The path to purchase is a buying journey completely unique to the travel industry. And without the data to make informed advertising decisions, the ability to accurately measure campaigns falls flat.
We recently asked more than 600 travel marketers how they navigate challenges like these in State of the Industry: The 2019 Report on Travel Advertising. Here is what travel marketers had to say about how they weigh the effectiveness of their campaigns, and how data can help close the gaps.
Travel Marketers Are Not Satisfied with Their Measurement Methods
Travel marketers rely on multiple metrics to optimize and measure campaign impact—helping them maximize their investment to get the best possible results. But even with the variety of tactics used to measure campaign effectiveness, we found that only 20 percent of travel marketers report that they are very satisfied with their current measurement methods.
Marketers shared traffic to website, cost per booking, and click-through rate (CTR) as the top three metrics used to measure the effectiveness of their marketing investments.
Metrics Travel Marketers Use to Measure Their Ad Effectiveness
Which of the following metrics are you currently using to measure the effectiveness of your marketing investments? (Select all that apply)
Source: Sojern, 2019
“We’ve been working for the past three years to reposition Athens as a year-round destination. Our main objective is to build awareness and enhance the city’s position in the city-trip destinations bucket lists. We have different key performance indicators for each campaign, but overall, we measure on viewers reach and completion rates and, of course, on how the number of visitors increases year-over-year in the off season.”
– Lilian Moschidou Marketing Director, This is Athens & Partners
How can travel marketers effectively reach the right audience with a highly personalized message in the moments that matter?
With the right data.
Harnessing the power of data gives travel marketers the ability to advertise with quality over quantity—more precisely targeting travelers based on their preferences, trip motivation, and where they are on their path to purchase, instead of general demographic data. Marketers can also use technology and data to automate and optimize campaigns in real-time, thus improving campaign performance. And an increasing number of tools and insights allows travel brands to report on the effectiveness of their campaigns beyond traffic to the website or if a customer booked directly—measuring items such as the economic impact a traveler has on a destination or if a traveler converted from the competition.
Utilizing Third Party Data to Close the Gap
With first party data, most brands only see when a customer interacts with them directly—giving them limited visibility into the many other interactions a traveler has along their customer journey.
Today’s most successful travel brands are going beyond what data they already know and asking about what data is left unseen. 61 percent leverage data for the ability to target travelers based on intent and/or where they are in the path to purchase, 60 percent said data gives them better visibility into traveler behavior across websites and apps, and 59 percent activate data to understand where they’re winning or losing customers across the path to purchase.
“We invest in tools and data to supplement our own. When someone is browsing for travel, we don’t always have good first party data—they browse but don’t sign-in, and we can’t personalize if we don’t know who you are. We target on behavioral, but we need to partner with the right people who have good data to supplement what we have to help us get better at this.”
– Brent Bouldin Vice President of Marketing, Media and Customer Acquisition, Choice Hotels International
“By leveraging a combination of first and third party data, we aim to make the data more actionable. The opportunities to overlay this data will unlock new ways to speak to people.”
– Jef Eckart, Vice President of Digital, Carat USA
A complete view of the traveler’s path to purchase gives marketers the ability to target the right traveler in the right place at the right time, ultimately closing the gap so they can more intelligently plan future campaigns and their overall digital strategy without having to rely on a small data set.
To gain a deeper understanding of what metrics travel marketers are using and how they’re implementing data, download State of the Industry: The 2019 Report on Travel Advertising.