*The Google Adwords Checklist is available for download at the end of this article.

Why Advertise?

The Forest of Knives may be one of the most beautiful places on Earth. The only issue is, no one’s heard of it. Point is, you could have the most beautiful website and tour package but it doesn’t matter if nobody sees it. That’s why you need to advertise, you need to put your assets in front of people.

Traditionally advertising was only available to big businesses with the budgets to buy billboards and newspaper space. The good news is, the rise of digital advertising has allowed anyone or business to advertise with any budget they’ve got. One popular platform is Google Adwords.

What is Google Adwords?

google adwords checklist

Google Adwords is a pay-per-click- advertising platform. It’s an extremely high intent and thus, an effective method of advertising. This is how it works.

  1. You bid on keywords related to your business. Eg. Tours in Chicago, Boat Tours in Chicago.
  2. Someone searches for one of those terms in Google.
  3. Google then checks for everyone who’s put a bid on that keyword.
  4. If you placed the highest bid and have the most relevant ad, Google will place your ad above all other results.
  5. If and only if the person clicks on your ad, will you be charged.

It’s great because you’re only showing your advertisements to people who are already looking for your product and you’re only charged when someone clicks on your ad, meaning you only pay if your advertising works.

How to use Google Adwords for your Tour & Activities Operation?

  1. Find relevant keywords

    google adwords checklist
    The first thing you need to do is find relevant keywords. What are your customers searching for? Who else is bidding on those keywords? Google Keyword Planner is a great way to start, it can provide you with a list of suggestions based on your website. You can also research further into each keyword with Google Keyword Planner. Some other useful tools:

    1. Keywordtool.io
    2. Answer The Public
    3. Ubersuggest
  2. Further Define Your Audience

    google adwords checklist
    Using Google Ads local campaigns and other tools, you can further define your audience based on age, location, interests, language, etc. One useful feature for tour operators is to exclude people living in a certain location and only include those who are visiting.

    You could also target specific countries at specific times of the year. For example, if you know that during the July-August period, the majority of your customers are from France, you could target France in the months prior to when they are researching or planning their trip to your country.

  3. Understand your Keyword Match Types

    Google Adwords uses 4 different match types. Understanding how to use each one is a great way to ensure your campaigns are as efficient as possible. Depending on the match types, your ads show when a user searches for:

    1. Broad Match: a keyword or variations of your keyword. Used by default.
    2. Phrase Match: only the exact phrase (or close variations) of your keyword.
    3. Exact Match: only the exact match of your keyword.
    4. Negative Match: excludes your ad from this keyword.
  4. Headline

    Ensure your headline is enticing. Think about it from the customers’ perspective. What would make you click on the ad? What are you offering? Make sure that’s conveyed effectively. Also, ensure that you invoke urgency. They need to know the offer ends soon or that spots are limited, make them act now!

  5. Create a Landing Page

    Most people overlook this. The worst thing you can do is to direct customers from your ad to your homepage. Google will see this as irrelevant and your ads will be shown less frequently. Above is one of Airbnb’s landing pages for Australia. It’s best practice to create a landing page for each of your ad sets.

    For example, if you were running an ad on a Spring walking tour promotion you’ve got, create a page for your Spring walking tour promotion. This will tell Google that your ad is highly relevant and your ads will appear more frequently.

  6. Include Your Keywords Everywhere


    Include the keywords you want to rank for everywhere. Put it in your headings, your destination URLs and your descriptions. The more places your keywords appear, the more relevant Google will think your ads are. Notice how Hellofresh finds every opportunity to use the keyword “fresh”.

You’ve made it to the end! Looks like you’re ready to run some killer Google advertisements! Don’t forget to download the Google AdWords checklist below to ensure your campaign is as efficient as possible.

google adwords checklist

Once you’re ready, check out Chapter 3: Social Media.