Travel Brands: Holiday Marketing Best Practices

Posted by

The rush between Black Friday and Cyber Monday isn’t just about consumer goods—it’s also about gifting experiences for loved onesa trend of which travel marketers should take note.

Gifts aside, the holiday season is also one of the most popular times of the year to travel as consumers around the world are looking to visit loved ones or treat themselves to a holiday.

According to the United States Department of Transportation, travel to a destination 50 miles or more away increased by 54% over Thanksgiving weekend and only by 23% during Christmas and New Year’s in 2017.

It’s not just the US, there were 39.2 million visits by overseas residents to the UK in 2017, 4% more than in 2016 according to the Office for National Statistics.

Whether or not you’re looking to sell gifts or travel packages this holiday season, you’ll need to meet those consumers online.

This holiday season, we’ve taken a deep dive into the planning and executing on digital marketing campaigns for the travel industry. Check out our insights on building the best campaign and targeting tactics.

Download the Ultimate Holiday Marketing Playbook

Building the best travel ads is a matter of movement and people.

From video ads to sponsored content, we see colorful images and videos of people performing best no matter the category.

For video campaigns, focus on specific actions, whereas for sponsored content and social media ads, colors and the lack of photo props are what’s important for performance.

Video campaigns: keep your subjects moving.

Physical activity drives the best performance from video branding campaigns. This is great news for travel marketers, for whom it’s easy to keep video subjects moving in beautiful settings.

We analyzed the top 2,000 video campaigns on the open web based on two key metrics—viewability and completion rate. We mapped actions in three categories to see where the highest opportunity for travel marketers is this holiday season: physical activity, vocal activity, and general activity.

travel holiday marketing (1)

Going beyond the creative, here’s how travel videos can soar:

  • Keep your videos between 15 seconds and 1 minute long
  • Include your logo on-screen for better brand recall
  • Include subtitles if needed to optimize for sound-off
  • Include and overlay for better CTR
  • …Or an end card to drive traffic from people who have finished your video
  • Finally, Test three video creatives for the best optimization

Sponsored content: keep your images close-up and colorful.

The images that drive the highest click-through-rate (CTR) for travel brands this holiday season are taken close up and are colorful. We’re also seeing a spike in the performance of illustration as opposed to photos, which is something to test.

travel holiday marketing (2)

travel holiday marketing (3)

travel holiday marketing (4)

We also analyzed the top keywords to use in your sponsored content headlines and creatives. Keywords like “dangerous,” “destinations,” and “world’s” can increase CTR by up to 101%.

Download the Ultimate Holiday Marketing Playbook

Targeting: consumers want travel content on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and other insights.

After you’ve built the most enticing creative possible, you’ll need to focus on meeting consumers at the best time while they’re shopping online.

Time is of the essence – here’s when travel marketers can find their consumers and audience this holiday season.

Opportunity is defined at the intersection of supply and demand. We define supply as the amount marketers are spending to promote content and products, and demand as the CTR on that content.

Here’s what we found:

You’re most likely to reach travel consumers on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

travel holiday marketing 5

The entire month of December should be a big focus for travel marketers.

travel holiday marketing 6

Some final tips—try testing campaigns specifically for tablet devices, as well as promoting landing pages that host photo galleries. We see high opportunity for these device and landing page types.

Finally, we’ll leave you with a little inspiration.

These brands have found success with their creative advertising campaigns on the open web—check out how Secret Escapes, TUI Group’s Passenger 6A, and the DR Ministry of Tourism have seen recent success.

Secret Escapes

Check out how this popular travel site increased CTR on their campaigns by 288%.

travel holiday marketing (7)

TUI Group’s Passenger 6A

This global travel site is booked 600 overnights in just a short period when they included discovery campaigns.

travel holiday marketing 8

DR Ministry of Tourism

Consumers showed an increase of 19% brand favorability after this tourism group’s video campaign.

travel holiday marketing 9

As you test out different targeting and creative tactics for the holidays, keep in mind that refreshing your creatives will be key. Try new tactics if you start to see fatigue in your online audience.

The holiday season is a time for sharing, giving, and fun, which is exactly what you should be aiming for with your holiday campaigns—give customers and fans the chance to be a part of the action.

Download the Ultimate Holiday Marketing Playbook