Commentary

For Travel Marketers, Timing is the Answer

Seasonality is a venerable concept in travel, but it usually applies to destinations. In general, people will go someplace warm in winter (unless it’s to ski) and someplace cooler in summer. But when are those same travelers actually thinking about — and, more importantly, booking — trips? When should marketers be reaching them?

A native advertising company called Nativo helps provide answers to those questions. It enables distribution and measurement of branded content cross-publication and cross-device at scale with a high level of control and relevancy for brands, according to Yasmeen Coning, senior vice president of marketing.

She said that native advertising works well in the travel vertical, with formats embedded contextually into the page (all digital).

With its technology, Nativo can understand readers’ content consumption habits. “You learn a lot about what kind of content is resonating with people,” said Coning.

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Using that data, Nativo has come up with an infographic titled “5 content consumption habits every travel marketer needs to know” based on the data it gets from the content it publishes. The five habits are:

1} Travel content peaks in November (95% higher vs. the average) and January (18% higher). Tip:  By early spring, consumers have already planned their biggest vacations for the year. Focus on amplifying travel content during the winter season.

2) Travel is a high-involvement purchase where content consumption occurs mainly even between mobile (47%) and desktop (57%). Tip: Share snackable, inspirational content to engage travel “dreamers” on mobile. As they continue to plan on desktop, use display retargeting to guide them to book their vacation.

3} Content consumption on mobile surpasses desktop by 65% in the late fall.  Tip: Leverage in-feed native video advertising for an immediate boost of holiday travel inspiration while consumers are on the go.

4) Content consumption on large news publications is 80% higher during the late fall/winter seasons. Tip: Focus content distribution on large news publications like USA Today and The Los Angeles Times during the winter when consumers are not actively planning travel, but are easily inspired for a winter escape.

5). Content consumption on travel publications is 47% higher during the summer season. Tip: Focus content distribution on travel publications like Fodor’s and Lonely Planet during summer, when last-minute planners are researching travel destinations. 

What all this means to travel marketers, said Coning, is that there is a way for them to see patterns in seasonality — and what kind of messages to program when. It also affects selection of content — perhaps video rather than articles. Coning said one out of three prospective travelers don’t know where they’re going when they start researching, so the research phase is very important.

Also worth noting, said Coning, is that consumers don’t necessarily go to travel verticals to research trips. They might go to the New York Times every day to read the news, then pop over to the travel section. Nativo,  said Coning, sees success in knowing those patterns.

And that peak, late fall period, said Coning, sees a huge uptick in reading general news publications and that’s where marketers should be. One caveat: in niches like skiing, marketers may want to do more messaging three or four months before a season opening.

Bottom line: Whether it’s native advertising or any other marketing tool, it’s critical to be aware of what potential consumers are thinking about — and when.

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