Marketing Tactics to Drive Travel Bookings

/ Thoughtspace - Programmatic, Strategy, Targeting

The travel marketing industry is rebounding in 2022 as Covid restrictions loosen around the globe. Stir-crazy leisure travelers, vacationing families and business travelers are eager to explore new places and experiences. How can travel and tourism brands ensure they are incorporated in those travel plans? 

Here are 5 ways to drive travel bookings:

1) Show Up In The Research Phase

The purchase funnel for travel brands is shrinking as travelers are shortening the trip planning process. 

Speed and agility is crucial for travel brands to ensure they appear as a top option for their relevant audiences during the research and discovery process. Optimize digital discovery and drive travel bookings by doing the following: 

  1. Optimize paid search presence to show up for relevant, high value queries
  2. Activate audience search retargeting on display and social to stay stop of mind as the customer moves from research to the planning and booking phases
  3. Work to gain quality reviews on owned websites and travel sites

2) Segment Customers To Provide Personalized Offers

Carefully segment your existing customer list and use AI to inform personalized messaging to each group. Understand their unique motivations and deliver the offer most likely to resonate with them. 81% of consumers say personalized experiences are very important when vetting travel and hospitality brands. 

So, consider who you are talking to. Are they solo travelers seeking adventure? Or young families seeking a cost effective, kid-friendly trip? Or are they foodies looking for luxury and avant garde dining experiences?  

Once a trip is completed, the customer journey should not end. This will leave you constantly scrambling to find new audiences to fill your funnel rather than cultivating brand loyalty. Instead, explore how you can entice past travelers with a new trip or experience based on their past interest. 

3) Adjust Creatives And Channel Placements To Reflect Your Target Audience

It’s important that you don’t create a one-size-fits-all approach when marketing to future travelers. Consider demographic attributes such as age and lifestage to choose the most impactful channels to reach them on when making travel plans. 

Key stats and trends shaping the travel and tourism industry today

  • 89% of Millennials plan trips based on peer-content seen on social media 
  • 18–34 year old travelers are more likely to research travel destinations on mobile devices 
  • 59% of families use travel websites for planning vacations
  • 30% of families use social media as a travel planning resource 
  • UGC is used by 58.2% of travelers for planning leisure travel 
  • 13.5% of leisure travelers plan trips using travel itineraries or blogs

Not accounting for differences in media consumption and sources of authority will inevitably cost your brand dollars. Instead, carefully tailor your campaigns to reach audience segments on the channels they are most active on and deliver the style of content they trust and are already seeking out. 

4) Look Beyond Media Metrics To Gauge Success

How can you measure the results of these campaigns and make sure your carefully tailored campaigns are driving the desired results? Simple media metrics, like impressions and clicks, often do not tell the whole story. For travel brands, incorporating advanced measurement studies such as foot traffic lift can provide a clear view of how marketing tactics impacted incremental increases in visitors. 

5) Use Non-Media Data To Understand The Travel Climate

In a 2020 report, Google analysts stated that traditional data and analytics for travel patterns “do not account for more immediate upper funnel demand drivers, such as the progression of COVID-19, government travel sanctions, and dynamic flight availability.” Using more advanced, macro-level data can help brands gauge the travel climate from an industry-wide perspective. 

Coegi worked with a tourism client to create a proprietary data solution to track Covid-19 and consumer interest in travel using CDC data and real-time interest indicators. We used this tool to score geographies based on the safety and likelihood of travel within each region. This allowed for real-time insights to inform media buys and campaign flighting strategy and media planning. 

For more strategic tips to drive travel bookings, view our complete Travel and Tourism Marketing Guide

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