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6 Ways Top Destinations Dominate Paid Search

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September 3, 2019
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If you want to generate leads and drive attendance to your destination, Google Ads is the place to do so. Utilizing paid search and re-marketing capabilities with Display, destination marketers can get in front of their potential and current customers at every step of the marketing funnel. Although Google Ads is very effective for marketing parks, museums, and destinations, it is also competitive, and can result in a lot of wasted time and money if not properly executed. Here are 6 ways top DMO’s dominate paid search for their destination:

1. They Bid On Brand Keywords

It may sound crazy to spend money on branded terms that are already triggering organic listings (such as the actual name of your organization/attraction). But, believe it or not, bidding on your brand keywords offers a lot of benefits that your organic strategy may not give you; when you bid on your brand keywords, you have more control over your message and the action(s) you want your audience to take, in real time.

Bidding on brand keywords is essential, especially for DMO’s, since it allows you to have more control over the message you want to convey. Maybe it’s a limited time offer (such as season pass discounts), an online promo code, or a list of shows and events that are coming up at your venue. Typically, bidding on your brand's keywords in paid search are going to be a low cost-per-click (CPC) due to your relevance in Google’s eyes, so it won’t eat up a lot of your marketing budget.

There is also a good chance your competitors are bidding on your branded keywords—so make sure you claim your keywords before they do.

Related Article: Five Reasons To Bid On Branded Keywords In Paid Search

2. They Use Stellar Ad Copy to Stick Out

When creating search ads, top DMO’s differentiate themselves from their competition; the most effective way to stick out is to include numbers and deals, and invoke urgency with limited time offers in your headlines and descriptions. Using Google Ad features such as the Google Ads countdown widget can invoke the urgency that a user should buy your special rate or limited time offer right away.

Google has given advertisers a lot of real estate to get their message across, so make sure to utilize all three headlines and both description lines when creating your ads. In our mobile-first world, allowing your ad to take up as much of the screen as possible will help your destination stick out.

3. They Use Ad Extensions

Combining enticing ad copy and ad extensions will give your destination the ammo needed to get the most out of your paid search campaigns. Use as many ad extensions as possible to increase your chances of being chosen by the searcher.

Related Article: 2019 Google Ad Budget Guide: More Traffic, Opens and ROI

For example:

  • Site-link Extensions: Utilize this extension by sharing other links on your website; to relevant blog posts, upcoming events, or other information that will pique their interest, moving them closer to booking or buying.
  • Callout Extensions: This callout extension allows for short, 25-character descriptions the can be used to entice a user to take action. Some good uses for this extension could include “Thrilling Roller Coasters,” “Unique Vacation Rentals,” or “Authentic Cuisine.”
  • Structured Snippet: Google allows advertisers several headline options to pick from when adding structured snippets. For destinations, the best suitable headlines are amenities, destinations, feature hotels, shows, styles, and types.
  • Call Extension: Depending on your attraction and your goals, the call extension gives users the option to call your destination without having to click on your landing page. This is all tracked, and conversion tracking can be set up to identify the keywords that are getting more calls, to better optimize your campaigns.
  • Location Extension: When it comes to in-the-moment searches, the location extension is a must. This extension means that when someone searches for “things to do in Buffalo, N.Y.,” for example, they can see where your attraction is located via Google Maps, helping your brand stand out among other potential competitors.
  • Review Extension: Reviews are critical for destinations; people want to see how others rate your destination. It validates and ensures a potential customer that you’re the right choice. Being able to display the review extension provides validation from other travelers who had a great experience at your destination. This will help sway potential visitors toward your business.

4. They Utilize Re-targeting with Display

The buyer’s journey can be a long one, which means that users will often do a lot of research before they make a decision about your business. Since it may take them a few touches to convert to your attraction, retargeting them using Google Display, can help your business stay top-of-mind as they continue researching and planning their trip or outing.

For example, if Sally and her family are going to be visiting Buffalo, N.Y. for the weekend, and are looking for something to do, Sally might search for “museums in buffalo ny,” find your website, and check it out. But let’s say that while she’s doing her research, her son comes home from lacrosse practice and in her distraction, she forgets to buy tickets off of your website. With a display re-targeting campaign, you can remind her about your museum later on, when she’s on another website.

5. They Take Advantage of Location and Seasonal Bidding

For destination marketers, seasonality and weather play a big part in the success of a campaign. Using your historical data or Google Trends can help you identify seasonal trends and make bid adjustments based on times of the year, as well as lower bids when the weather is less favorable for your attraction. This can help you ensure that you’re using your budget wisely.

6. They Set Up Conversion Tracking

Top DMOs recognize the importance of tracking their campaigns; it’s not enough to just “set ‘em and forget ‘em.” Tracking is vital to optimizing your campaigns and creating audience targeting, and to see how your advertising dollars are being spent.

Tracking allows you to identify when and where a conversion was made—such as a call lasting longer than 60 seconds, a submitted form, or a ticket purchase—and whether or not your PPC campaign(s) are successfully helping you meet your goals. Tracking not only helps you optimize your campaigns for success, but helps with budgeting and reporting, as well.

Final Thoughts

In such a competitive field where destinations are not only fighting for time with other destinations and attractions, but with Netflix, video games, and other family-friendly activities, every advertising dollar needs to be working for you. Google Ads can increase attendance for your destination but, if not set up and managed correctly, can also result in a lot of wasted advertising spend. These six tips will help your destination stick out of the crowd and get the most out of your advertising budget.

Related Article: Top Marketing Trends For 2019

Is there anything that your destination is doing to dominate paid search that we left out? Comment below!

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