Leveraging Google Ad Extensions to Market Your Destination

July 22, 2021
Macbook computer open to Google Search Browser on a sparsely decorated desk.

As the travel and tourism industry rebounds, DMOs are looking for ways to maximize paid advertising efforts and attract travelers to their destination. Competition is fierce. With the internet accounting for more than 74% of both leisure and business travel planning, DMOs are faced with the challenge of positioning their destination to stand out against competitors.

Google is the primary place for travelers to begin their destination research. The search engine  offers a variety of tools and advertising options to help your destination stand out, including numerous ad extension options that focus on maximizing your search real estate and adding relevancy to your destination content. Here are a few tips to building a more robust paid search strategy.

Maximize Your Search Real Estate

Over the years, Google has expanded the way ads appear to users, taking what was once a single description and headline and evolving it into the destination ads you see today. With sitelink, callout, structured snippet and others, Google ad extensions are an effective way to increase the amount of space your destination ad monopolizes in a SERP.

Sitelink Extensions

What are they?

As one of the most impactful extensions to your Google Ads, sitelinks appear below the ad text and create opportunities for destination advertisers to increase CTRs by sending traffic to additional pages of your DMO website. The extensions consist of a 25-character link text and two 35-character limit description lines. Although the link text can appear on any ads, the descriptions are reserved for ads in the No.1 position of a search results page.

Why my DMO should use them?

Almost every advertiser’s CTR can benefit from sitelink extensions, but for DMOs, sitelinks are a resource for driving users to deeper pages of your destination website. In 2021, DMOs can use sitelinks to highlight safety information in response to COVID-19, lead users to “Major Attractions” or “Dining & Nightlife,” or request a visitor’s guide.

Callout Extensions:

What are they?

Callout extensions are utilized to present relevant information and offers to travelers in addition to ad text. The extensions appear right after the descriptions and are limited to 25 characters each.

Why my DMO should use them?

Similar to sitelink extensions, the goal of any Google ad extension is to increase relevancy of the destination ad and monopolize more search real estate. Callout extensions for DMOs can be utilized to present information on the destination. For example, a campaign for Denver focused on the outdoors might use callout extensions like “300 days of sunshine” or “Rocky Mountain access.”

Structure Snippet Extensions:

What are they?

Structed snippet extensions increase ad value and give travelers more reasons to click by presenting specific aspects of the destination as assigned by a selected category. The extensions can include up to 10 values of 25-characters each. Google provides a select list of header options including brands, types, amenities and neighborhoods.

Why my DMO should use them?

Structed snippet extensions are a great way to showcase what your destination has to offer. For DMOs, snippets can be used to feature categories including amenities, destinations, featured hotels and neighborhoods.

Adjust Your Content with Seasonality

The travel and tourism industry fluctuates with seasonal change and your destination ads should to. Beyond adjusting the ad text, extensions can play a vital role in communicating seasonal trends in travel.

Sitelink extensions can draw attention to your destination’s seasonal attractions and send traffic to more relevant pages at the time of research. Consider a traveler who is researching two locations for an upcoming ski trip. Destination A is using generic sitelink extensions to “Places to Stay” or “Things to Do Here” and Destination B is leveraging seasonal trends with sitelinks related to “Book A Ski Vacation” or “Explore Our Ski Resorts.” Although both destinations have active sitelinks, Destination B will resonate more with the traveler and have an higher likelihood of being clicked.

Callout extensions are another great way to highlight seasonal changes in travel. Whether your DMO is offering a travel incentive or wants to highlight a new attraction in the location, callouts provide added value to the existing ad language.

Are you a small DMO that wants to maximize your Google search ads? As leaders in place marketing with a proven experience in helping destinations reach their goals through tourism-driven marketing campaigns, we can help. Get in touch with Steve Duncan at [email protected] to learn more.