PPC Advertising for Adventure Tourism: Maximizing ROI in Hiking Route Campaigns

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The share of travel and tourism’s total contribution to GDP worldwide in 2033 is expected to be 11.6%. Statista gives such data. At the same time, the main stake in Internet promotion, according to experts, will be made on PPC advertising. This means that players in the tourism market need to revise existing strategies and explore new tactics. Read about the 3 most relevant tactics in contextual advertising this year in our article.

Tactic #1. Context on branded queries

The first thing to pay attention to this year is brand recognition online. According to old Medium research, 42% of visitors to travel websites come through direct traffic. In other words, this is a quality target audience that came to the sites by typing the address in the browser or going from bookmarks. Such a high rate indicates that the company name itself can generate a significant influx of potential customers.

From search engines comes 30.7% of visitors (organic traffic). Remember that your competitors are not slumbering and wage an active war using key phrases with your brand. So, a competitor’s ad can appear in the first place in the search results on the request with your company’s name. To protect yourself from such attacks, make sure that you control the search results page that is generated in response to such a user search query.

It is most effective to combine campaigns with branded and unbranded keyword phrases. This tactic increases click-through rates. Note that a branded ad will likely be shown to more knowledgeable users who narrow down their broad query. Therefore, using extensions in your ads as much as possible is important. For example, additional links will “move” the user to the service booking page or promotional page more quickly. Extensions like “structured snippet” work well. They target audiences still learning about the topic and are at the top of the sales funnel.

Tactic #2. Targeting by geolocation

Contextual advertising in tourism is not just about finding a customer planning their future vacation. There are also services that need to be sold here and now. If a tourist has already arrived in your region, you can offer him a hiking tour.

Geolocation targeting tools work great in this case. The idea is that you are looking for a potential customer close to your destination. The targeting radius allows you to set the distance at which you need to search for the target audience.

In AdWords, it is targeting by radius with coverage from 1 km. Even a search campaign with unbranded key phrases will give a good result if targeted to a client near the place where the hiking tour is sold. An important plus is the low cost of the traffic a business receives.

Geotargeting in Facebook also provides a radius of coverage from 1 km. And in this case, it is more about the upper part of the sales funnel – attracting the client at the awareness stage. The tool is not designed to work with those at the bottom of the funnel. The pros of location targeting on Facebook include low costs, the ability to use high-quality photos and trademarks, as well as narrowly segmenting the audience by interests.

Tactic #3. Similar audiences and ads to increase engagement for publishing on Facebook

Similar Audience Targeting assumes that ads are shown to users who are similar to the advertiser’s existing website audience in terms of socio-demographics and behavior. Facebook allows you to build a new audience with high conversion potential. The plus side of look-alike targeting is a low threshold of entry. 

To start an advertising campaign on the social network, a sample of 100 customers who live in the same country is enough. To create a look-alike audience, you must upload a list, define the country, and designate a percentage (1 to 10% of the country’s population). When creating a similar audience, you must determine whether similarity or reach is more important. The smallest (1%) but the highest-quality audience may be a good starting point for advertising for a small travel company, but it will likely be insufficient for a larger business.

If you need to expand your company’s initial sample of customers on Facebook, you can, for example, include everyone who has “liked” the page’s content while exploring it.

Another option we recommend is Post Engagement Ads, where you place a post on a social network that is “customized” for a specific audience. For example, it can be a post about walking holidays in Switzerland. The advertising link is attached to this post, which means that it starts working for the audience you are interested in.


PPC advertising presents a valuable opportunity for adventure tourism businesses to attract hikers and maximize ROI in promoting hiking routes. By crafting compelling ad copy, targeting relevant keywords, utilizing geo-targeting, leveraging ad extensions, optimizing landing pages, and continuously monitoring and optimizing campaigns, businesses can effectively reach their target audience and drive bookings for their hiking experiences. With the right strategies in place, PPC advertising can be a powerful tool for growing your adventure tourism business and enticing adventurers to explore the great outdoors.

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