Lead Forensics

Mapping the Perfect Travel Marketing Campaign

04 January 2019

Brands jostling for space within the travel and tourism industry face new and ever-evolving challenges. Navigating seasonally-charged markets, the need for a media strategy that incisively cuts through the noise is more acute than ever.

If you’re a marketing manager for a tourist board, tour operator, travel insurance specialist, or even a retailer of holiday accessories, you’ll know that the window of opportunity is often a narrow one. So, what’s holding your brand back, and how can we help you find the right solution?

Don’t put all your eggs in the digital basket

The online ecosystem has evolved at breakneck speed to become a prime location for brands across all sectors in the last decade. Theoretically, it facilitates more agile media buying, contextually relevant ad positioning and dynamic creatives that boost interaction.

Reality paints a different picture. Indeed, from ad blocking, fraud and non-human traffic, to concerns over transparency, viewability and placements, the flight path for travel brands looking to grow through digital channels is a bumpy one.

The imminent GDPR roll-out is only going to add to this turbulence, with new research indicating that in the UK alone, 75% of data currently held by brands would fail compliance tests. This is a big issue for travel marketers, many of whom rely on such data to guide their digital strategies. In short, whilst every media campaign should feature online channels, a digital-first plan of action is full of risks.

Finding the right travel companions

A great holiday is as much about the people you experience it with as the destination itself. Sure, the weather might be glorious and the food sumptuous, but it’s all tainted if you can’t be your best self around your travel companions. Likewise, brands risk losing out if they cannot find the optimum media mix for their goals and profile.

When it comes to promoting a product or service related to travel, two mediums stand out as the life and soul of a fulfilling journey: TV and out-of-home.

Travel brands love television because of the multi-sensory scope it allows. If you have an enticing holiday deal that you want to sell, the marketing around it should appeal to the consumer’s innate need for escape; the desire to free ourselves from the drudgery of an often grey, concrete environment, the stresses of a pressurised job, and the monotony of the same day-to-day stimuli.

But you know this already – we’re not here to insult your intelligence. What you may not be aware of is the ability to optimise television activity mid-flight with the help of live (fully GDPR compliant) performance data, as demonstrated by our success in driving down the Cost Per Lead for Teletext Holidays by 68%.

You may also be unaware of the capacity for TV advertisers to target audiences by age, interests and other attributes, thanks to a choice of over 300 commercial channels and addressable platforms such as Sky Adsmart?

But if there’s one quality that stands out, it’s that TV advertising compels viewers to engage and explore, with our penchant for dual-screening distinguishing the small screen as a new point-of-sale medium. Just ask our friends at Calypso Sun Care, who experienced a 31% increase in bricks-and-mortar sales and a 34% uplift in web visits off the back of their summer campaign in 2017.

Outshining the competition

Out-of-home, like TV, supplies travel and tourism brands with the platform to engage consumers with eye-catching creatives that drive both online and offline sales.

Like TV, outdoor advertising facilitates flexible planning. Independent advertising agencies like ourselves often eschew Advanced Booking deadlines to book television ads up to two or three days before the campaign launch, giving brands and agency partners room to make changes quickly and respond to new market opportunities. Likewise, digital out-of-home is a nimble brand’s dream, with campaign amendments possible even by the hour. This affords advertisers the agility to optimise their advertising activity in real-time, boost campaign efficiency, and obtain last-minute deals.

And, like TV, outdoor ads can be targeted in terms of location (keen on advertising flights from Newcastle airport in the city centre?) and time (want to promote sun cream on the top ten hottest days of the year?).

Crucially, however, out-of-home advertising also complements TV by reaching lighter television viewers as they’re on the move; be it commuting, shopping or socialising. Used in conjunction with one another, the two can create a sense of scale, prestige and ubiquity; harmonising effectively to create a coherent wider content strategy supplemented by social media, content marketing, video-on-demand and branded SEO activity.

Here comes the sun

Ultimately, different businesses require different media strategies – there is no one-size-fits-all solution. What can be asserted with confidence, however, is that brands in the travel and tourism industry thrive when they balance the mass reach, visually impactful power of TV and outdoor with personalised online touch-points.

With the importance of online reviews, the influence of user-generated content, the ever-growing propensity for mobile bookings, a growing thirst for sustainable tourism, and the inter-generational pursuit of life-changing experiences, the onus is on travel brands to execute media campaigns that combine simple customer purchase journeys, the power of storytelling, credibility and contextual relevance. Tick all of those boxes, and the sun really could be here to stay.

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