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travel marketers should shift Ad dollars online for the summer travel season

Although we have been hearing so much about gas prices and other factors that will affect the upcoming travel season, a recent study reported on by eMarketer, and conducted by AOL, states that “seven in ten families plan to travel once school is out this summer, and 75% plan to make an online reservation for a rental car, air travel or lodging.”  This means good news for those tourism operators who have already placed a good portion of their advertising budgets online.
 

For those who have not allocated dollars for online advertising, I would suggest re-looking at some opportunities now as there is still time to plan and execute online marketing programs in time for the summer booking season.  Traditional media channels require more time to book and prepare material, where online marketing channels can be set up fairly quickly – and can be targeted very specifically to attract consumers who are actively looking to buy.
 

The AOL study, which surveyed 1000 US families with school aged children, also points out that “72% of consumers browsed search engines, 58% went to online booking sites, 26% visited consumer testimonial sites and 19% browsed travel information sites.” 

The opportunity here with economic conditions making it necessary to focus advertising dollars on the most targeted channels, is to use online marketing channels such as paid search advertising (or PPC) with search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and AOL (thanks for the study!) to get in front of an audience who is more likely now than ever to make a purchase online, and is actively using the internet to make their travel decisions.
 

Other opportunities include focussing on search engine optimization (SEO), or understanding what users type into search engines when they are looking for travel information, and making sure that the website has content and meta data to reflect those search terms.  A long term SEO strategy is always recommended and being found as a relevant result in the search engines is critical.    
 

Leveraging positioning or expanding ad placement on popular destination marketing websites like local Visitor Bureau websites, or larger provincial or area specific destination sites is a good idea.  Travel marketers should also put resources and inventory towards pushing packages through online channels and online agencies or intermediaries such as Travelocity.com, Orbitz.com and Expedia.com – with a goal of making sure that there are attractive rates, or unique value propositions available for customers using all online channels to research their travel purchase.
 

The internet is the most targeted advertising channel there is, and it is where travel consumers are looking to plan, and buy travel. A solid Web marketing strategy is something tourism operators need to be focussing attention on.  If you can’t be found in the search engines, on destination websites, testimonial sites and other travel information websites, you will not be visible to your perspective audience.  When correctly used, the internet has the power to reach the right customer, at the right time and at the right price.  

[tags] tourism marketing, destination marketing, seo, sem, search engine marketing, web strategy, travel, hospitality, online marketing, web marketing [/tags]

 

Comments ( 1 )
  • Craig P. says:

    A travel website and business can more than be profitable without advertising. Remarkable service and price yields referrals which are the key to any business. Too bad most people don’t focus on that fact.
    Craig P.

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