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The latest digital advertising trends for savvy travel brands

June 30, 2016

School’s out for summer and – here in Chicago – that means the bus wraps and Union Station takeovers that for months have beckoned us city dwellers to wide open spaces like Colorado and Wyoming will be joined by larger-than-life, Out-of-Home tactics designed to inspire a family trip to a local attraction.

Colorful MSI bus shelter


Out of Home remains a strong brand awareness play for Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs) and tourism attractions alike, and savvy travel brands are leveraging their Out-of-Home investments even further by building virtual geo-fences around their bus shelters and billboards in order to deliver mobile content to those consumers physically standing near their advertising.

This is cross-channel integration at its best, using digital advertising in conjunction with traditional to create multiple touch points in order to inspire a consumer to book a ticket or a trip.  

What are some of the other ways that savvy travel brands are inspiring visitation?

  • Personalizing the consumer journey

    – The goal of travel brands is to inspire a physical journey, and with more and more data available to better track a consumer’s path from inspiration to booking to actual travel, brands are now mining the consumer journey to learn more about their audience and to deliver personalized content at the right time and in the right place across multiple devices. Taking the time to learn the when and the why that inspires a consumer to book a trip to a given destination allows travel brands to then create lookalike audiences with content and messaging that resonates with these qualified consumers.

  • Emphasizing segmentation over demographics

    – The more that travel brands learn about the consumer journey, the more they learn about who their consumer really is. That means going beyond targeting women age 25-54 with household incomes over $75K. Yes, women are still the primary decision makers when it comes to actually booking a trip or buying museum tickets for the family. But travel brands are now going a step further and identifying her interests, her motivations, her travel habits and, therefore, learning so much more about the true target market. Armed with that knowledge, brands can develop the right advertising content and even the right itineraries or exhibits to engage the consumer once she arrives at her destination.

  • Embracing the six-second video

    – It’s a challenge to get all of a brand’s content and message in a :15-second pre-roll video and it’s going to get even more challenging because  today’s consumers will give you just about seven seconds to impress. And with the rise in popularity of messaging apps (SnapChat recently surpassed Twitter in number of daily users), more and more travel brands are turning to content that is short but sweet to reach their target market.  

  • Virtual Reality –

    At the IPW tourism conference in New Orleans, attendees enjoyed a virtual tour of California. The Visit Alton Convention and Visitors Bureau recently hosted a virtual downtown walking tour with a local reporter. The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority transported revelers at the LA Pride Musical Festival to the Vegas strip. Virtual reality allows would-be travelers to get an authentic glimpse of a destination and travel brands are banking that one glimpse will inspire a real-deal trip.