote special offers and packages.
  • Collect and respond to feedback and reviews from guests.

The role of online marketing is therefore undeniable: it is not only a tool to increase bookings, but also a means of branding and customer loyalty.

What is Google Ads?

Google Ads, formerly known as Google AdWords, is Google’s online advertising program. It enables advertisers to place ads in Google search results and in the Google advertising network. These ads can be both text-based and visual (e.g. banners or videos). They are usually displayed above or next to the organic search results and are identified by the word “ad”.

How Google Ads works:

  1. Keyword selection: Advertisers select keywords that are relevant to their product or service. If users search for these keywords, the ad is potentially delivered.
  2. Bid-based system: Google Ads works on the basis of an auction model. Advertisers place bids for their selected keywords based on how much they are willing to pay per click on their ad.
  3. Quality factor: In addition to the bid, Google also takes into account the quality factor of an ad, which is made up of the relevance of the ad, the expected click-through rate and the quality of the target page.
  4. Audience targeting: Advertisers can target their ads to specific user demographics, geographic locations and interests.
  5. Measurement and optimization: With Google Ads, advertisers can track the performance of their ads in real time and make adjustments to maximize the effectiveness of their campaigns.

Advantages of Google Ads:

  1. Targeted advertising: Ads reach users at the exact moment they are searching for relevant products or services.
  2. Cost efficiency: Advertisers only pay when someone clicks on their ad (pay-per-click model).
  3. Flexibility: Displays can be adjusted, paused or stopped at any time.
  4. Measurability: Detailed reports make it possible to precisely measure the ROI (return on investment) and continuously optimize campaigns.
  5. Global reach: With Google Ads, advertisers can reach a global audience or limit their ads to specific regions or cities.

Example: “AlpenTraum” ski area

how Google Ads works:

  1. Keyword selection: “AlpenTraum” selects keywords such as “skiing in the Alps”, “winter vacation in the Alps” and “best ski resort in the Alps”.
  2. Bid-based system: For the keyword “Skiing Alps” you are willing to pay 1€ per click. They offer €1.50 for “Winter vacation in the Alps” and €2 for “Best ski resort in the Alps”.
  3. Quality factor: The “AlpenTraum” ad links to a high-quality website with information about its slopes, accommodation and offers. This increases their quality factor.
  4. Target group orientation: You aim your ad at users in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, as you expect the most visitors from these countries.
  5. Measurement and optimization: After one week, you can see that the keyword “Winterurlaub Alpen” generates the most clicks. They decide to increase their bid for this keyword and allocate more budget to it.

Advantages of Google Ads (using the example of “AlpenTraum”):

  1. Targeted advertising: The ad reaches people who are actively looking for a ski resort in the Alps.
  2. Cost efficiency: “AlpenTraum” only pays for the clicks on its ad, not for the mere placement of the ad.
  3. Flexibility: After a snowstorm, you can quickly adapt your ad to advertise fresh powder snow.
  4. Measurability: “AlpenTraum” can see exactly how many bookings were generated by the Google Ads ad.
  5. Global reach: Although they focus on three countries, they could run their ad worldwide to target international skiers.

Target group analysis for ski resorts and winter tourism

It is crucial for ski resorts to know their target group precisely. The winter months are limited and competition between ski resorts is fierce. Precise target group analysis enables ski resorts to target their marketing and advertising activities to those who are most likely to book a ski vacation, thereby maximizing occupancy and sales.

Tools and strategies for identifying the right target group in winter tourism:

  1. Market research: Conducting surveys among previous guests to find out what attracts them and what they expect from a ski vacation.
  2. Data analysis: Use tools such as Google Analytics to analyze traffic to the ski resort’s website and find out which regions most visitors come from and which pages attract the most interest.
  3. Customer profiles (personas): Creating profiles of typical skiers or snowboarders, families booking winter vacations or groups looking for après-ski activities.
  4. Competitive analysis: Examination of the marketing strategies of neighboring ski resorts to find out which target groups they appeal to and which niches may remain unserved.
  5. Segmentation: Differentiation between beginners and experienced skiers, families and individual travelers, younger and older guests, etc. in order to create tailor-made offers.
  6. Social media analysis: Review of feedback and interactions on the ski resort’s social media pages to find out which offers or events generate the most interest.
  7. Feedback and customer reviews: Analyzing reviews on platforms such as TripAdvisor to find out what guests liked and where there is room for improvement.

Through precise target group analysis, ski resorts can ensure that their marketing and advertising measures reach the right people and thus maximize the chances of these people becoming paying guests.

Creating an effective Google Ads campaign for ski resorts

By combining these strategies, ski resorts can create an effective Google Ads campaign that not only drives traffic to their website, but also converts that traffic into paying guests.

1. selection of the right keywords:

  • Research: Use tools such as the Google Keyword Planner to find out which search terms potential guests use when searching for ski resorts or winter vacations.
  • Specificity: Choose specific keywords such as “family-friendly ski resort in Bavaria” instead of general terms such as “ski resort”.
  • Seasonal keywords: Think of seasonal keywords such as “Christmas ski vacation” or “New Year’s Eve in the snow”.
  • Negative keywords: Exclude irrelevant terms to avoid wastage, e.g. “ski jacket” or “ski boots” if you are only advertising accommodation.

2. design of appealing advertisements:

  • Clear message: Your ad should make it immediately clear what you offer, e.g. “Family-friendly ski resort with modern lifts and cozy huts”.
  • Call-to-action: Ask the user to perform an action, e.g. “Book now and get an early bird discount!”.
  • Highlight USPs: Emphasize what makes your ski resort unique, be it a special event, a new slope or a wellness area.
  • Use extensions: Use ad extensions to add additional information such as phone number, location or special offers.

3. landing page optimization: How to convert visitors into guests:

  • Relevance: Make sure that the content of the landing page matches the promises made in the ad.
  • Clear navigation: Visitors should immediately find what they are looking for, be it price information, availability or booking options.
  • High-quality images: Use high-resolution images of slopes, accommodation and other attractions to convince visitors.
  • Customer reviews: Show reviews and testimonials from satisfied guests to build trust.
  • Call-to-action: Every landing page should have a clear call-to-action that prompts the visitor to book or at least contact you.
  • Mobile optimization: Many users will access the site via mobile devices. Make sure that the landing page also looks and works well on smartphones and tablets.

Budgeting and bidding strategies for ski resorts

The right budgeting and bidding strategy is crucial for ski resorts to achieve maximum bookings and sales during the winter season. It is important to regularly review and adapt strategies to meet changing market conditions and guest requirements.

1. how to set the right budget for a campaign:

  • Seasonal considerations: Ski resorts have high and low seasons. During the high season, e.g. Christmas vacations or Carnival week, a higher budget may be required to outperform the competition.
  • Events and offers: If your ski resort has special events or offers, such as night skiing or early booking discounts, you should adjust the budget accordingly.
  • Analyze past campaigns: Review the performance of previous Google Ads campaigns during the ski season to get a feel for the budget needed.
  • Cost per booking: Determine how much you are willing to spend on a booking or inquiry via your website and set your budget accordingly.

2. different bidding strategies and their advantages and disadvantages for ski resorts:

  • Manual CPC bid (cost per click):
    • Advantage: You can set specific bids for highly relevant keywords such as “ski resort Alps families”.
    • Disadvantage: Requires constant monitoring, especially in the high season.
  • Automated bid (e.g. target CPA, cost per acquisition):
    • Advantage: Ideal if you have a specific budget for each booking or request received.
    • Disadvantage: Can lead to high costs in the off-season when there are fewer search queries.
  • Maximum clicks:
    • Advantage: Maximizes the visibility of your ski resort in the search results.
    • Disadvantage: Not always the best choice if conversions are the main goal.
  • Bid adjustments (e.g. by device or location):
    • Advantage: Increase bids for search queries from large cities or regions from which you expect many guests.
    • Disadvantage: Can become complicated if too many adjustments are made.
  • ROAS target (Return on Advertising Spend):
    • Advantage: Focused on the actual sales that your ads generate, e.g. through bookings.
    • Disadvantage: Requires accurate tracking methods and can be less effective in the off-season.

Measurement and analysis of campaign results for ski resorts

Regularly measuring and analyzing campaign results is crucial for ski resorts to ensure the success of their marketing efforts and achieve the best ROI. It enables continuous optimization and adaptation to the changing needs and behaviors of the target group.

1. importance of data analysis for the success of a campaign:

  • Informed decisions: Data-based decisions are more accurate and effective than gut feelings. By analyzing the campaign results, ski resorts can find out which strategies work and which do not.
  • Optimization: Through constant monitoring and analysis, ski resorts can adjust their campaigns in real time to achieve better results.
  • Budget efficiency: Data analysis helps to use the marketing budget more efficiently by investing more in successful campaigns and stopping or adjusting less successful ones.
  • Understanding the target group: The analysis shows which ad formats and messages are best received by the target group, which provides valuable insights for future campaigns.

2. tools and metrics for measuring ROI (return on investment):

  • Google Analytics: An indispensable tool that provides detailed information about website traffic, user interaction and conversions. It can be linked directly to Google Ads to measure the success of ad campaigns.
  • Google Ads Dashboard: Provides specific metrics on ad performance, clicks, cost per click (CPC) and conversion rate.
  • Conversion tracking: A tool within Google Ads that allows ski resorts to track specific user actions, e.g. bookings, inquiries or newsletter sign-ups.
  • ROAS calculation: ROAS (Return on Advertising Spend) is calculated by dividing the revenue generated by the ad by the cost of the ad. A ROAS of 5 means, for example, that for every euro spent, 5 euros in sales were generated.
  • Cost per acquisition (CPA): This measures how much a campaign costs to achieve a conversion (e.g. a booking).
  • Click-through rate (CTR): The ratio of users who click on an ad to the total number of users who have seen the ad. A high CTR indicates an effective ad.

Further recommendations for ski resorts to increase their online presence and guest numbers

  1. Search engine optimization (SEO): Optimize your website for search engines to rank higher for relevant search queries such as “ski resort Bavaria” or “family-friendly ski resort”.
  2. High-quality content: Create interesting and useful content for your target group, e.g. blog posts about skiing tips, events in the ski area or guides to the best equipment.
  3. Social media presence: Use platforms such as Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to share pictures, videos and news from your ski resort. This promotes interaction and loyalty with your target group.
  4. Online reviews: Encourage satisfied guests to leave reviews on platforms such as TripAdvisor or Google. Positive reviews can help other travelers make a decision.
  5. Email marketing: Build an email list and send regular newsletters with special offers, news and events from your ski resort.
  6. Targeted advertising: Use Google Ads and social media advertising to send targeted advertising to your target group based on their interests, location and online behavior.
  7. Partnerships and cooperations: Work with travel agencies, hotels and other companies in the tourism industry to offer package deals or special discounts.
  8. Mobile optimization: Make sure your website is optimized for mobile devices, as many travelers plan and book their trips via smartphones or tablets.
  9. Online booking system: Offer a simple and user-friendly online booking system so that guests can book their accommodation, ski lessons or other offers directly via your website.
  10. Customer feedback: Listen to your guests’ feedback and make adjustments if necessary. This shows that you care about the satisfaction of your guests and are constantly striving to improve your offer.
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