Want to get away? If so, you aren’t alone. Spring is the time of year when many people start researching and booking their summer travel plans.
People are already searching for cheap travel deals, family vacation ideas, flights, hotels, or their favorite theme park or cruise line. And advertisers are ready:
And competition will be higher than ever this year. The travel and hospitality industry has grown substantially over the past decade (as in, from $500 billion in gross bookings throughout the US to $800 billion), and it’s still growing. So how can you win over consumers?
Here are 10 ideas to improve your travel marketing strategy using PPC this year.
According to Google research, 55% of leisure travelers go on just one or two trips a year. But they do a lot of research before booking those trips.
Every month, millions of people are searching using a variety of travel keywords. As Bing research found during a recent six-month period:
And many of those people are buying:
Travel Marketing Tip: Many travel consumers plan far ahead. Make sure you have offers that appeal to people who are ready to book long before they travel, as well as last-minute travelers.
Wouldn’t it be great if someone did a search on a travel keyword, saw your paid search ad, clicked, and immediately converted? Unfortunately, today’s customer journey is often far more complex.
In fact, as detailed by Think With Google, one person can have hundreds of interactions with brands while researching their travel. In one case, a woman named Amy did 34 searches, watched five videos, and visited 380 web pages while researching her trip to Disney World.
Google identified four key moments where you need to win over travelers:
Travel Marketing Tip: People are thinking about and researching trips all the time. Think about all the key moments that you can influence during the customer’s journey that will ultimately lead to a conversion.
The demographics of the customers you want to reach should be your first consideration. Who are they?
For example, we know from the same Bing travel industry research that women conduct 68% of [family vacation ideas] searches and account for 69% of clicks. In fact, women account for 59% of all travel-related searches and 62% of clicks.
Bing also broke down the percentage of family travel searches by age group:
Based on this research, if your target market is family travel, we know that we want to primarily target women between the ages of 35 to 49. Your demographics will vary, obviously, depending on your goals and target audience.
Travel Marketing Tip: Write from the perspective of buyer personas to create emotional ads that speak to your target market to get more people to click and convert.
Once you know who you’re targeting, it’s time to focus on what this audience wants.
For example, the biggest [vacation ideas] search trends, according to Bing’s research, include all-inclusive resorts, family-friendly vacations, and cheap vacations.
Here are more trending searches in this space:
Our persona is continuing to take shape. We know she is between the ages of 35 to 49 and wants to find ideas for a cheap summer family vacation.
Travel Marketing Tip: Make sure your offer clearly tells people that you have what they want or need for their trip. That could mean tailoring your messaging for people who need affordable deals, want an all-inclusive resort, or are seeking outdoor activities.
Summer is a great time to go on road trips and cruises, head to national and state parks or amusement and theme parks, or visit international destinations.
Via New Old Stock
Where are the 42% of Americans who plan to take a vacation this year planning to go? American Express identified a few key travel trends.
For one, people will be heading to beaches and other warm weather destinations. Popular international destinations include:
Top destinations in the U.S. include Savannah, Georgia, and Washington, D.C.
New Zealand and Singapore are also popular travel destination this year.
Travel Marketing Tip: Now we’re past the ideas and inspiration stage. People know where they want to go, which means they have higher purchase intent. So get them there – push your hard offers and deals.
People are switching between mobile and desktop. In general, most mobile travel searchers are looking for ideas and to compare prices, while the majority of desktop travel searchers are ready (or nearly ready) to purchase or book a reservation.
Although people are primarily searching for travel on mobile, Google’s research found that 75% of travelers ended up purchasing on a desktop or laptop. (A different Google study said 90% of bookings happen on desktop.) Nearly two-thirds of people double-check flight prices and half double-check hotel prices on a computer after shopping on a smartphone.
Travel Marketing Tip: Target your campaigns for the right audience on the right device. Your mobile ad copy should inspire travelers and generate demand, which you can later convert via your offers on desktop.
Now is the best time to start winning the hearts, minds, and wallets of consumers. Specifically: spring time.
Search volume for [vacation ideas] peaks in April, according to Bing’s travel research. But search demand varies depending on where people want to head for their travel:
Travel Marketing Tip: Make sure you have a strategy that keeps you visible during your most valuable season. If consumers don’t know you or can’t easily find you, they can’t buy from you.
Search ads are great for harvesting existing demand. But you can also create new demand, using Facebook ads.
Here’s how it works on Facebook, according to WordStream founder Larry Kim:
Travel Marketing Tip: Use Facebook ads now to drive interest and generate the brand affinity you’ll need later to drive more searches, more clicks, and higher conversion rates.
Bidding on your brand terms means more clicks for you and fewer clicks on your competitors. Even if you have great organic search visibility, there’s a chance that people could click on and buy from your competitor if you aren’t running PPC ads.
You can see up to a 44% lift in incremental paid and organic clicks when you bid on your own brand terms. Bing Ads goes into this in detail in its Brand Term Bidding study.
Brand terms are incredibly important for theme parks and cruise lines, as the Bing travel study pointed out. Check out the top branded searches for theme parks:
And for cruises:
Travel Marketing Tip: It was previously suggested in 5 Data-Driven Travel Marketing Tips here on the WordStream blog, and it’s worth repeating: Bid aggressively on brand terms to make sure you maximize your visibility in the SERPs.
If we know a customer’s journey can include dozens of searches and visits to hundreds of web pages, then remarketing can be your most valuable weapon. Remarketing ensures that one interaction someone has with your brand isn’t the only interaction.
As WordStream has shown in the past, remarketing is incredibly valuable.
People who know and like your brand will be more receptive to your future messaging, and they’re also more likely to convert. Conversion rates are 2x-3x higher for repeat visitors than first-time visitors:
Travel Marketing Tip: The travel purchase cycle can be a long and winding road. Use remarketing to make sure consumers can always find their way back to you.
See other posts by Danny Goodwin
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