The practical guide to social ads for travel marketing

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Nerea Boada

The Travel and tourism market is already the fourth in terms of the most followed on social media (after technology, communication media and beauty), and this trend shows no signs of dying out.

It really isn’t surprising when we see that, according to the Social Time, 76% of social media users publish posts and photos related to vacations.

Social networks are, without a doubt, a place where your potential clients are open to listening and receiving anything to do with travel.

Which is why, I would like to share this practical guide to social ads for travel marketing.


A new consumer profile: the multitraveller

The first thing we need to realize is that conventional segmentation strategies may not be so useful when advertising the travel market on social media. Travellers nowadays want as much variety as possible in their travel experiences.

Today, they may be looking for a wild, backpacking adventure through Norway in search of the Northern lights, and tomorrow for a full spa resort for a romantic getaway in Paris.

Which is why, in this market, we need to be especially careful when filtering all the information provided by big data for our campaigns.

We should know how long in advance different kinds of trips are planned. And how to cross this information with recent behavior patterns to know how to offer our users exactly what they need, exactly when they need it.

The new online travelling patterns

Although they may be looking for an entire range of experiences, new online travellers have some very important characteristics in common. These three behavior patterns will help direct your social ads campaigns.

1) “Lowxury”: the affordable luxury

The lowcost phenomenon, which boomed due to years of economic crisis, left its mark on travellers’ way of thinking, and on what they search for when planning their holidays. There is a very significant portion of them who are not content with the bare minimum, but who are also not willing to empty their pockets: they want luxury experiences, for prices that adjust to their means.

2) The revolution of technological devices

A consumer in the travel industry is barely recognizable compared to one 10 years ago. Today, travellers are permanently online and connected, sharing their travel experiences in real time with their networks. They also know that they have a whole world of options to chose from, and want to make the best choice they can, meaning they are constantly researching their options from different devices.

3) The reign of the reviews

And when it comes to investigating destinations and travel options, other travellers’ opinions are extremely influential.

Over the past few years, we have seen all kinds of review websites and mobile apps, which can shoot a travel business down, or drive it straight to success.

Years ago, travellers based themselves on word of mouth, magazine recommendations or the judgement of travel agencies, but the power is now in the hands of the consumer... and they do not hesitate in using it.

The result is that different businesses in the travel industry (such as hotels, excursion agencies, restaurants, landmarks, etc.) are increasingly more concerned with travellers’ opinions and reviews, paying more attention than ever before to customer service and a traveller’s experience.

Many businesses have used this trend for their social ads campaigns, encouraging satisfied users to leave their reviews.

Winning techniques for travel marketing on social media

1) Multimedia content marketing

The travel sector is one of those that can benefit most from content marketing. Users adore sharing interesting lists about monuments, the must-see places in that city, or the best places to eat in another. To make the most of this trend, use social media to promote your content and attract users to your website to finalize their purchase.

And if you really want to make the most of it, use multimedia content to generate engagement. Just text is no longer enough, in fact, video ads are one of this years big trends.

2) Social Selling

We have gone from using social media as a platform to promote content or for customer service, to considering it a direct selling place. Both Facebook and Twitter have introduced a specific “Purchase” button that allows users to directly book their vacations.

This is, beyond any shadow of a doubt, a great opportunity for brands in the travel industry to improve their conversion rates.

3) Social Ads

Social Ads are one of the most profitable and potential digital marketing formats or our age.

These small ads make the most of all the information users share on social media to offer them content as highly personalized as possible, and, as such, conversion opportunities.

For your social ads campaigns to be successful, you should use these ads wisely, to be able to stand out amidst an endless sea of advertising.

In just one day over 500 million tweets are shared, and over 300.000 photos a minute on Facebook, meaning your images, copies and segmentation choices all have to work together to make your ad stand out as much as possible.

4) Travel communities

Last but not least, if you want to triumph in this sector with advertising on social media, you mustn’t forget all the communities and profiles designed especially for travellers. The possibilities are endless, from families interested in travelling with kids to gourmet backpackers, ranging through all destinations and budgets.

It is a great place to keep in touch with your potential users and build a trust-based relationship.

If you do decide to go down this road, you should know that Instagram and Facebook are the networks with most potential to share videos, content and images.


Nerea Boada



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