Let’s face it, the travel industry has always been competitive, and with the rise of digital marketing, that competition has only intensified. As a result, travel companies now have to be creative, strategic, and quick on their feet with their marketing efforts just to stay in front of the competition.
One of the most effective strategies many companies use today is paid media. Paid media (also known as pay-per-click or PPC) is any form of advertising a company uses to display its message and target its audience. This includes but is not limited to paid search ads, social media ads, display ads, and much more.
But why is paid media important? And why in the travel industry?
Well, glad you asked!!! 👍
But before anything else, you must define your target audience for your travel business. By defining the target audience, the paid media channels will guide and aid in targeting specific demographics, including geographic locations.
When specifying certain age groups, locations, behaviors, and interests, will narrow the target market, creating a personalized experience for the customer, giving the company a competitive edge, and especially, being cost-effective.
In this blog, we’ll look at a few travel companies using paid media and how they’re using them the right way.
1. Discover Corps
Discover Corps is a travel company that offers unforgettable volunteer vacations to the world’s most incredible destinations. Their immersive, small-group experiences and purpose-driven itineraries allow travelers to explore a destination in ways few can.
Discover Corps uses Google Search as part of its integrated paid media strategy. Below are a few examples of how they use it:
Targeting keyword strategy
Discover Corps has used targeted keywords to ensure that its ads are displayed to people searching for volunteer and family vacations. This strategy has helped them to reach their ideal audiences and increase the chances of conversion.
Customized ad messaging
Discover Corps has customized its ad messaging to highlight its unique selling points, such as its commitment to sustainability and providing meaningful travel experiences. Complementing their keyword strategy has helped them differentiate themselves from other competitors and appeal to those who value sustainable travel and cultural immersion.
Effective landing pages
Discover Corps has created effective landing pages specifically designed to convert visitors into new leads. These pages are optimized for keywords and include clear and concise call-to-actions encouraging visitors to request more information or book a trip.
Discover Corps regularly analyzes its Google Search campaigns to identify areas of improvement and make any adjustments accordingly. By doing so, they can maximize their ROI and ensure their ads are as effective as possible.
iXperience started in 2013 as a study abroad coding bootcamp that would bridge the gap between academia and industry. Since then, it’s grown into a global operation that has helped more than 3,000 students accelerate their careers while exploring the world.
iXperience uses Google Display as part of its overall strategy to retarget prospective students interested in their summer abroad program:
Google Display campaigns allow iXperience to maximize its brand traffic by retargeting prospective students who visited its website but didn’t download a guide or start the application process. Using this integrated approach has proven to increase overall conversions and improve cost-per-conversion.
The Google Display Network allows iXperience a wide range of ad placements, including similar websites, mobile apps, and other platforms. Having these placements refined to education-related websites has ensured that the right people see their display ads in the proper context, ultimately driving conversions.
iXperience used eye-catching ad creatives that stood out on the Google Display network. Including images of actual students participating in their programs with a concise, actionable headline and ad copy attracts college students looking for summer education programs abroad.
3. Global Leadership Adventures
Global Leadership Adventures is a travel organization that provides life-changing experiences for high school students that will cultivate a global perspective and open-mindedness, ultimately inspiring them to become great leaders and seek positive change in their own communities.
Global Leadership Adventures has used Google Video Ads (or Youtube) to stand out amongst its rivals and increase its brand awareness and exposure.
GLA has maintained consistent branding across all Google and Youtube Videos. They have established a strong brand identity and built trust with their audience by having similar themes across all boards with a consistent color scheme, logo, and messaging.
Engaging Video Content
GLA has created engaging video content that showcases the impact of its programs and the experience of its participants. Showing the places around the world where they offer volunteer programs and testimonials from past volunteers helps their target audience resonate with them. Ultimately, it inspires them to learn more about GLA’s programs.
High-Quality Content and Optimization
GLA consistently posts high-quality content that attracts and retains subscribers to their Youtube channel. GLA only posts well-produced, engaging, educational, and relevant videos to its audience. GLA also ensures that its channel is optimized to the fullest extent by having a compelling profile image and banner, a clear channel description, and organized content into easy-to-relevant playlists.
Bellroy is an international company that offers stylish, functional, and eco-friendly travel accessories ranging from passport holders to duffel bags. Using sustainable materials like recycled plastics, they are considered a successful B-Corp that strives to solve social and environmental problems.
Bellroy utilizes Facebook Ads to reach like-minded individuals who want to join its mission of caring for the planet.
Customized Ads to Specific Audiences
Bellroy has created customized ads targeting its niche audience of people who want travel products that are good for the environment but still functional. They are using Facebook’s targeting options to reach the right people, with the right message, at the right time.
Engaging Video and Ad Content
Bellroy’s ads are visually appealing and use engaging creative ad copy to catch the eye of their audience and add the ease of their products being linked right in the ad copy itself. Using video and creative messaging, they also demonstrate how their products work and solve a customer’s problem.
Screenshot from Facebook Ads Library, April 2023
In Bellroy’s Facebook Ads, they added the component to link the product with an easy call-to-action of ‘Shop Now’. This type of engagement allows prospective customers to complete the sale on Facebook without even needing to visit the website.
Outsite is a company that offers coliving and coworking spaces for remote workers. By reducing the friction of being a location-independent professional, this company gives a chance to people who want to see cool places, meet interesting people, and do exciting things.
Outsite uses Instagram Ads as a paid media channel of choice and does so by:
Targeting using Travel Destinations
Outsite has used its specific locations in different countries as a targeting option for their ad campaigns. Listing the different travel destinations within their ads allows them to reach people who are more likely to be interested in their services.
Instagram Reels is a relatively new feature that allows companies to create short-form videos with music and other effects. Outsite has been able to leverage Reels by creating engaging and entertaining videos that promote their coliving spaces, showing users what their different locations are like and what to expect from their services. This outlet has been a great way to reach their specific audience and increase their brand awareness.
A good portion of Outsite’s content used for paid media is User-Generated Content (UGC), created by influencers with a following that matches their target audience of remote workers, travel enthusiasts, and digital nomads. Using UGC helps Outsite use visually appealing and informative content and gives their audience a glimpse into the Outsite lifestyle. User-Generated Content also helps leverage the power of storytelling by creating an emotional connection with the audience and increasing the likelihood that they will book a stay at Outsite.
6. MGM Resorts
MGM Resorts is a company that offers luxury hotels and casino experiences in Las Vegas and around the world at other destinations. MGM has successfully used paid media to promote its experience and locations to attract more customers.
One way was using Twitter to promote tweets and incentivizing promotions through giveaways and sweepstakes.
MGM Resorts decided to create brand awareness for their travel company by promoting special deals, events, and other offerings. By creating a buzz for users, the incentive to participate and through sweepstakes with a grand prize trip added leverage through conversational ads and even creating a specific emoji and hashtag to track the involvement.
MGM also used Twitter to amplify its content from different messaging boards and platforms, including blog posts, press releases, updates on the travel industry, and other news. This helped MGM to reach a larger audience that could keep within its website or other channels.
MGM partners with influencers on Twitter to promote their brands, different locations, and other offerings. An example of a specific campaign would be #LiveFromLV by Lifecasting influencers to document their experiences of MGM resorts, resulting in a 14% post-campaign increase in sentiment, 22.7 million impressions, and a total of 641k engagements.
To read the complete case study from Twitter, click here.
Southwest Airlines is a major airline in the United States that offers low-cost flights to a number of domestic and international destinations.
Southwest has successfully used paid media to promote its brand to drive bookings using a variety of tactics:
Pinterest Display Ads
Southwest advertises on Pinterest by using display and carousel ads to target audiences within the popular travel keywords.
For example, when a user searches for “travel” on Pinterest, Southwest’s carousel ads are displayed on the results page with their travel destinations, along with easy call-to-actions.
Screenshot from Pinterest, April 2023
Promoted Pin Campaigns
Connected to its display ads, Southwest promotes its flight deals and packages using its “Wanna Get Away” slogan throughout various pages on Pinterest, targeting those actively searching for travel-related content. By using relevant keywords and targeting specific demographics, Southwest has been able to drive traffic to its website and ultimately increase its bookings.
Southwest Airlines has created several boards on Pinterest that showcase its brand personality, including its commitment to customer service, love for travel, guides, tips, and humor-related content that resonates with its target market.
A well-planned and well-executed paid media strategy is crucial for any company looking to grow and succeed in a highly competitive industry like the travel business. By leveraging targeted messaging and paid media tactics like any of the mentioned channels, your company can also succeed by reaching a wider audience and creating a stronger brand image.
The seven travel companies discussed in this blog have used paid media to promote their brand by taking a strategic approach and utilizing the latest paid media techniques. Because of that, they have been able to stand out amongst their competition and bring in more leads or customers.
Overall, the success of a travel business is closely tied to its ability to effectively use paid media to promote its brand and attract customers. By investing in a paid media strategy, your company too can optimize your business and achieve long-term growth and profitability in the travel industry.