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Smarter Display Advertising for Travel Marketers

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Smarter Display Advertising for Travel Marketers

The 2011 summer travel-booking season is upon us! In fact, we’ve already seen an influx of activity across our wide base of travel clients. What are the hot trends and pitfalls travel marketers need to know about.

Travel marketers have long been early adopters of new ad mediums and tactics. So, when display came on the scene, many of these marketers stood first in line. Over the years, these trailblazers have learned how to get incredible ROI from their display investments. It’s become such a big trend that, in 2010, display spend in the travel market was up almost 40 percent.

Here’s a few reasons for this growth…When it comes to booking travel accommodations online, pictures and imagery say 1,000 words (i.e., A LOT more than the text of a search ad can imply). Besides the appeal of using images to lure in customers, “the offer” can be communicated much more effectively in the display format too. While you can literally spell out “50% off travel” in your search ad — display can make those words pop off the screen with bold colors, eye-catching movement and more.

 

And, don’t forget that display ads reach consumers when they are not searching (the Achilles heel of search ads). Display is the best way to reach customers as they browse their local and national papers, online travel magazines, blogs and more.

Still, some travel marketers get tangled up by display. Let’s take look at some common display hurdles and how to best avoid them.

Making display ads is expensive and I have budget limitations this year…
Instead of starting from scratch with a design firm, consider a partner that offers customizable templates (some may have travel-themed ones already created). These shells have come a long way over the years — offering all the customization a travel company needs to build compelling, branded ads in a short amount of time (especially critical for delivering micro-targeted ads with personalized messages/localized offers simultaneously). Businesses can even get a head start by selecting a template that has historically delivered high CTRs.

Publishers make it too hard to target customers online…
Publishers have their own unique way of allowing advertisers to target customers. Learning and remembering each publisher’s targeting nuances can be difficult and frustrating. DSPs have really come to the rescue here; they guide travel marketers to make the wisest targeting decisions throughout all their publishers in a single, automated framework.

I need to buy across multiple publishers to meet goals and tending to them individually is a nightmare…
Managing publisher buys directly requires time and, oftentimes, a higher buy-in. Instead, consider consolidating all your buys into one system. With this approach you not only save time, but can purchase across a more diverse set of media sources, and frequently at better “group rate” pricing. If the system also enables creative automation and iteration, you can significantly streamline testing across these networks too. (The demand for this kind of consolidated approach to display is growing — Forrester predicts that 30 percent of online ad spend will be done via DSPs next year.)

I lose sleep thinking about missed optimization opportunities (I don’t know what I don’t know)…
Display ads should never be static, but figuring out how to fine-tune them is not an easy task. Instead of individually tracking results and researching new techniques, consolidated systems, like DSPs, help advertisers make improvements by providing automated suggestions. These tips are based on historical and best practice data — valuable information travel marketers typically don’t have time to collect or develop on their own.

Our advice to you comes from experience with a number of premier travel companies that face the same intense competition, thin margins and localization requirements you do. In fact, we’ll be chatting more about how our customers, like Alaska Airlines, San Antonio CVB, Tulepo CVB and more have cleared these obstacles at TravelCom next month. If you want to meet with us at the show, drop us a note at [email protected] Or feel free to give us a call at 206-299-3449.

Posted by Jonah-Kai Hancock on Mar 01, 2011   |   Tweet This |   Email This