The value of data in uncertain times for travel advertisers

Elena Isasi

Dubai Skyline

During the pandemic, how can Destination Marketing Organizations ensure their campaigns are successful in rebuilding travel?

Originally published in NewDigitalAge

Due to COVID-19 lockdowns and travel restrictions, travel marketing has become much more complex.

By observing our travel agency partners’ online search data, we learned that UK consumers were still searching for travel in December 2020 after a lockdown was declared. In fact, daily search volumes for the Canary Islands were on average 129% higher than in October.

However, the needs and wants of global travelers are very different than before, and driven by passenger experience, as well as the uncertainty of changing restrictions and regulations.

Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs) currently face three challenges:

  • How to instill trust in their destinations
  • How to stimulate and grow demand for their destination
  • How to keep travelers informed and excited about their future travels

Data and technology

The combination of data and technology offers the travel industry a key tool to respond to these challenges.

Using AI profiling, we can turn large data sets – when people search for travel and when they hope to book – into meaningful insights, which can help destination marketers successfully target and display ads to the right consumers at the right time.

In April 2020 we launched our ‘Greece From Home’ campaign — a project for Greek National Tourism Organization — in partnership with DMO Marketing Greece. Our goal was to nurture the desire for Greek holidays, which was crucial in a country where tourism makes up a quarter of the economy.

Firstly, we used AI to flag travelers from Germany and Austria as highly interested in travel to Greece. Then, Marketing Greece targeted them with inspirational advertising. It included imagery of Greece’s natural beauty, blogs on its unique cultural heritage, and YouTube videos on Greek cuisine; pairing these with ‘stay home’ and ‘stay safe’ messaging. Finally, when restrictions eased up in June, travelers were encouraged to turn their interest into a booking with a new ‘Endless Greek Summer’ campaign.

Our team worked with Marketing Greece weekly to ensure that the latest data intelligence was feeding this highly targeted campaign. This led to phenomenal results.

By the end of July 2020, Greece saw a 25% lift in market share, compared to other Southern European destinations. The campaign targeting resulted in 43% of targeted travelers booking a trip to Greece within two days of seeing the advertising outreach.

We believe in everyone’s innate love of travel. So as the industry explores new ways to recover, we are committed to working together with our customers, partners, and the wider industry to rethink travel and inspire travelers.