02 Nov

Travel marketing in the digital age

It has become a cliché to refer to the “digital age”, but it’s a fact!

Indeed, few would deny that the modern world we live in has been redefined by technology. Advertising pervades almost every aspect of our lives: from the new and unmissable digital panel located at Piccadilly Circus to the more subtle native content hidden in our favourite news channels.

Recent research conducted by the IPA has found that the average consumer now spends about 7 hours and 56 minutes interacting with different types of media every day - a 13% growth since 2005 - with many reporting that they check their smartphones first thing in the morning and last thing at night. Moreover, 92% of consumers now use two or more media in the same half hour at some point during the week - watching TV whilst using a tablet is an obvious example.

So, to stand out from the crowd (and the competition), fully-integrated multi-channel campaigns are more important than ever, particularly in the travel sector where decisions require a substantial amount of research, inspiration and consideration.

As a result, data analysis and touchpoint attribution are crucial to understanding where marketing spend is deployed most efficiently and most effectively. Let’s look at an example.

Imagine you are running a cross-channel marketing campaign. One morning, you check your analytics to discover that a large proportion of your customers have made bookings in response to your email campaigns. As this channel is delivering the most response, you decide to invest more money.

This seems like the most obvious and logic-based response, but - without touchpoint attribution - it is easy to miss some important insights. After all, although the final conversion was made through email, there were most likely many stages and channels that impacted the booking decision.

For instance, what this data doesn’t show is the initial series of OOH ads that introduced your brand identity, the subsequent radio and TV commercials that informed your customers of a limited time offer or the display retargeting banners that prompted them to act fast and purchase.

Moreover, each of these specific touchpoints all serve their own purpose in driving consumers down the path to purchase. During early stages, brand-building and awareness is key - no-one will be buying from your travel brand if they don’t know it exists. However, during the consideration phase it’s more important to highlight your brand USPs and remind customers of how you outshine your nearest competitors. For travel brands, this could include bespoke “money can’t buy” experiences, outstanding service levels or family-friendly resorts with superb facilities.

In contrast, during the final stages of the purchase journey, where customers may be feeling anxious about making the right decision, it’s time to reassure them of your brand’s trustworthiness and reliability. This can be achieved by something as simple as recapping your company heritage, reiterating your ABTA-credentials or showcasing glowing testimonials.

For travel clients battling to cope with digital transformation, Accord is a marketing agency that combines data profiling and media know-how, innovative technologies and digital best practice to devise and deliver award-winning campaigns.

We will be hosting multiple sessions at ABTA’s upcoming Advanced Travel Marketing Seminar, discussing the importance of performance metrics, understanding the data journey and driving success through conversion rate optimisation. To take control of your digital marketing conversation, this is a must-attend event.