By Rob Webster, CSO, Crimtan
Display advertising isn’t new to the travel industry. No travel brand today can afford to overlook digital when deciding on their marketing strategy and budget.
But while you may be spending money on digital advertising, are you investing it wisely? Too often we see travel marketers making easily-avoided mistakes. Mistakes that are costing them customers and wasting budget.
Here are three of the most common.
1) Pushing customers to aggregators
Most consumers today will use an OTA at some point in their travel booking, making Skyscanner, Kayak, Hotels.com, Booking.com etc familiar household names.
Most programmatic travel advertising pushes a generic price-based offer. However, this simply encourages consumers to use an OTA to compare prices. A much more clever solution would be to use data and creative to compete on more than just price, and drive more direct bookings.
So when a consumer is looking at a holiday, flight, hotel, car hire etc option they should have a strong incentive to book direct, even if it’s not the cheapest price, because of other benefits unavailable via the OTA.
2) Pushing offers for peak times
In ecommerce, supply is often viewed as being unlimited. So programmatic algorithms try to drum up more demand for the most popular goods and services. But in the travel world this can be counterproductive.
At peak times providers can run out of flights, hotel rooms and car hire opportunities. So pushing offers at consumers who want to book at times of limited availability is poor use of valuable marketing budget.
Instead, data and creative needs to take account of likely booking dates and availability and steer consumers towards offers that are of the most value to the travel companies. For example:
- Nudge users from highly subscribed offers to offers that have more value for the advertiser. Either in a different location or on a different date.
- Use compelling copy to push under-subscribed offers. Perhaps focusing on value, flexibility, undiscovered gems and up and coming locations.
- Target consumers who will be available for under-subscribed offers and dates – such as focusing on customers that can travel outside the school holidays.
- Stop targeting consumers who are only interested in products that always sell out.
3) Not properly understanding seasonality
All market sectors have seasonality factors that affect both consumer behaviour conversion rates. However travel seasonality is of a different magnitude to retail ecommerce, and it’s not adequately handled in most programmatic campaigns.
For families with school age children, annual holidays are only possible during school holidays, so demand outside those windows effectively falls to zero for those consumers. Equally consumers looking to travel for different events like festivals or cultural events have very specific needs that massively affect bookings at certain times. Traditional summer holidays and skiing holidays have their booking windows too.
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- How to get retargeting right
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- Why travel marketers need to get their creative right
- How programmatic, data and create can solve travel challenges
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- How you can get more from your digital budget
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budget in 2018.