Posted on Categories Blogging, Pay Per Click, Search Engine Optimization, Vacation Rental MarketingTags , , ,
Geo targeting in adwords

Are you managing your Adwords budget efficiently during COVID-19 travel?

In the world of Digital Marketing, every question has the same answer, “It depends”.No two clients are the same and each business requires a unique marketing strategy that fits in with it’s voice and plan. In the COVID-19 era, travel is inevitably going to be different which means your marketing strategy is going to have to be different too. We’ve all seen or heard the term GEO-targeting floating around internet chat rooms, making its way into casual water cooler conversations but what does it actually mean? Well if you aren’t using Geo-targeting in your Google Adwords campaigns, you may be losing valuable traffic and worse yet, your hard earned $$$ .

The traveler as we know it has changed; statistically we are seeing much less interest in fly to destinations with a huge spike in drive to markets. As travel bans are lifted, the fear remains and consumers don’t seem as interested in visiting markets that require flying which is why Geo targeting has become such a buzz worthy topic.

Summer family road trip

We are also noticing a shorter booking window, consumers aren’t interested in planning for the future in 2020 because there are just too many variables of uncertainty.

What is Geo Targeting & How does it work?

This tactic is when you identify the location of a consumer based on their IP address and target them and others in their same geographical location with ads. Geo targeting is important because it drives conversions. If we look at marketing like we look at relationships, one of the top driving forces in who we choose to spend time with is proximity. The principle of proximity is defined as the tendency to form relationships with those who are physically closer to you. We are more interested in someone or something if it is closer, we also are more interested if we see it frequently which helps us develop trust in a person, in a product and in a brand.

Geo targeting in the era of COVID-19 means using the data in your Google analytics to identify which markets/ locations are showing interest in your product. Use this data in your Google Adwords campaigns by setting up specific campaigns to target individual areas based off of Google Analytics traffic reports. 

Where can you find this report?

Google Analytics Reports

To increase your chance of conversions, develop individual campaigns and serve them to specific geographical areas using the terminology, language and imagery that is popular in that area. Human nature shows us that we are more inclined to invest in something that mirrors our behavior & seems similar. In your campaigns make sure you are linking to the correct section for each area on your website. If you set up a campaign to specifically target an area based on previous data that indicated this audience frequently vacations in a specific town, be sure that the campaign links to a section on your website that talks about that town and has vacation rentals available within it or close to it, this will capture the interest of the lead and keep them on the site longer likely increasing your chances of a conversion.


It’s important to know your consumer and write your ad copy with their needs in mind. In the COVID-19 era your primary audience will be The 5-hr drive markets. This is the “hot spot” that everyone should be targeting, look at your location on a map and identify all areas within a 5 hour drive and increase your bids heavily for those areas. Don’t forget about the 8 hour drive market though! Identify these areas and spend less than you would on your 5 hour markets but more than your 12 hour markets which are more likely to go on vacation somewhere closer to home. In your GA location report, identify which areas you’ve seen conversions from and target them a bit more heavily. For the sake of this blog, we can see in the image above that South Carolina is leading in transactions , if you click on South Carolina you’ll know which areas the consumers responsible for the transactions are from, with this information you can target these areas a bit more aggressively by increasing your bid’s in those areas.

Where do you select your list to target in adwords?

Google Adwords Menu


Google recently launched a location insertion for responsive search ads. This feature gives marketers the ability to customize ads to the consumers area of interest. To use this you simply place the command into your ad, for example Vacation Rentals {LOCATION(City)} , where City can be changed out for State or Country. So if you have Vacation Rentals acrossed North Carolina, you can set your ad to autofill the city depending on where the consumer is interested in visiting.

Google Adwords setup


It is important to keep in mind that this type of marketing is not a “sit it and forget it” type marketing, as seasons change so does your audience. For a beach location, You may have a large amount of conversions coming from New York during their snowy months but as it warms up that traffic may become stagnant because the need for warmer weather isn’t as strong. When using Geo-targeting in your marketing strategy you have to remain vigilant. 


SEO and PPC work hand in hand with each other. Organic marketing is EXTREMELY important right now, it’s often left behind because it is a bit more time consuming and the results are not as instant or as measurable but it may be the secret weapon in your arsenal that sets you apart from the crowd.

PPC is what catches the consumer and gets the click but without intriguing content they will leave the page. It is important to provide fresh content about local happenings on your site to keep the consumer interested and clicking around, the further invested they become the more likely they are to purchase the product. 


Blogs!! Blogs are so important for link building and catching the eye of the browsers. Keywords Everywhere is a great Google Chrome extension when developing your content, this tool will give you an idea of what your potential consumer is searching for on google. It is important to implement terms like “ Located within 2 hours of [ the area you’re marketing ]” make sure that all image tags include the location of the photo, if prevalent to the area you are marketing. 

Google My Business is crucial right now because it is tied into Google Maps. It is important to keep your listing up to date and to include a local telephone number and local address to increase your chances of showing up in the coveted map pack. 


  • Make sure you have a local physical address being advertised
  • Get verified by having a postcard mailed to your physical address
  • Strategically add highly convertible keywords to your description and title
  • Add photos, your logo and post frequently about your business to show consumers and google you are active
  • Stand out by adding FAQ to your listing. 
  • Get reviews, if you request consumer reviews direct them to you GMB

During these confusing times, it’s important to stay focused and not lose sight of your business goals. Don’t take your foot off the gas and be sure to use every tool you can to stand out from the pack and climb through the ranks of google. By combining local marketing tactics, Geo- Targeting in adwords and organic strategies you are sure to capture the interest of the consumer and drive up conversions! 

Author: Jill Highsmith

Jill is a Digital Marketing Manager & SEO Specialist with 10 years of experience in the Vacation Rental Industry. She grew up in the world of Property Management in Florida where her parents owned a small rental business which helped shape her understanding of the challenges Property Managers face within the industry. After earning her Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing from the University of West Florida she moved to the Outer Banks of North Carolina where she spent 5 years working as an in-house Marketing Specialist for a large Vacation Rental Company wearing many different hats. Her love of analytics, unique perspective, and industry experience brought her to her current role as a Digital Marketing Specialist at Intercoastal Net Designs where she works on multiple nationwide accounts within the vacation rental market.