And if, after two summer seasons strongly devastated by the Covid-19 crisis, the French have finally had theirs ” vengeance journey “? This appears to be the case. Theorized by McKinsey and already observed in Asia in 2021, this concept refers to the strong and rapid resumption of tourist travel and the change in travel habits following the lifting of health restrictions. In other words, not only do people go on vacation in large numbers, but they do so with different goals.
According to data from the Ministry of Commerce, French outdoor tourism grew by + 24% at the end of April compared to 2019. Better still, it even showed an expected turnover of 30%, again compared to the same period. At the same time, Logis, the leading restaurant-hotelier group in Europe, records an increase in bookings of + 30% and expects a + 30% increase in turnover this year. Finally, according to the European Organization for the Safety of Air Navigation (Eurocontrol), the schedule of medium-haul flights for the coming July and August is identical to that of summer 2019. And for the long haul it is 85% of the pre-Covid level.
Faced with this frenzy of travel and this new search for meaning through the chosen destinations, tourism must necessarily reinvent itself to be better reborn. A stone’s throw from the great start of the summer season, how can players in this sector better target, involve and retain travelers in a market that is still and increasingly competitive?
Programmatic, the powerful ally of tourism for large-scale targeted campaigns
You don’t need to work there to realize how the travel industry brings together a large number of players. Between comparators of air flights, train tickets, hotels and accommodations, all-inclusive or à la carte stays, additional activities (recreational park, visits, etc.), car rentals, travel agencies, tourist offices … these different sub-sectors has its own specificities. Suddenly, in order to plan his next vacation, an Internet user must face a plethora of choices and numerous interactions depending on the sites he visits.
To cope with this historical complexity and to address its objectives in a coherent way, tourism has always been a sector at the forefront of new media technologies. For example, at the beginning of the previous decade, industry professionals were the first to invest massively on SEM channels or social networks.
For some years now, programmatic has become their new workhorse. As early as 2018, a study conducted by the KPMG e-tourism Observatory indicated that programmatic spending accounted for nearly 10% of total spending in the tourism market. We remind you that programmatic is the automation and optimization of advertising space purchases. Depending on the support, the purchase takes place according to a CPM (cost per thousand impressions) whose price varies according to various pre-established criteria such as the profile of the Internet user or geolocation. In tourism, programmatic is a powerful lever because it allows for personalization of messages and better targeting for large-scale campaigns.
However, given the number of actors and their different objectives, it is not possible to define a single programmatic strategy. For example, a low-cost airline and a regional tourist village will not have the same logic at all in terms of media positioning. The same goes for a car rental agency which must instead position itself at the end of the tunnel.
Preparing for a trip is a long cycle, offers can be compared over several weeks and, versatile, Internet users can change their mind at the last moment if they find more interesting offers. Consequently, each player must implement a bespoke programmatic strategy to create entry points at key moments on each sailing route.
Relevance and emotion turn an internet user into a potential traveler
It must be borne in mind that tourism is a very competitive world, some would say almost saturated, in which acquisition costs are constantly increasing. To emerge, your programmatic strategy will find all its legitimacy if it is able to be scripted according to the right KPIs. To achieve consistent communication with travelers, your programmatic marketing strategy must therefore adopt specific formats in which interaction and imagination have their place.
According to a Hootsuite study, the vast majority of internet users watch at least one video in preparation for travel. As with all sectors, therefore, this format has become, not surprisingly, an essential acquisition lever. Of rather short duration, it allows you to create a visual and auditory experience capable of transforming an Internet user into a potential traveler. By offering immersive content in which the human being is at the center of the video, it will be possible to emotionally touch travelers by truly projecting them on the spot. Thanks to its versatility (In-read, In-banner, Pre-roll, Catch-up TV) and its strong creative potential, video is therefore a great way to increase traffic to your site in order to facilitate acquisition of new customers.
In a territorial marketing strategy, audio can also be a way not to be overlooked, especially for developing cultural interest. Travel portrait, intimate meeting with an actor from the region, heritage discoveries… Audio stimulates the imagination thanks to its stories, its stories and its plunges into the secrets of a territory.
Finally, very popular in the travel field, DCO (Dynamic Creative Optimization) advertising is also a format not to be overlooked. These dynamic banners use data, including geolocation and weather, to personalize ads in real time. A digital ad typically consists of images, text, buttons, and a call-to-action (CTA). Thanks to programming, the DCO banner adapts each of these elements to the moment and to the user viewing them. This format is essential to significantly improve the ad rate and conversion on the advertiser’s site.
For example, if the Internet user’s weather forecast is rainy in the next few days, the DCO ad can then create an ad highlighting destinations where the weather is currently sunny. If it has just snowed on a ski resort, ditto, a banner can indicate it by offering accommodation offers. Using geolocation, this format can also offer a Parisian ideas for getaways less than two hours from the capital or even if a person lives in the province, current discounts for an experience or a hotel in Paris. As tourism is an industry where data is abundant and often of high quality, the possibilities for DCO are endless.
Contextual targeting, towards a communication more in line with the new needs of travelers
Despite being passionate about data, tourism is already anticipating, like all sectors, the imminent removal of third-party cookies expected for 2023. Long neglected in favor of an approach based on Internet user behavior, targeting contextual is currently an alternative solution that is making a comeback. With this approach, advertisers deliver targeted advertisements on the editorial content of a site in affinity with the target. According to a 2021 IAB study of contextual advertising, 69% of internet users would be more likely to watch an ad if it is in line with the content they are viewing. To achieve this, contextual targeting focuses on semantics, specific keywords, to deliver offers that are fully compatible with the interests of travelers. For example, an eco-responsible travel agency defines a list of keywords to display articles on the site about ecology, respect for nature, vegan food or even local agriculture.
To set up a contextual targeting strategy, you must first know your target well and precisely define their areas of interest. Hence, an advertiser must carefully define their semantic and geographic targeting based on a granularity that will vary according to their goals.
More than just a palliative for a world without third-party cookies, contextual targeting also allows you to adopt a more respectful communication towards tourists who are increasingly attentive to the environment and pollution, including advertising. Websites with the Digital Ad Trust label will therefore be preferred by advertisers. Launched in 2017, this inter-professional initiative guarantees the quality of a site according to various criteria. For example, if the latter demonstrates Brand Safety, or if the online advertisements are linked to the editorial context. Likewise, this label verifies that the advertising clutter is acceptable and that it is first the content that is presented to the Internet user. Finally, these sites must take a variety of anti-fraud measures to ensure that they always ensure measurable and quality ads. By favoring distribution environments that align with their universes, advertisers will demonstrate brand suitability through a more premium and even more relevant experience.
The health crisis, the end of third-party cookies, the ever-increasing competition, a CSR dimension to be taken into account, travelers looking for more meaning … The tourism sector faces many challenges at the same time situational and structural. To overcome them without too many pitfalls, programmatic marketing at the service of new formats and contextual targeting seem to be excellent ways to follow. At the same time, tourism actors must demonstrate hyper-agility and hyper-flexibility that will shape the contours of a new customer experience.
Created in 2016, Skaze is a trading desk specialized in programmatic advertising able to support advertisers in the tourism sector, and beyond, in the development and management of their tailored marketing strategy.
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