A How-To Guide For Targeting Drive Markets

by Phil Foriska

How-To Guide For Targeting Drive Markets

In a post-crisis world, many anticipate that the majority of your hotel’s business will com via drive markets. There will likely still be some apprehension to fly, but people will be in serious need of a getaway after a long quarantine period. Reaching your drive market with appropriate messaging will be essential to start getting heads in beds once again. Cartoon family in car

This guide will show:
How To Determine Your Typical Drive Market
How To Target Your Drive Market Through Google Ads
How To Target Your Drive Market Through Facebook Ads
How To Target Your Drive Market Through Email
How To Target Your Drive Market With Phone Calls

Determine Your Typical Drive Market

Our typical drive markets usually cover 150 to 200 miles around the property. This allows the guest to spend 3.5 hours or less in the car to reach their destination. The drive won’t eat up too much of the day and the guest can still enjoy a full day around the hotel after they arrive. If you’re collecting this data from your guests and storing in your CRM, you will certainly want to reference that. If you haven’t collected this data or need updated data based on the current state of the world, you may be able to find it by surveying your database. We’ll discuss these surveys in more detail within the Email section of this guide.

Reaching Your Drive Market Through Google Ads


How to set up geo-targeting

– Select a campaign
– Select Locations
– Select “Targeted”
– Click the Blue Pencil button
– Select Radius
– Enter your city name or hotel’s physical address and the distance in miles
– Click Save

(Get Additional Location Targeting Information Here)

Creating Relevant Ad Copy


Search Ad Messaging Options

– You will want to update your ad copy to appeal to those within your drive market. Verbiage like “weekend getaway” and “just a short drive away” can entice people to make the trip. 

Review Popular Booking Windows

– If you find that the majority of people are searching and booking late summer or early fall it may be helpful to create a special to add value to stays booked during those time frames. You can promote those specials within your ad copy and extensions. 

Updating Sitelinks and Callout Extensions

– If you have pages that show your updated cancellation policies, additional cleaning services, Contactless amenities or anything to reduce doubt & fear, add a Sitelink so searchers can visit those pages directly from your ads. Be sure those pages have booking widgets present for visitors who wish to move further down your conversion funnel. 

– If you don’t have dedicated pages for those, you can add them to Callout Extensions so you can still convey that information. 

Reaching Your Drive Market Through Facebook

How to Set Up Facebook Geo-Targeting

– Create your new campaign
– Select “Conversions” as your marketing objective and name your campaign
– Under the “Audience” section, find Locations
– Facebook only allows a 50-mile radius so if you want to target the 150 or 200-mile radius like in Google Ads, you will need to create multiple radiuses. 

– Tip: It may be helpful to put your Google Ads radius targeting up on your screen so you have a better idea of the locations you need to select. (shown below)

– Once you have your location targets set, use the dropdown to choose “People living in this location”

(Get Additional Location Targeting Information Here)

Facebook Messaging Options

– Similar to display ads on Google Ads, you will want to use imagery or video that features any contactless amenities and outdoor attractions near your property whether that be the beach, golf courses, hiking and biking trails, or any activities where people can still practice safe social distancing. 

– You will still want the text associated with your ad to convey the ease of travel to your location as well as any flexible cancellation policies and enhanced cleaning policies that will ease any fear people may still have around travel. 

Reaching Your Drive Market Through Email


Identifying Your Drive Market Segment

– Hopefully, you are storing your guest’s email and physical addresses in your CRM. If so, creating a segment of guests who live in your drive market should be a piece of cake. 

– If for some reason you don’t have physical address information associated with email addresses, now is the time to gather that information by sending a survey. 

– Questions you can ask your database:

– Ask what city/state they currently live in

– Ask if they plan to drive to the next vacation.

– Ask how long it takes them to get to your hotel 

– Ask where they stop along the way

– If you find that many of your guests stop at the same places along the way, you could use this information for additional geo-targeted display and Facebook efforts for potential guests who are not in your database.  

Email Messaging Options


– Email offers you the greatest flexibility among all previously mentioned platforms. You are not confined by character limits and can explain in detail why your drive market should come to stay with you. 

– You can use all of that great imagery and video that shows off your property as well as the great amenities and attractions guests can enjoy.

– You can feature any special offers that would entice recipients to make a booking

– You can fully explain your updated cancellation policies and cleaning procedures. 

– You should also be sending emails that are not focused on sales but on gaining additional information about your guests. 

– You should ask questions like:

– What is most important to them right now?

– Do they plan on traveling in 2020? 2021?

– If so, when do they think they’ll be traveling?

– What would make them want to travel to your area?

– How would they like to receive future communication?

– These surveys can be set up as multiple choice and can very easily and can give you a wealth of information about what kinds of information you should be sending to each guest and when you should be sending it. 
Here is a great post on additional email marketing tactics for post-crisis recovery!

Reaching Your Drive Market Through Phone Outreach

– Again, you should have your past guest’s phone numbers stored in your CRM along with their addresses.

– With guest information in hand, have your reservationists pick up the phone and call past guests who live in your drive market.

– Use data you have stored about each guest and their stay

– When they stayed last

– What room they stayed in

– Any deals/specials they took advantage of

– See if they would like to book that room again or take advantage of that special again.

– Be sure to inform them of any updated cancellation policies and cleanliness procedures. 

– You can also conduct a survey similar to your email survey to gather more information about each guest so you know how to best reach them when they want to hear from you. 

Hotel receptionist on phone behind desk

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