From my experience, the amount for the SEA spend varies according to client and this is also true across geographical locations. There seems to be an unsupported trend that companies in Hawaii do not wish to spend substantial dollars for any online marketing program, while companies in Seattle or Chicago are willing to spend millions of dollars a year just to gain that extra leverage over their nearest competitor. If this is the case, why isn’t Hawaii taking advantage of it? You would figure that one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations should utilize this program to help gather a wider audience. We’re not talking about SEO here, folks…we’re talking about how to get your names listed on Google, Yahoo!, Microsoft, AOL Search, Ask.com, and more! Through the wonderful world of SEA (or more commonly referred to these days as Search Engine Marketing, or SEM), companies can buy keywords they know their customers are typing in when searching for a tourism spot.
Don’t know how to find out what your customers are typing in on the search engines? Ask them! When you have a content customer, ask them when they check-out of your hotel or call with some praise/feedback, and if they said they were looking online, ask them what they typed in. Don’t be shy…use this first-hand knowledge and reward them for their service through a discount or something — a present that will make them feel appreciated. That way they will not only be your primary data, but also a repeat customer…and isn’t that what everyone wants? After obtaining this data, be sure to go do some digging online and see where your company shows up and note it down. Then go and see where your competitors show up. If they are higher than yours, ask yourself why. Is it because their website has more information about that particular keyword? Are they utilizing an SEA approach? You can’t really tell about that. But, what you can do is go ahead and do some investigating and see what it would take for you to get on board and perhaps jump out ahead of everyone else in Hawaii.