Advertising 5 Min Read

How Travel Marketers Can Prepare Their Targeting Strategy for Takeoff

Written by Lauren DeSalvo

In 1994, Travelweb.com emerged as the internet’s first comprehensive catalogue of hotel properties around the world, and soon thereafter it allowed users to make bookings. Ever since then, the travel industry has been in an increasingly accelerated shift to digital — bad news for travel agents, but great news for marketers able to utilize customer data to target the right potential travelers.

Today, we know audience segments such as Business Travelers, Family Vacationers, Adventurers, and the Winter Sports Pursuers all plan their getaways differently. The most successful travel brands find a way to connect with these segments at the different stages of their planning cycle until they’re ready to book their trip. Let’s take a look at what travel marketers can do to maximize the effectiveness of their campaign targeting.

Access 3rd Party Data to Expand Your Options

When it comes to reaching an audience interested in booking a new adventure, 3rd party data provides insights your first party data can’t. SteelHouse has partnered with Oracle and the Oracle Data Cloud to allow advertisers to provide an endless number of travel segments. With all these possibilities at your fingertips, we’ve helped you get started by recommending some segments that we’ve seen perform.

To learn more about how to successfully retarget your site visitors using first party data, read “Retarget Travelers to Take Them On a Trip Back to Your Site.”

Approach: Family Adventure Travelers

  • Segment Name: Family Adventure Travelers
  • Why You Should Use This: These travelers are dedicated to their research, planning their trips three to six months in advance. And as they prefer to vacation during the summer months, it can be easier to target them during the winter and spring when they start their search.

Approach Name: Travel Bargain Hunters

  • Segment Name: Discount Travelers
  • Why You Should Use this: This audience is very broad, as more than 60% of travelers say their budgets are a key factor in their travel plans. But search for deals can be stressful, and 69% of leisure travelers say they worry they’re not finding the best price while booking a trip. Make it easier for them to find your brand by featuring deals and promotions through social content, which more than half of this audience say influenced their decision to convert.

Approach: Business Travelers

  • Segment Name: Work Comes First Travelers
  • Why You Should Use this: Around 92% of Business travelers research their trips over the internet, and out of that number 87% will turn to their mobile device to go online. These travelers are also 3X more likely to book their trip less than three months in advance, and are more likely to travel between January through March and October through December. Other similar segments include “Business & Finance,” and “Business Traveler.”

Approach: Adventurers

  • Segment Name: Getting Off The Grid
  • Why You Should Use this: With the rise of Experiential Travel, many travelers are turning to “off-the-grid” trips that allow them to fully immerse themselves into the culture of a location. Around 54% of travelers plan to participate in an adventure activity on their next trip, and 72% said they would rather spend money on experiences than things.

Approach: National Park Goers

  • Segment Name: National Parks
  • Why You Should Use this: This segment makes up a fair chunk of all travel, and in 2018 the spending in gateway communities of US National Parks was $19.4B. The search demand for National Parks is highest in the spring, peaking in June.

Approach: Beach Vacationers

  • Segment Name: Beach Vacations
  • Why You Should Use this: While travelers will visit beaches all year-round, the search demand for these vacations is highest from the winter months into spring. Take advantage of social to advertise your brand, as 52% of Facebook users said that a friend’s travel photos have inspired their own travel plans.

Approach: Last Minute Planners

  • Segment Name: Traveler Days to Arrival
  • Why You Should Use this: This particular segment has grown significantly over the last two years, with travel-related searches for “tonight” and “today” growing over 150% on mobile. Due to the flexibility of mobile, travelers can take advantage of last-minute booking capabilities, and as such 72% of all mobile bookings made by U.S. travelers happened within a 48-hour window prior to the booking.

Travel Beyond Display Ads to Connected TV

Remember, you’re not just limited to reaching your audience on desktop or mobile. Travel isn’t the only industry to go digital, television has as well. There has been an overwhelming shift of traditional television viewers to Connected TV. With nearly half of adults ages 22-45 watching absolutely no content on traditional TV platforms —  if you’re not considering CTV, you’re missing out.

Read about how SteelHouse helped an industry-leaving travel site book three times higher ROAS with Connected TV when compared to retargeting campaigns.

Effective Targeting is the Key to Winning Travelers

You can have the most compelling messaging ever written for your travel ad, but if the targeting isn’t correct, chances are it will fall on deaf ears. Keep your targeting sharp with the segments we’ve seen lead to success, and your campaigns will be ready to take flight.