Creating travel advertising that converts isn’t simple. Yet, with the right strategy and the right advertising technologies it is now easier to produce than it has ever been.
In this blog we identify seven barriers as to why travel advertisers struggle to produce exceptional travel advertising. We also suggest solutions to how travel brands can produce outstanding display campaigns that convert.
1. Pain: Not speaking the language of the customer
For global travel brands, being able to produce campaigns for different markets is essential for connecting to audiences. Key to this, is the coordination of creative translations and the maintaining of a particular tone.
Failure to tailor design and copy leads to missed opportunities at best. And in the worst cases, humiliating faux pas, and issues of brand safety.
Solution: How Mastercard connected with viewers, across markets
Programmatic ads and with added emotion
The question for Mastercard was how do you maintain return of investment in programmatic advertising once results start to tail off? Putting the ads in front of the right viewer is one thing but they discovered there was something else missing: its ads no longer spoke to viewers.
Mastercard changed its tactics and added an emotional tone its advertising. Applying data to make fast decisions about what was important to customers and match that with the best creative. Mastercard remembered to reach viewers hearts, not just their heads. If you serve ads just serving discounts and deals, people get blind.
2. Pain: Maintaining brand identity is difficult to execute
Another, pain for many marketing teams, is maintaining control over brand identity. Indeed, it is often a primary factor for moving advertising in-house. Issues surrounding fonts and positioning of brand elements are common among global brands.
For example, something as simple as standardising logotypes, placement, and sizing are barriers to creativity in display advertising. Small issues take too long to solve and correct, impacting workflows and campaign production times.
Solution: How Lonely Planet took control of its in-house advertising
Creative management platforms solve productions issues
For the Client Services team at Lonely Planet maintaining their brand identity as well as that of their clients is a key consideration. To do this effectively and reduce production times they use a CMP.
Moreover, for Lonely Planet file size – often a concern when building rich media ads – is no longer an issue. While, the building of optimised HTML5 responsive banner ads is further aided by an ad builder, which automatically adjusts image sizes and comes preloaded with brand guidelines. Providing another neat way to save kilobytes and scale ad production efficiently.
Plus, if there is a problem with any published banner ad this can be rectified in real-time.
3. Pain: Using dynamic content is a distant dream
Truly effective and engaging dynamic content is the holy grail of the travel industry. Yet, making use of customer data and creating relevant advertising is something the industry must improve.
In fact, an understanding of what it is and how best to use it is sometimes lacking. This means avoiding using dynamic ads (and DCO) and thus failing to reach consumers with the right message, at the right place, and at the right time.
Solution: How dynamic pricing lifted Korean Air
Dynamic ads offer tantalising possibilities
Interestingly, Air travel brands have been at the forefront of dynamic advertising – harnessing data and audience targeting technologies to produce personalised ads.
Korean Air uses audience targeting to know when to reach viewers at key times when they’re ready to purchase. Relevant offers and dynamic pricing are then injected into dynamic display ads which show the best prices.
This type of automation for travel brands is easier for some brands. Indeed, airlines can display ads based on flight history and loyalty programmes.
4. Pain: Non-localised or irrelevant advertising
Without the power of dynamic content, brands find it difficult and time consuming to both differentiate and localise content. For example, one ad will neither be respectful – nor relevant – for French, Flemish, or German Belgians.
Being able to adjust and control copy, creative, language is now a minimum expectation for consumers of digital advertisers. Fail to do this and you will fail to produce hyper-relevant advertising that converts.
Solution: How Iberia become more sophisticated with personalised offers
DCO offers in-house sophistication
Running a short campaign in Spain, it used DCO technologies to target and serve ads to specific viewers who had been recommended to it via fellow viewers. Using data feeds, it presented an appropriate destination, the name, call to action, and translated copy for the individual targeted.
DCO offers both localsation and personalisation by having the right offer, for the right viewer, at the right moment. Being able to use customer data in an appropriate way is key for any successful DCO powered campaign.
5. Pain: Unoptimised and non-transparent media-buying
Without optimised media buying your campaigns are dead. Indeed, best practices differ depending on whether you’re running a brand awareness or direct response campaign. Yet, the truth remains: having clear, refinable process aids ROI significantly.
By taking media-buying in-house – and by-passing an agency – teams gain the ability to control and optimise their media-buying processes.
Solution: Transparent in-house media buying helps Kayak
In-house media buying
Making sure your in-house team has a range of competencies is a challenge. One area that can be particularly tricky is media buying.
Kayak uses its in-house team team to use programmatic technologies to buy media for display and social. But where it excels is in its application of first party data and data collected from searches.
It uses the data to create highly-granular campaigns, which they transparently measure the return of across every single publisher that its bidding on. The bonus this has over a media buying agency is that nothing is unclear or uncertain – all data is clear and ROI figures are exact.
6. Pain: Poor production processes hinder innovation
It’s not just travel brands working with agencies that suffer from inefficient workflows. Poor production processes can be problematic for in-house teams too.
Established brands, online travel agencies (OTAs) and alternative accommodation sites need to adopt an agile marketing strategy. Ways in which brands can avoid these problems is buying using ad tech that allows for innovation and upgrading internal skills.
Solution: Expedia uses a range of video ads across channels
Experiment with a range of video ads
Expedia’s first hand, research proves the importance of digital video – with many consumers genuinely interested in the format. Indeed, Expedia found that 62% of leisure travelers and 74% of business travelers want to see a video before making a final booking decision.
By having the right ad tech and internal skill sets, it is possible for brands – like Expedia – to experiment with a range of video ads across a variety of targeted channels: from in-banner, to outstream, and social media.
7. Pain: Strict design templates prevent innovative creative
There’s a basic formula for all display advertising: beautiful picture, enticing offer, and call to action (CTA). Yet this arrangement is everything that is wrong with display advertising today.
With the right technology, your creative team can make banners exciting – with hyper-relevant offers, animated features, and interactive elements. Today, you simply have to be able create ads that engage and delight consumers but with the creative free-reign your designers crave.
Solution: How GetYourGuide added a search to its ads
HTML5 rich media banners
The message is clear: if your using static banners, STOP! There is another way. Take travel experience website GetYourGuide which added a search feature to its banners. The results? The simple HTML5 “widget” lifted the conversion rate for searches (website searches/ clicks to site) from 0.21% to just over 4%.
And the best bit? Thanks to HTML5 they have the possibilities to experiment further. Producing static ads might be the easy option but it isn’t going to drive traffic like an engaging display ad will.
Travel display advertising is now much easier to produce but the strategies for travel marketers are still complex. Combining these two factors well is often at the heart of producing outstanding travel advertising that converts.
One of the ways travel marketers can do this is by having the right technology at their disposal. For example, creative management platforms are helping more and more travel marketers solve the advertising pains in this blog, plus many more not featured.