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Learn how tour companies can stop wasting money on Google Ads

Is PPC wasting your Tour Company’s money?

When we’re talking to people in the tour and activity industry we often hear something like ‘We tried Adwords and it didn’t work for us.’

Well, I don’t know if it will make you feel better or not, but….you’re not alone. The reality is that Adwords (Google Ads) ARE a great way to quickly increase the number of guests you have. You may just need a little help.

Google is really good at making a lot of money from its ad network (Adwords, Google Ads, etc). They make a very sizable amount of revenue from people who don’t know how to use Google Ads properly. The bottom line is that using Ads on Search Engines like Google is a great way to quickly increase the number of guests that you have on your tour, the number of people who are showing up at your location – but they’re also a really good way to blow through a lot of money with very little to show for it if you don’t know what you’re doing.

You’re not using targeting options

If you run ghost tours in Savannah Georgia, but don’t limit the areas in which your ads show, your ads will be shown in Salem Massachusetts when someone types in ‘Ghost Tours’. This is absolutely one of the biggest wastes of money that companies commit in Adwords. If you’re going to be running ads for keywords such as ‘Ghost Tours’, or ‘Zip Lining Courses’, or ‘White Water Rafting’ you need to limit the geographical region in which your ads are showing.

Using the Location Targeting feature of Google Ads is critical to ensure you're showing your ads to the appropriate people.

If you don’t define your audience’s location, Google takes this as a sign that you’re wanting them to show your ads to everyone in the country (and maybe even the World) who types in a keyword you’re bidding it.

This is a horrible idea. Your ROI is going to be in the dumps. After all, you’re running tours or activities in YOUR area of the country, not theirs.

Every once in awhile someone will ask me ‘Well, what if people in that city are planning a trip to my city. I want my ads to be shown to them. If I limit my ads to only my city, they won’t see them’.


That is where we use a different campaign to target keywords which mention your location. For example ‘Savannah Ghost Tours’ or ‘Ziplining in Myrtle Beach’. Those are the ads we should to people who are not in your location.

You should have a minimum of 2 campaigns set up for targeting.

The first one should target people who are in your market. This is the campaign where you can use words like ‘Ghost Tours’ or ‘Rafting Trips’. You should also include geographically targeted keywords in this campaign.

Your second one should target everywhere but your market. This is the campaign where you want to use geographically targeted keywords such as ‘Savannah Ghost Tours’. By excluding general keywords from this nation-wide campaign you’ll save yourself a lot of money and increase your quality rating for your Ads.

This process can be challenging, and while someone with a good grasp of Adwords could do this – we highly recommend that you allow GoDo to help you. At the very least, allowing us to set up your campaigns will save you much more money down the road.

You’re not using Landing Page

When you create your ads in Adwords you get to pick where you want the searcher to go, when they click on your ad. For most companies linking to their home page, or their page about the tour/activity is their first choice. However, this is not always (rarely) the best option. This is why you need landing pages for your ads.

Each ad should have its own landing page. If you create an ad about Horseback riding tours in the Grand Canyon, but direct that person to your homepage where you’re also showing them rafting, helicopter tours, etc – you probably just lost that sale.

Another advantage of having landing pages is the ability to remove the menu from the page. On any page of your website you likely have a navigation menu at the top. On Landing Pages we want those to go away. You want the person who clicked your ad to complete the goal – purchase tickets. If you give them options to go get lost in the rest of your website, your chances of converting them to a guest are lowered.

Of course, we want that Landing Page to be comprehensive – so they have no need to go anywhere else.

By adding Landing Pages to your Adwords strategy, you’ll see a higher ROI, more people on your tours or activity, and more money in your bank account.

You’re not using Negative Keywords

Negative Keywords can be your best friend in an Ad campaign. A Negative Keyword is a word or phrase that you do not want your ads showing for. If you look through your Search Terms you’re almost certainly going to see a number of keywords that your ad has shown for – and possibly cost you money – that have nothing to do with what you offer. This is especially common when you set your keywords to ‘Broad Match’.

By adding words to your Negative Keyword List you are saving yourself money.

Using negative keywords can help your Tour or Activity money save money by not bidding on words that are irrelevant to your company.

In Closing

Google Ads are a great way for you to get more guests on your tours and activities. When deployed correctly there are not many better ways to quickly see more guests and more revenue.

By following the principles outlined in this article you’ll find that your investment in your ads will go further. You’ll spend less money on targeting people who will never purchase from you. Your ads will be shown to more people who are actually in a position to actually buy them.

Read about PPC advertising for Tour and Activity companies from GoDo.

Tim Nealon is the CEO & Founder of GoDo. With many years in the tour and activity industry, Tim is a leader in the industry. From starting and building a multi-million dollar tour company to starting his first Web Design company 20 years ago, Tim has the experience to help guide your company to success.

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