Travel and Tourism Marketing: The Digital Guide

The travel and tourism marketing is rebounding as the industry surges above pre-pandemic levels.

Are you taking advantage of it?

This digital guide to travel marketing gives you everything you need to know before launching a campaign. 

How to Succeed at Travel and Tourism Marketing

Travel books and printed pamphlets are a thing of the past. Now, it’s time to lead with digital tactics.

Today’s travelers are finding inspiration for trips on digital channels. Younger travelers in particular are taking this a step further by shifting to mobile devices over desktop, looking to the brand’s website or Instagram to get a sense of what they can expect. 

To reach the modern traveler, brands need to create a seamless experience across digital channels from awareness to check out/visit.

You’ll also need to create a strategic, customized approach to target your optimal audience on the most impactful channels.

Your Guide to Success

Download this guide to learn how to:

  • Leverage the latest travel and tourism marketing trends
  • Create the optimal media mix for your brand with the most impactful channels
  • Implement cookieless solutions to reach your target audience
  • Measure the ROI from omnichannel travel marketing campaigns

Ready to take off?

View and download the guide below!

The Return of Travel and Tourism Marketing

After the tumultuous years of the pandemic, travel and tourism is finally experiencing a surge in demand. Travel digital marketing spend dipped 51% in 2021 but is now growing by 14.2% in 2022. An additional 12.1% increase is expected in 2023, according to eMarketer

Pathmatics Travel and Tourism Marketing Spend Data

What do travel and tourism marketers need to do to prepare for this opportunity?

Lead With Digital Tactics

Travel books and printed pamphlets are a thing of the past. Today’s travelers are finding inspiration for trips on digital channels. Younger travelers in particular are taking this a step further by shifting to mobile devices over desktop, looking to the brand’s website or Instagram to get a sense of what they can expect. 

As the saying goes, “not all who wander are lost.” Allow yourself to experiment, becoming smarter by letting continuous learning guide your marketing strategy. The best way to do that is to start with digital, where flexibility and agility allow for quick learnings and pivots.

Digital marketing is the perfect petri dish to test out tactics and creatives before making a major investment. For example, you can run a short-form video ad on social media and identify which creative is performing best. Then, use those creative learnings to inform a more premium CTV placement or Cable TV buy with an added layer of confidence.

Is your travel brand ready for a digital-first marketing strategy?

Here’s your digital housekeeping checklist to prime your digital travel and tourism marketing for success:

High Impact Travel and Tourism Marketing Channels 

When choosing travel marketing channels, consider these four aspects: 

  1. Budget: If budget is limited, maximize spend on fewer channels. If you have more dollars, consider diversifying, testing something new or incorporating premium placements. 
  2. Audience: Identify where your audience is most active and receptive to advertising. 
  3. Customer Journey: Understand how your customers behave, and shape your advertising around their decision making process. 
  4. Storytelling: Include highly visual channels that allow storytelling to tap into their emotions. 

To keep pace with digital-first users, prioritize your digital marketing efforts on these key digital channels: 


  • According to Pathmatics data, Facebook is the leading social media channel for Travel/Tourism ad spend. Explore various ad formats to help lead your traveler down the funnel, such as Facebook Lead Ads. Tailor educational resources to unique audience groups to establish trust and consideration. 

Endemic Travel Sites

  • Travel blogs and sites are highly valuable for travel brands. 59% of families use travel websites to plan vacations. Another 13.5% of leisure travelers use travel blogs to plan trips. Use these sites establish brand awareness and trustworthiness among potential travelers. 

User-Generated Content 

  • UGC is used by 58.2% of travelers for planning leisure travel. Word of mouth is, and always will be, the most impactful form of marketing. Encourage customers to leave quality reviews on your site or other travel pages to boost your brand status. In addition, encourage users to create content FOR you. 

Paid Search

  • Speed and agility are crucial for travel brands. You need to appear as a top option for during the research and discovery process. Optimize a combination of branded, unbranded and competitive paid search terms. This will help you show up for relevant, high value queries.


  • Twitter is especially effective for targeting luxury and business travelers on a platform where users are highly engaged, especially surrounding news and business. To expand your targeting pool, use the platform’s AI to find follower lookalikes from competitor brands.

Online Video 

  • While a picture is worth a thousand words, a video is priceless. Online video placements across YouTube and Display allow brands to tell a rich, visual story. YouTube offers various travel category targeting options such as Business Travel, Family Travel, and Frequent Travel. You can also layer these with geo targeting to narrow in on your core audience. 

Connected TV

  • Connected TV amplifies online video by placing it on the largest screen in the household. It’s one of the most impactful visual mediums travel brands can use, while offering more flexibility and addressability than linear TV. CTV ads are a great option to reach family travelers or promote kid-friendly destinations. 



  • Instagram is a go-to source of inspiration for Millennial and Gen-Z travelers. Travel brands can build community by interacting with users through various formats – reels, stories, and posts. Use post comments, story polls, and Q&As to start a conversation with interested travelers. Avoid being overly curated and don’t be afraid to use trending phrases, sounds or hashtags. 


  • Travel engagement on Pinterest is at an all time high with travel-related searches increasing by over 60%. Pinterest is primed for planning and purchasing, and can facilitate real bookings. This platform is a great place to hone in on ‘Travel’ and ‘Foodie’ audiences. 


  • No other social platform enables the potential virality or mass reach as TikTok. Users spend an average of 52 minutes per day on the app, and 90% of TikTok users use the app multiple times daily. Although TikTok has a strong younger presence, 51% of users are now 30+. The app is growing in popularity amongst millennials with disposable income for travel. DisneyParks has over 4M followers on TikTok and Delta Airlines gained nearly 19.5M views in the initial 36 hours of their first TikTok campaign.

Retail Media

  • Activating first-party shopper audiences through retail media networks is a great way to reach travelers. For example, the Marriott Media Network uses search and reservation data to serve relevant ads to consumers.  


  • Digital out of home spend is soaring as people are traveling again. Screens in airports, inflight video, taxi cabs, bus stations, billboards near attractions, and more can place your brand in front of traveling audiences. DOOH is a great tactic to educate users once they are at a destination. 

Local Partnerships

  • 78% of survey respondents want to support local small businesses when they travel. State and city tourism brands can leverage this trend by partnering with local artists, chefs or businesses. Thise partnerships can drive travel consideration and boost awareness for both parties. Consider unique creative options like how-to videos, downloadable guides, or co-branded social posts about the partnership. 

Ad Targeting for Travel and Tourism Audiences

It’s important that you don’t create a one-size-fits-all approach when marketing to future tourists. Consider who your existing traveler base is, and identify attributes to qualify other individuals in your prospecting audience. From there, tailor messaging to drive education and consideration. 

Are they solo travelers seeking adventure? Young families looking for a cost effective, kid-friendly trip? Foodies wanting luxurious and avant garde dining experiences? Create profiles to understand these individuals from a 360-degree perspective. Build as many personas as makes sense for your brand. 

Personalize Messaging 

Next, personalize your messaging to meet their unique motivations, behaviors and interests. Speak to each group differently and adjust visuals to resonate with their interests. If you’re looking to reach the adventure seeker, show fun activities like zip lining, hiking, concerts, etc. If you’re speaking to the budget-friendly family, showcase the value of the experiences you offer, without a major bill.

Reach Your Travelers Throughout Their Journey

To reach today’s consumers, brands need to create a seamless experience across digital channels from awareness to check out/visit. 

An omnichannel strategy is vital to keep a loyalty loop and encompass all phases of the customer journey. Use your marketing mix to show up at key moments in the consumer journey from planning to experiencing. ThinkWithGoogle identified four core micro-moments in the travel process: Dream, Plan, Book, and Experience. 

  • Dream – Spark inspiration and educate during the dreaming phase
  • Plan – Provide helpful information and build trust
  • Book – Offer a compelling value proposition and enable seamless transaction
  • Experience – Ensure the visit is positive and meets expectations. Follow up with post-visit marketing to keep customers engaged. Encourage reviews and social media posts during and after. 

Measuring Travel and Tourism Marketing Campaigns

Create a Data Terminal

It’s easy to get absorbed in the performance of individual channels. However, this causes campaigns to quickly turn from strategic to tactical. Instead, manage your advertising holistically within one dashboard. Doing so allows you to share and optimize performance trends and learnings across tactics. By looking at the data from a macro lens, you can identify important signals and weave a cohesive story. 

Check your unnecessary baggage 

Marketers need to ensure they are looking beyond vanity metrics to identify trends that signal success. It is especially important to synchronize data sets as we prepare for cookie deprecation. Instead of solely looking for direct attribution, explore a variety of business and media metrics over time. This will unveil unique learnings and better show the incremental impact of advertising.

Onboard advanced measurement 

When media metrics do not answer your business questions, layer advanced measurement tactics, on top of traditional media efficiency metrics. These data points will provide a more robust view of marketing’s impact on business goals. 

For tourism brands, foot traffic lift is especially impactful in providing a clear view of how advertising drove incremental increases in visitors.

Refuel with continuous learning

When creating a marketing strategy, it’s critical to fuel ongoing campaign learnings to answer key questions and improve results for future initiatives. 

At Coegi, we combine a measurement strategy and a structured learning agenda. This ensures we are optimizing campaigns toward business goals while also continuously improving. 

Key Takeaways for Travel and Tourism Marketers 

  1. Lead with digital tactics to reach the growing audience of travelers 
  2. Lean into highly visual channels such as social media and online video
  3. Understand your unique audiences and tailor ads to their consumer journey across channels 
  4. Implement a comprehensive measurement strategy to see the impact of your campaigns

For more strategic insights and campaign activation, contact Coegi to set up a meeting with our travel marketing experts. 

5 Marketing Tactics to Drive Travel Bookings

The travel marketing industry is rebounding as 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

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 Standard 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

Drive Travel Consideration by Leveraging Local Collaborations

The Brief

A travel and tourism client proposed a collaboration with a local chef to boost traveler consideration for their location. Using a cross-channel social media strategy, our teams saw strong results across Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest with below benchmark CPAs for this co-branded campaign.



Tour Guide Downloads

Instagram Post Engagements

Facebook CTR


Our travel and tourism client tasked Coegi with executing a co-branded, mid-funnel campaign to boost website traffic as well as increase awareness. We were given high quality ‘how-to’ video creative from the popular chef. By presenting this to targeted audiences in mid-funnel campaigns, we were able to drive travel consideration among key audience groups.


We used a multi-channel paid social media strategy to target each platform’s specific audiences. Pinterest encapsulated the ‘foodie’ audience, while Facebook and Instagram’s goal was to drive the large travel audience to their site. Both platforms included look-a-like and retargeting segments to reach engaged users. Success was based on key website actions such as landing page views and post engagement.

This multifaceted strategy provided strong results. The Instagram and Facebook campaign achieved a CPLPV of $0.67 that came in well below our benchmark of $1.83. In addition, we also saw a 2.47% CTR, well above the 0.90% benchmark. The Pinterest campaign, despite having a smaller percentage of the budget, generated nearly 1.7MM impressions with a post engagement rate of 1.27% including 1,365 pin saves.

Key Learnings

  • Well-curated and professional creative catches eyes. This pushed our audience down the funnel quicker than most – generating 126 Tour Guide Downloads.
  • By partnering with an authentic, trusted figure such as a local chef or celebrity, travel brands can boost their image and drive audience engagement. 
  • Using “how-to” style Pinterest posts have a higher likelihood of being saved. This ultimately drives site traffic and brand awareness.

Using Non-Media Data for Agile Tourism Marketing

The Brief

Coegi collaborated with sister agencies, RADaR Analytics and True Media, to create a proprietary tool that allowed our tourism client to shift marketing dollars in real-time based on COVID-19 infection rates and consumer reception to travel. This offered our client a unique data set to inform marketing decisions – maximizing their dollars and promoting safe travel.



Lift in New Website Visitors

Lift in Time Spent on Site


COVID-19 had a substantial impact on the travel and tourism industry, including one of Coegi’s tourism marketing clients. Spring and summer, historically their largest promotional period, came to a rapid halt as COVID-19 rapidly spread in 2020.

The tourism client’s ongoing objective is to support the travel and tourism industry throughout the state. However, as a government-funded organization, they also had to avoid promoting unsafe travel that could contribute to the spread of COVID-19. As a result, they tasked our team with developing a targeting strategy that continued to grow the industry in a responsible and innovative way.


We collaborated to create a proprietary tool that responded in real-time to both the COVID-19 pandemic and consumer interest in travel to allow for effective decision making and dynamic campaign adjustments. The end result was the COVID-19 Scoring Model. This model crossed weekly CDC level data regarding COVID-19 (case levels, 7 day rolling averages, death rates) with real-time interest indicators (Google trends data, website activity, on-site conversions). This gave each county in the state a score from 1-4 that indicated the level of opportunity in each market. 

Using this tool, we had a unique data set to inform decisions regarding geotargeting, messaging, and frequency to ensure the strategy aligned with likelihood of travel as well as safety. Coegi and our traditional media sister agency, True Media, collaborated to automate information collection and efficiently apply it to our digital media buys.

We were able to continue our omnichannel approach and expand awareness against a general traveler audience, as well as passion audiences based on preferred activities in the state. We also placed location data on top of our persona targeting in lower-funnel campaigns to ensure we were not reaching users who were strictly isolating.

Despite these challenges, we were able to drive strong results for our clients in the second half of 2020, fluidly shifting audience, geographic, and messaging strategy as data became available. Our campaigns cumulatively delivered over 124 million impressions, 61% above initial projections. We were also able to achieve a 3% increase in new website visitors and a 20% increase in time spent on site. 

Coegi Partners

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