PMG Digital Made for Humans

HPA 201

4 MINUTE READ | March 24, 2014

HPA 201

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PMG is a global independent digital company that seeks to inspire people and brands that anything is possible. Driven by shared success, PMG uses business strategy and transformation, creative, media, and insights, along with our proprietary marketing intelligence platform Alli, to deliver Digital Made for Humans™. With offices in New York, London, Dallas/Fort Worth, Austin, Atlanta, and Cleveland, our team is made up of over 900+ employees globally, and our work for brands like Apple, Nike, Best Western Hotels & Resorts, Gap Inc., Kohler, Momentive, Sephora, and Shake Shack has received top industry recognitions including Cannes Lions and Adweek Media Plan of the Year.

A few months back we introduced you to Hotel Price Ads with Jordan’s blog HPA 101. I now present you, HPA 201. We’ll take a deeper dive into the different HPA search types and bidding options. The HPA program is constantly evolving, which makes it even more crucial for advertisers to stay on top of their game in order to succeed. Fail to do so and they’ll start to be picked off one by one, Hunger Games style.

In order to be successful and generate the necessary return for your clients, it’s essential to understand the uniqueness of each search type as well as the pros and cons of the two bidding options.  Once you’ve established this knowledge you can develop a strategy for how it will play into your management style of the program. So, for starters, HPA is not just Hotel Finder. It encompasses Hotel Finder. In fact, there are a total of four different search type options which Google identifies as being part of HPA as a whole. Secondly, it’s important to understand how bidding strategies can vastly differ based on your goals. Now, you might have read that and said to yourself…well, obviously. But it’s important to understand the benefits of each strategy and how it can work best with your goals. Now all you have to do is implement this knowledge into your strategy and you’re on the fast track to being an HPA ninja (go ahead, call yourself “Katniss”).

Search Types Explained:

There are four placement type options or “search types” within HPA. It’s important to understand how your brand performs within each type, and adjust strategy accordingly.

  • Hotel Finder: Hands down the most competitive and recognizable of the four options. Hotel Finder generates the most volume and probably the highest return for most advertisers. Highly competitive among OTAs, but keep an eye out for hotel suppliers starting to make their way in.

hpa - hotel finder
  • Map Results: Unlike Hotel Finder, Map Results hasn’t gained too much traction within HPA. Type in “Dallas Hotels” and expect to see a map with a bunch of jumbled red dots. While Map Results hasn’t gained as much visibility as Hotel Finder, there is value to be had here. I have a sneaky feeling that if Map Results works out some kinks, it can dominate the mobile HPA experience, similarly to Hotel Finder’s dominance in the desktop environment.

hpa - map results
  • Local Universal: Hotel supply chains playground, also known as the Local Carousel. Local Universal is probably the biggest competitor to Hotel Finder, but is saturated with suppliers instead of OTAs. Until very recently, suppliers were having a hard time trying to compete with OTAs in Hotel Finder, and thus found opportunity to dominate Local Universal. The caveat? It costs a pretty penny to hitch a ride on this carousel.

hpa local universal
  • Place Page: The Google Places (buzzword alert: “Local”) path in HPA. Place Page allows you to book through a hotel’s Google+ page. Advertisers, OTAs and suppliers alike, are still trying to define success in Place Page; an untapped resource by many. Stay tuned!

hpa - place page

Bidding Strategy

Once you’ve identified which placement types work best with your goals, it is important to define a solid bidding strategy.  There are two bidding models you can choose from, dependent on what you want to achieve. Are you more interested in bidding to position or controlling your cost? Do you want to pay more for a HotelFinder bid than a Place Page bid? The first, and more conservative of the two bidding options, is a fixed bid strategy. With this option, you choose to pay a fixed bid rate per night searched. This gives you more control over your bids, and in turn more control over cost. The second option is a percentage based strategy. If your goal is to bid to position and increase your competitiveness, regardless of the cost, this is the option for you. This is also where you have more say over which search types you want to bid up or down in. With percentage based bidding, you identify a percentage of the nightly rate you’re willing to pay. Thus, as room rates and nights searched fluctuate, so does your bid. Essentially, you pay for a percent of the total price times the number of nights searched. So, if you’re willing to shell out those dollars for a pricy hotel room for a 7-night stay, this is probably the model for you.

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Now that you’ve gotten a more in-depth view into the program, go into that HPA arena full force and watch your successes start to roll in!

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