How Hotels can gain higher conversion rates with lower ad costs using Google´s Remarketing lists for search ads (RLSA)


Remarketing lists for search ads (RLSA) is a great way for hotels & Resorts gain higher conversion online rates with lower ad costs,  It allows hoteliers to reach people in the search results page with a text ad based on since, in theory, someone who has been to your site and familiar with your hotel is more likely to convert, proving that this type of remarketing can be very effective as part of your overall online marketing strategy


Remarketing can take advantage of what you already know has taken place on your website, therefore the ads you place are more relevant and can deliver higher conversion rates with a lower cost per conversion.  RLSA is available only once campaigns are updated to enhanced campaigns.  Keyword search is the primary source of relevancy with RLSA campaigns with targeted audiences helping to further refine who is reached with keyword targeting. Basically, the remarketing list helps to refines a set of keywords. Any remarketing list can be added to an ad group in a search campaign, bringing an audience dimension to campaigns because we can see how searchers respond based on how they are segmented into the remarketing lists. For example, we can determine where they are in the reservation cycle based on pages they have visited in past.


To get started with RLSA, you must enable: Remarketing, either through the Google Analytics or Remarking code snippet. Enhanced campaigns. Google has noted, that this isn’t “not search retargeting or search remarketing” because it doesn’t provide access to or use information about users’ Google search histories, and can’t be used in connection with sensitive categories. It utilizes list already available for display to adjust what you see on search, not previous keyword searches.

From a campaign, click the “audiences” tab, then select “add a remarketing list”. You will be prompted to select an ad group to apply the list to. Once the ad group is selected, the available remarketing lists will appear. Finally, choose “target and bid” if you only want to use the remarketing list, or “bids only” if you want to use both keyword search and/or remarketing list to reach your prospective customers.


Customization is key: To make the most of the RLSA campaigns, use bid adjustments for remarketing lists in adgroups.  For example, visitors who reached your booking engine may be a hotter lead for a conversion than one who only reached the homepage, thus supporting a higher CPC bid. Customize ads with relevant offers informed by users past decisions on the website. Best Practices For Strategy and Structure RLSA only works for the search network, so it’s preferable to separate remarketing for search and display. Also, set campaigns to search only network as a best practice. Understand when creating campaigns the primary relevance of the ad serving is due to keywords and searcher intent. We know there are different intents in search and display, so keep this in mind. If a search campaign is performing well, an advertiser may want to pump this up by adding a remarketing list. Create a copy or a new campaign before targeting remarketing lists for search. This allows different ads to be shown to people on the remarketing list, and bids can be adjusted for those keywords.


There is no reach and frequency capping for RLSA. If ad fatigue is a possible issue, creating multiple ad creatives will be the way to go. Strategy around match types will change a bit for advertisers using RLSA. Because you can target people who have already been to your site, broad match keywords may have a higher conversion rate because the targeting is already narrowed down with the remarketing list. In addition, advertisers who can’t bid profitably on highly competitive keywords, would be able to do so on keywords + remarketing since they are likely to more relevant to the searcher. This may make it more affordable to bid profitably.

RLSA offers a great potential to get creative and target potential guests like never before. Consider a few ways this can be used: Remarketing lists for search ads (RLSA) campaign ideas: Use more general keywords in campaigns now that searchers will be more qualified, having been a previous visitor. Use product specific targeting, for example, increase bids for visitors who reached a product page while on then site when they later search for the same product on Google.  Target repeat visitors with a discount promo for the category or section they are viewing. Target a previous visitor who abandoned your booking engine and searches on a competitor’s term.  Use information besides searchers query, like location, day/time scheduling, and device to be super relevant to searchers and compel conversions. Increase visibility for more recent visits, for example, increase your bid by 20 percent for those who previously viewed the website in the last 7 days.


A remarketing list for Google search ads must have at least 1,000 users on it before it can be used to start serving ads. This not only protects the privacy of those who make up your list, but also helps ensure that your ad will have a big enough audience to make some impact. In comparison, the display remarketing the list size must be minimum 100. At first, the number of list sizes between the two can be very different targeting by website behavior coupled with search behavior is a wake up call for AdWords advertisers to think more about multiple touch points with your guests and the varied ways they can be reached.

Want to find out more? Get in with touch with us and we will show your Hotel or Resort how to make the most our RLSA.

About the author

John Kearney has over 20 years of Hotel Sales and General Hotel Management experience working for both Independent 4 & 5* Hotels & Resorts as well as with Intercontinental (IHG) and Radisson SAS for Hotels based in London as well as across Spain.

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