Pay-per-click for tour companies

Pay-Per-Click for Tour Companies: PPC for Tour Operators

If you own a travel business, you know that the key to success is getting the word out that you exist. There are various ways to do this, but some are better than others, with paid advertising one of the most effective.

However, traditional travel industry marketing and advertising methods can take longer, like SEO. But what if you could get your name out there without spending a fortune? Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is a great way to do just that.

With PPC, you only pay when someone clicks on your ad. So it’s a great way to target potential customers who are already interested in what you have to offer. And PPC campaigns can be set up and managed easily with some crucial know-how.

They are an important factor in building a marketing strategy for tour operators, so here’s a small guide on how to do PPC for tour operators.

Note: The focus will be on Google Ads’ search advertising as it’s the most lucrative form of PPC marketing for tour operators.

What is PPC Advertising and How it Works for Tour Companies

Revenue increase

You may have noticed small, text-based ads appearing alongside the organic search results every time you’ve looked something up on Google. Welcome to the world of pay-per-click advertising.

PPC is a form of online advertising where businesses can pay to have their ads displayed on search engine results pages (SERPs). When a user clicks on one of these ads, the business pays a fee to the search engine. PPC can be effective in helping you drive traffic to your website and generate leads, but it’s important to understand how it works before diving in.

For starters, PPC ads are auction-based, which means that businesses bid on keywords that they want their ads to show up for. The amount that you’re willing to pay per click, AKA cost per click (CPC), will determine your ad’s placement in the SERPs. In other words, the higher your CPC, the more likely your ad is to appear at the top of the page.

However, how much you pay isn’t the only thing that determines your rank. You’ll also need to take into account your ad quality score, which is determined by factors like click-through rate (CTR), relevance, and the landing page experience.

Person counting revenue income

As such, a high-quality score can help you get more bang for your buck. That means you can outrank competitors that bid more than you but have worse ads than you. So, it’s important to focus on creating compelling ads that are relevant to your target audience.

If you’re in the tour business, you know that most business begins with getting people on your website. Sure, you can realistically do this organically through SEO for travel websites, but there’s no guarantee that you’ll outrank your competitors. That’s where PPC comes in.

But how does PPC work for tour companies? Well, it’s a great way to get targeted traffic to your site. And because you only pay when someone clicks on your ad, it’s a very cost-effective way of marketing your business.

The Benefits of Paid Ads for Tourism & Tour Companies

Person clicking on click here CTA

If you’re a tour company, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be incorporating PPC into your digital marketing strategy. Here are a few benefits of doing PPC ads for travel websites like yours.

Gain Targeted Traffic

First of all, PPC is an effective way to reach your target market. By targeting keywords that are relevant to your business, you can ensure that your ads are seen by people who are interested in what you have to offer.

Not only that, but you can target searchers at specific points of the sales funnel. Depending on the keywords you select, you can target someone with a card in hand ready to reserve their spot. You can also target someone who’s still planning a trip a year in advance, just to keep your brand top of mind.

Immediate Results

One of the best benefits of doing pay-per-click for tour companies is that you can get instant results the moment you set up your campaign. Seriously, you can set up your ads today and get your first booking today, but this isn’t always a guarantee.

In comparison, other forms of search engine marketing and advertising can take time to bring leads and conversions.

Build Brand Awareness

Two people doing data analysis

PPC is a great way to get your brand name out there. With this type of advertising, you can create ads that feature your brand logo and tagline, which can help to increase brand awareness and recognition.

This can be done without paying a cent either, as the searcher just seeing your name is beneficial. PPC is particularly powerful for building brand awareness for newer tour companies that can’t compete with older brands on organic SERPs.


Finally, tourism advertising using PPC can be a cost-effective way to generate leads and sales. While the initial investment may be higher than other forms of advertising, the more you optimise your ads, the cheaper they get.

Plus, you’ll only pay when someone actually clicks on your ad, which means that you’re more likely to see a return on your investment (ROI). Additionally, you can control your spending to the last cent by setting a maximum daily budget.

Setting Up a PPC Campaign for Tour Companies

People planning for a campaign

Okay, so you now know that PPC is perfect for targeting and reaching potential customers, but how do you go about it? The starting block in PPC advertising for travel agencies is to set up your campaign.

Note: The focus here is advertising on search engines, as that’s the best way to target audiences that are ready to convert.

However, setting up a successful PPC campaign is not always easy. In addition to choosing the right keywords, you also need to create compelling ad copy and landing pages.

These tasks can be difficult to do on your own but worry not; you can follow the following steps and create the campaign of your dreams.

Keyword Research

Person doing a web search for keywords

The cornerstone of any successful PPC campaign for tour companies is targeting the right keywords for travel and tourism. Choose the proper keywords, and you’ll reap the rewards; fail to do so, and you’ll pay for unqualified traffic.

There are plenty of tools you can use to find what keywords you should be targeting, including Google’s Ads Keyword Planner, Ahrefs, Keysearch, and the like. For tour operators with existing websites, you can make use of Google Search Console.

In the beginning, you want to try to use keywords that target potential customers but can also reach new audiences. Thereafter, you can get granular on these keywords and focus on those showing potential and discarding those that waste the budget.

Further, you want to target long-tail keywords as the generic terms are probably being contested by industry giants with a digital footprint already. For example, instead of targeting keywords like “Kenya safari”, try bidding on keywords like “Kenya safari guided tours with lunch”.

Create Ad Copy

Person creating copy

After finding the perfect keywords, you need to create incredible ad copy. There’s no point if your ads can be triggered by the correct keywords, but you get no clicks because the copy isn’t relevant or enticing.

Start by doing some research on your target audience. What are their needs and pain points? What kind of language do they use? You’ll notice that the best adverts for tourism focus on solving the problems of their potential customers.

Once you have a good understanding of your audience, you can start brainstorming some potential ad headlines. Keep it short and to the point — you only have a few seconds to capture someone’s attention. Ensure they’ll grab the searcher’s attention and try solving their pain points as quickly as possible.

After that, there are short descriptions that give more context to your headline. Descriptions should be clear and concise, providing enough information to persuade someone to click on your ad.

Finally, your call to action (CTA) should be strong and compelling, urging the reader to take the next step. By following these simple tips, you can create ad copy that will help you get the most out of your PPC campaigns.

Dedicated Landing Pages

PPC landing page

Once your copy is taken care of, the creation of high-converting landing pages is next on the agenda.

A landing page is a standalone web page that is designed specifically for the purpose of conversion. It should have a clear and concise headline, compelling copy, and a strong CTA.

In addition, the page should be free of distractions like sidebars and navigation menus. You’ll also need to provide relevant and targeted content that speaks to the needs of your audience. Finally, make sure that your landing page is optimised for mobile — over 50% of web traffic comes from mobile.

Set a Budget

People discussing a budget

Setting a budget for your pay-per-click advertising campaigns is critical. You don’t want to be donating money to Google with unjustified expenditures, but you also don’t want to spend too little. There are a few factors to consider when determining how much to spend.

However, you won’t be immediately able to determine your budget without doing a test run of each campaign or without concrete comparisons. So, be prepared to spend a few hundred dollars before knowing exactly how much to spend.

At the most basic, you’ll need to decide how much you’re willing to spend per click. This will depend on metrics like the average cost per click in your industry and the average conversion rate for your campaign.

Person shooting at targets

After a few experiments, you may want to focus on your ROI and set a target return on ad spend (ROAS). This type of advertising is perfect for reeling in the costs while maximising potential revenue.

Generally speaking, expect to spend at least $1 per click while doing travel agency advertising. Of course, this depends on the keyword match type you use.

Your spending will also depend on the type of bidding strategy you use. The most popular ones are maximising clicks for traffic, maximising conversions, and target return on ad spend.

Optional Steps

While those are the key steps in creating a PPC campaign, there are some optional activities you can do to create the best tourism ads.

The first is personalising the landing pages, as well as the ads themselves. Doing so can lead to increased clicks and conversions. For example, you can target a keyword like “safari tours in Kenya for families” and have a landing page with a copy that is personalised for families.

Further, you’ll need to keep an eye on your reputation based on the reviews left on your website or wherever your company appears. For example, a negative reputation on Google My Business can jeopardise you, even if everything else is perfect.

Optimising a PPC Campaign

People optimizing content

PPC campaigns can be highly effective, but only if they are properly managed. A large part of managing paid ads is optimising them to maximise your returns. The difference between long-lasting and successful travel advertisements and those that only enjoy a brief period of success is how well they’re optimised.

Modify Your Budget and Keywords

As the campaign runs, it will pick up some search terms that you hadn’t been bidding on and will also be used for some of your keywords.

Analyse the results to modify your keywords, adding negative keywords that you don’t want to show up for. You can also add keywords from the search terms.

Additionally, this is the perfect time to adjust your budget as necessary to ensure you aren’t over or underspending.

Adjust for Seasonal Changes

As a tour provider, you know travel season trends change often. Keeping this in mind is important for PPC as it will signal which experiences you should promote at different times of the year.

Make the Booking Process as Quick as Possible

Easy payment process

After some time of running your ads, you should be able to tell how long it takes to get someone to convert and how long it takes some customers to exit your landing page.

If a majority of people that visit your landing page leave after a few clicks, it’s likely an indication that the booking process is longer than necessary.

You can fix that by shortening the process by including only the necessary fields, adding a “Contact us” box, and anything else that helps shorten the booking process. These are likely to boost conversion rates.

Bid on Branded Terms

This isn’t something you’ll need to worry about initially. However, the more successful your PPC campaign gets, the more you’ll need to consider it.

After all, competitors that are losing to your company may start bidding on your keywords to build brand awareness. If you aren’t bidding on branded terms, they’ll be the first thing that appears on searches for your brand.

Travel Tractions Can Help You do PPC for Travel Companies

As a tour company, PPC can be a great way to attract new customers and boost your business. By following the tips in this blog post, you should be well on your way to creating a successful PPC campaign that brings in new business.

So what are you waiting for? Get started on your campaign or get in touch with us and let us help!

Matt G Davison
Matt G Davison
Matt has done marketing for travel and tourism for over a decade. His first love is SEO, with entrepreneurship hotter on its heels than a girlfriend. When he is not looking up flights back to his next destination, you can find him in the garden, making excuses to walk Rusty, strategizing with the team and tinkering on sites until the early morning.

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