Increase Campaign Performance With Always-On Marketing For Your Destination

Think outside of traditional seasonal advertising with always-on marketing.

September 7, 2023

Travelers are booking all year round, not just during traditional busy seasons. As travel returns to pre-pandemic levels and prices increase, travelers will look to get more for their money by booking during off-peak times. Recently, the high cost of Spring Break travel forced many travelers to rethink their vacation plans and find new dates that fit their budgets.

While it may be tempting to decrease marketing spend due to economic uncertainty, we know that 60% of businesses that increased media spend during the last recession saw improved ROI, according to Gartner. The businesses that increased spending relative to their contingency plans were twice as likely to increase year-over-year profits than brands that either decreased spend or made no changes. This tells us that destination marketers can still capitalize on increased demand—even during unpredictable economic conditions. By thinking outside of traditional seasonal advertising, you can attract travelers year-round with always-on campaigns.

Seasons Are Longer Than You Think

Your destination may be a go-to spot for summer travelers or popular during Christmas, but the reality is that travel intent starts well before they book. Looking at our own seasonality data for Athens and Zurich, most of the year travelers are consistently showing travel intent toward Zurich, and intent towards Athens anywhere from November to August. 

These travelers are arriving in the summer for both Athens and Zurich, with Zurich also seeing large popularity in December. The reality is, travelers are searching well in advance and are in-market throughout the year. Seasons are much longer than you think, making always-on campaigns your best bet to turn intent into bookings.

The Benefits of Always-On Transcend Seasonal Advertising

While your destination may see spikes in visitors, always-on campaigns can increase demand all year long. By targeting travelers who fit your ideal profile, always-on campaigns boost efficiency and maximize your budget because you’re attracting travelers who will bring the most return. When we analyzed average cost per actions (CPAs), we found that always-on campaigns for destinations had a 33% lower CPA than burst media flights. 

In addition to targeting ideal travelers year-round, always-on campaigns can drive performance with better data and insights and make campaign management more efficient. These campaigns capture high-intent users and improve machine learning capabilities, which is why 92% of always-on campaigns with Sojern beat expectations compared to 58% with burst flights. 

Not only that, by pairing first-party data with your always-on strategy, you can use fresh data to identify and activate your most valuable customer segments and create a better ad experience. Because of the improved experience, always-on campaigns can inspire visitors to take action. In fact, we found that always-on campaigns had a 328% higher action rate compared to burst flights, with the action being landing page visits.

When we compared two destinations running different campaigns—Destination A running always-on and Destination B running burst flights—we came across very interesting findings. The always-on campaign ran continuously over the course of a month. It reached high-intent users at the beginning and end, had a 40% lower cost per action (CPA), and generated 60% more conversions. For Destination B, we ran two successive burst campaigns, both lasting 14 days. The campaigns had a significantly longer ramp-up period with no site engagements (actions) driven in the first week of the campaign.

Use Data to Create Nimble, Always-On Campaigns

While you may know the best times of year to attract travelers to your destination, you can use always-on campaigns to understand the types of travelers who will make the most of those events and the best time to reach them. As you’re attracting travelers, your data can show how lead times change depending on how far travelers are going and who the travelers are. For example, our data shows that Spring Break travelers looking to visit Orlando book well in advance the further they are away. A destination marketer can use this information to target international travelers with long-term messaging and then focus on more local travelers as Spring Break nears. 

With always-on marketing, you can build a foundation of customer data and insight, providing visibility into the buying journey that you never had before. When you partner with Sojern, you can enrich your own data with our real-time insights to understand traveler behavior and deliver the right message at the right time. This holistic view of performance allows you to make the right changes to reach travelers anytime throughout the year. 

Want to learn how to get started with–and reap the benefits of–always-on campaigns? Download The Destination Marketer’s Guide to Always-On Marketing.

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