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Buying cycles for holiday seekers

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The travel Agenda

All marketing, from paid and organic search to social and PR, is about communicating a message from your brand to individuals who either are or could potentially become a customer. Knowing as much as you can about that customer - what they need, what they respond to, and how they want to receive information - is at the heart of what your message is and how you deliver it. Which ultimately determines how effective that message is.

We’ve highlighted this through the presentation of five buying cycles within the travel sector: beach, city breaks, cruise, safari and skiing.

Through a combination of data insights and strategic tips from our experts, we hope you can see the depth to which your bottom line can be influenced by accurate use of customer data, and how working with such a level of insight makes each user journey unique and nuanced.

We hope you find these insights valuable.

Standing by

When it comes to beach bookings, holiday makers are heavily influenced and inspired by weather, costs and what their family & friends have to say. This audience remain prone to completing their booking through conventional bricks and mortar TA’s.

Insight from the team

With a heavy reliance on Friends & family, use the power of social media to create engaging ads which spark a conversation.
~ Arianne Donoghue, PPC
Allow a user the functionality to save a holiday and lock in a price. Users are likely to conduct their research on mobile before eventually booking on desktop, so ensure your experience and functionality accommodates cross-device use.
~ Emma Travis, CRO
Programmatic Audio allows you to target users when listening to streamed audio, playlists or podcasts, or even creating their own travel or beach playlists. For example, we can target on Spotify by 'mood', genre and specific playlists by theme and name.
~ Emma Ashby, Display

With 83% of this audience starting their journey unsure of where they want to go, this cost averse audience are more inclined to take inspiration from online media including blogs and social media, seeking a break that provides history and culture.

Insight from the team

Getaways are often staggered around special occasions (e.g. Valentine’s) or long weekends - use this to help weight your PPC budgets.
~ Arianne Donoghue, PPC
Map functionality is crucial for city breakers as users are much more influenced of their hotel in relation to local attractions.
~ Emma Travis, CRO
“IF" functions allow you to insert a specific message in your text ad when a condition has been met, and a default text when it has not. e.g. a different ad for returning customers when they are searching (again) in Google for relevant keywords. This is imperative for longer booking cycles.
~ Russell Anson, PPC

Unlike city-breakers, social media and blogs provide little inspiration to cruise bookers. This audience is more susceptible to conventional methods including review sites and brochures, with a surprising percentage claiming they would be likely to complete their purchase over the phone.

Insight from the team

A cruise could be a good option for those who might consider an all-inclusive holiday, so see if that audience engage with cruise content - if so, use sequential messaging within ads to nurture them through the process.
~ Arianne Donoghue, PPC
In this instance, the primary metric is a call, not a booking. We can do A/B testing to increase the prominence of a phone number.
~ Emma Travis, CRO
The demographic data here shows that the consumers in this market are the oldest amongst all 5, with a higher percent being homeowners. Utilising knowledge like this enables you to better informed about where to find your audience.
~ Emma Ashby, Display

A large proportion of this group take inspiration from YouTube and what tour operators have to say. With significantly less emphasis on cost, this audience stay true to form and complete the booking through an Online Travel Agent.

Insight from the team

This is the only segment with a massive skew to female - the others are around 50/50. Adjust your targeting, bids and messaging accordingly.
~ Arianne Donoghue, PPC
A high impact ad unit, possibly including a video, allows you to focus on the experience itself - showcase the experience and bringing the holiday to life.
~ Emma Ashby, Display
In all 5 instances, the Aggregators & OTA’s are the winner when it comes to the final booking. If you want to compete, ensure your UX is seamless and meets the expectations set by the aggregators.
~ Emma Travis, CRO

Our data shows this is the youngest demographic of all our holiday types. Understandably this audience are influenced by climate and temperature, with a surprising percentage of travellers willing to pack up their skies with no pre-booking.

Insight from the team

Driven by the time of year, skiers rely on information around temperature and snow levels to make their decision - if you’ve got this data, use it in your search campaigns via Business Data and ad customisers to help your creative stand out.
~ Arianne Donoghue, PPC
For holidays with a long booking cycle, ensure you’re visible across all stages of that cycle. Creating content to support queries across a customer’s entire journey means that whenever they have a question they’re asking through search, you’re there.
~ Meghan Burton, SEO
Use a real time consumption trends tool to see what users are talking about around certain destinations, brands or broader topics to ensure messaging is relevant.
~ Emma Ashby, Display

Performance

Our Experience

172% increase in net profit

Virgin Holidays

67% increase in revenue

On the Beach

90% increase in new profit

Attraction Tickets Direct

70% increase in conversions

Sykes cottages

172% increase in page visits

Icelolly

ROI doubles

Kempinski - Hoteliers since 1897

64% increase in visibility

MSC Cruises

New brand & website

Leeds Bradford Airport

60% higher sales with same spend

Teletext Holidays

185% increase in revenue

Love Holidays

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