Citiscape Hotel Davao is positioned very well because of its location, it is located at the back of SM Lanang Premier where SMX Convention Center is situated and where great big events are held. So I thought to myself: “that business might be doing good because of that”, right now we can definitely say that it is true, but before? I don’t think so!

On the first couple of months of its operation, Citiscape was not doing great. Yes, they are in a very good location, their rooms are so nice, comfortable, affordable and all that other great stuff that they have, but, all of it is still useless because no one knows about them and that they are existing. That is the main reason why my friend, who was a former employee there, reached out to me and asked for my help.

I was introduced to the owner last August 2017. He is a very nice guy and a very humble person. We had a meeting and he told me a lot, from the number bookings they get per month, to their sales, etc.  He said that they really need help in making their target audience be aware that they are existing. He acknowledges the power of Digital Marketing but they just don’t know someone who knows how to do it without breaking the bank and that’s where I came in.

I have no experience in the hotel industry but I have a friend who knows a lot about this industry, so I asked him how to market a hotel online and it gave me a lot of ideas. By the way, my friend’s name is Google. After that quick research, I conducted an audit of their current online marketing efforts and as expected, they had a very poor digital marketing activity. They only had a Facebook account and an unclear Facebook Page because there were 2 of it, they had no access to the other one. The said pages had less than a hundred of page likes during that time. I wasn’t able to get a screenshot of it but you can check out this page for your reference: https://bit.ly/2r5jZBO, this was the other page that they don’t have access to, it was created by a former employee. You may also notice that it was still named as Citisape Dormitel & Beeztro Cafe, it’s because it was just recently changed to Citiscape Hotel Davao & Beeztro Cafe. Another thing that I found out was that they didn’t list their hotel to TripAdvisor which could be one of the couple reasons why their target audience doesn’t know about them.

“If there’s only one review site that you have a presence on, it should be TripAdvisor. TripAdvisor is the largest travel review site in the world and has an average of 390 million unique visitors every month. According to TripAdvisor, 83% of users from all around the world “usually” or “always” refer to TripAdvisor reviews before finalizing their booking decision on a hotel.” Source: FitSmallBusiness

After my audit to their online marketing efforts, I created an action plan which includes listing them on TripAdvisor, optimize their Facebook Page, list them under some online booking sites and we have selected Booking.com and Expedia for that. When everything was set up, they started receiving bookings from these online platforms. We didn’t stop there, I also created and ran a Facebook Ad campaign for them, it has a Traffic objective wherein Facebook users that would click on the ad will be redirected to their TripAdvisor page since they don’t have a website yet. I did this kind of strategy to utilize the remarketing ad campaigns of TripAdvisor, I noticed that when I was visiting the TripAdvisor website, I am seeing Facebook ads of TripAdvisor that features Citiscape Hotel Davao and I have also started seeing web banners from the Google Display Network. You can see on the screenshot below that their website has an active Facebook pixel for tracking website visitors and these data will be used for their remarketing ad campaigns.

Facebook Advertising

I didn’t create a split test ad for them since their ad budget is not ideal and sufficient to run a split test ad. What I did for them is, I selected single image as the ad format which lets me choose 6 images and will create a separate ad for each image and will only use the ad budget that I have indicated in the ad set section.

After running those 6 ads for quite some time, I have selected 3 out of 6 that are performing well in terms of their relevance score and number of link clicks. You can check out the screenshot below of those ads:

Though these 3 are the ones that stand out among the first 6 images I created, I am still not satisfied with the relevance score of these ads so what I did is that I created a lookalike audience of those Facebook users who have sent us messages in the Citiscape Hotel Davao Facebook Page since there are a lot already who sent a message in there.

The Lookalike Audience

As mentioned earlier, since there are already a lot messaging the page, I decided to create an audience out of it. By doing this, I will be able to create a new audience that has a great similarity to those who have sent us messages in the page which means they could also be frequent travelers and is interested in travel and adventure.

A quick tutorial, to create a lookalike audience, you need to go to the Audience section under Assets Library then click “Create Audience” and select “Custom Audience”, if you don’t have a website, you can select Engagement > Facebook Page > then you can select what kind of engagement activity > you can also select the number of days people will remain in your audience after they engage with your content and finally, you can name that custom audience that you just created.

After you have done this part, Facebook will populate this custom audience with the data that you need. If this has an audience size already, you can then start to use this to create a lookalike audience. To do that, you still need to go to the Audience section under the Assets Library, click “Create Audience” and instead of selecting Custom Audience, you need to select “Lookalike Audience”.

You will then need to select the source custom audience that Facebook will use as a reference in creating the lookalike audience, in my case, I selected the custom audience I created which is those who have sent messages to the Citiscape Hotel Davao Facebook Page in the past 60 days.

After that, you need to select a location if you want to narrow it down. In my case, I have selected Philippines since that is our main target market. Then, you need to select an audience size, audience size ranges from 1% to 10% of the total population in the countries you choose, with 1% being those who most closely match your source. After that, you just need to click create audience and that’s it.

When you’re done with this, you can then use this lookalike audience when choosing your audience in the ad set section, check out the screenshot below:

Here’s the result of the ad where I used the lookalike audience I created based on those people who sent messages on the Citiscape Hotel Davao Facebook Page in the past 60 days, check out the screenshot below:

It has a higher relevance score and generated a lot of link clicks. With this strategy, both the search engine optimization (TripAdvisor listing, etc.) and Facebook Advertising, I was able to help Citiscape Hotel Davao become an in-demand hotel in Davao.

Does your small business need help?

If you need help in marketing your business online, I would be glad to help you. You may reach me through email at karlpatrickacuna@gmail.com or you may also reach me at +63 933 854 8247.