Why Retargeting is the Best Marketing Strategy for Your Hospitality Business


When considering how to best target customers for your accommodation or lodging business, the best tactic is still customer retention/loyalty over new client acquisition – in terms of the investment needed for each, at least. Customer loyalty is a brand’s key to long-term success, but there is another kid on the block, its name is retargeting.

With summer rapidly wrapping up, thoughts turn to the next cyclical event on every hospitality businesses calendar. It’s time to plan and execute your retargeting strategy in order to promote your business for the upcoming travel peak during the festive season…yes, we said it. Christmas is dawning.

Whether you are a hotel chain, an independent motel or small B&B, if getting heads on pillows is your game, then retargeting may become your best friend. Let’s look at why retargeting as a marketing strategy could help you unlock extra revenue.

What we’ll be addressing:

Rooms Neon Yellow Sign

Heads up! Feel free to skip ahead to the benefits of retargeting marketing if you already know what retargeting. I’ll catch up with you real soon!

What Is Retargeting?

Technology is awesome, it has helped many a business go from zero to hero, yet many businesses are still in the dark about just how powerful it can be for business. Retargeting is the name given to the marketing activity that aims at targeting leads that already came across your business once and/or are consciously aware/familiarized with your business. Basically it is giving your visitors that deja vu feeling or the “I’ve seen this before” feeling to spark interest in your business services/products again.

A retargeting strategy is ideal for a potential that came across your business (either organically, or through your online presence) when looking for a specific service but took no action. Retargeting allows your business to deliver hyper-specific text and display ads whilst they continue to browse the web.

Jargon Buster! Retargeting is also frequently referred to as ‘hotel retargeting’ when spoken about in regards to the hospitality industry.

For the sake of clarity, let’s suppose the following scenario:

A visitor is looking to book a hotel room abroad for a Christmas vacation. The potential customer is now in the awareness phase of the marketing funnel and begins where 87% of users being – an internet search.

They Google “hotel room in New York” and immediately they’re faced with a lot of search results – about 560 million to be specific – of queries for hotels and websites; one that books hotels, one that compares hotels and all the way through to blogs that review the best hotels in the city. Talk about information overload!

The visitor looks through some options to get an idea of what the average price and room looks like. Huzzah! They come across your hotel’s website. Congratulations, you have their attention….almost. The average customer will need to come into contact with your brand a huge 7-17 times before they make a purchase decision. That decision time becomes even longer the more expensive your product/service is.

Customers very rarely convert the first time they find you – more on that later! The visitor wants to spend some time thinking about their options, gets distracted and a few days later asks for an opinion/recommendation from a friend that they know has been to that area before. The purchasing decision is never linear, we as consumers dip in and out of sales cycles all the time, forgetting many of the brands we came across in the process. This is where retargeting becomes crucial in customer conversion.

With the vacation in the back of their mind, the visitor goes on to Facebook and browses the timeline as usual. Slotted nicely into the feed is an ad for your hotel room, the same room they had viewed a few days ago on the website. Vacation and hotel booking is now back in the front-of-mind awareness and he follows the link back to your website. Perhaps they convert, or perhaps they need to come into contact with a few more touchpoints before making a decision. Making sure you are strategically placing ads, reviews or discounts where the user is browsing are all methods of retargeting.

You are essentially following people around the internet (following people in real life is frowned upon, please don’t do this) hitting them with your message from different angles.

Here’s a stat to make your ears prick up; companies that used display advertising to retarget their users saw a 70% increase in conversion. That’s incredible.

Retargeting could be the further step required to give you an edge over your competition.

hotel image night

Retargeting is particularly important when it comes to the hospitality sector. Not only because the hospitality industry is heavily competitive but also because from a marketing standpoint it’s one of the most advantageous tactics you can opt for in order to retain your leads within the marketing funnel. Here are some of the benefits of retargeting for when you need heads on pillows.

Benefits of Retargeting for the Hospitality Industry

Attract already interested leads. That’s definitely an oversimplification of retargeting, but an excellent way of remembering why it is such a powerful tactic in your marketing arsenal. Traditionally, getting leads relies on targeting the correct consumer from scratch, this is not new knowledge.

Where many a marketing strategy falls down is the personalisation of the message. Showing adverts for rooms in Tokoyo when a users intent was to stay in New York is clearly a terrible idea, not to mention a waste of your marketing budget. Showing 5-star reviews in a display ad for the very room they were looking at in a native Facebook ad, however, now that’s smart marketing!

Your remarketing efforts should focus on being where your audience is, this includes their favourite websites, most visited social media and even in their apps!

Let’s have a look at the benefits of retargeting for your hospitality business.

Leads Don’t Convert Immediately

As mentioned earlier, traffic to your website will rarely convert the first time they come across your brand.

96% of visitors that come across your website aren’t ready to convert.


In an ideal world, a visitor would come across your website and book your services/products straight away, whilst they are at it, they would also recommend you to ten friends who would also instantly convert. Unfortunately, that doesn’t happen. God knows life would be easier for us marketers if this did happen!

So instead of crying into your 5th coffee, wondering why you have empty rooms, use the time between awareness and conversion (at least 13 touchpoints) to strategically remind interested audiences that you are there and here’s reason 1, 2 and 5 why you should choose us over the competition.

Which brings me to the next reason to use a remarketing strategy, your competition.

Stand Out From The Competition

According to Marketing Sherpa’s Website Optimization Benchmark Report (2012) only about 4% of people who visit a hotel website, or an airline site do decide to go make a reservation. Meaning, at least 96% of visitors aren’t converting. But they are converting somewhere, maybe your competitor.

Also, according to SalesCycle Blog, online travel sites had the highest abandonment rates at 80.0%. This means that users are considering their options slowly and navigating across different competitor companies. Retargeting then is definitely necessary to put your brand back on the table.

So whilst your competitor is yet again spending money on getting first place in Ad Rank, you can be sliding into the DM’s and feeds of your audience, for a much cheaper and more effective way to stand out.

Higher Return on Investment

Marketing, in general, can be seen as a vanity exercise, your bosses want cold hard numbers that prove return on investment and they want them now. Luckily for you, retargeting has one of the highest ROI’s of all the marketing activities.

Retargeting isn’t just saved for new customers either, retargeting can be used to re-engage lapsed or previous customers. Some statistics even suggest that businesses could achieve a higher return on investment (ROI) when focusing on marketing activities that promote client retention over client acquisition.

Retargeting is the perfect opportunity to up or cross-sell a different product or service to a customer that has already purchased with you, lowering your cost-per-acquisition dramatically.

Not only are you increasing the chances of conversion, but you are also getting the most out of your marketing buck too!

flat lay of girl clicking on a mac laptop. Grace book and ice coffee

Specific to Each User

Retargeting allows for a more targeted and specific ad that suits each client’s/users needs. With retargeting you can sleep safe in the knowledge that your ads won’t be annoying or irrelevant to the visitor.

When retargeting you can opt for a different type of options for even added specificity. For instance, you can target behaviorally. This happens when a visitor checks out your website and via a cookie, it registers your visitor’s patterns and interests. Your ads will then only showcase windows that your visitor has shown interest.

You can also target by time, which means to reach out to users who visited your website but spent some time scrolling through your website opposed to target those users who immediately bounced off the page and spent seconds scrolling through.

You can be as specific with your retargeting as you wish and tailor your ads according to your budget and client preference. It’s all about being strategic with your remarketing activities.

That’s it! You made it through this blog, hopefully, you found it to be interesting and you are itching to get started.

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