From the MNTN Slack – Travel Advertisers Need to Zig

Get a fly on the wall perspective as the SteelHouse team discusses how travel marketers need to navigate the recovery

From the MNTN Slack – Travel Advertisers Need to Zig

4 Min Read

The world is getting closer to reopening, and that means eager travel shoppers are looking to book flights, hotels, and adventures. So what does that mean for the travel advertisers who have been waiting for this moment? Our team discussed the potential strategies and pitfalls in the MNTN Slack news room:

Tim.Edmundson (Director, Content Marketing) – Travel recovery incoming! You have to imagine travel advertisers are losing their minds over the opportunity to book major business this summer…

Ali.Haeri (VP, Marketing) – Absolutely. I’d be feeling some anxiety as a travel advertiser right now: you know there’s about to be a tidal wave of travel that’s about to happen and you need to marshal your advertising resources in the most immediate and impactful way possible. What do you do?

Ali.Haeri – I’m sure search and social advertising is skyrocketing for that segment right now since advertisers tend to stick to what they’ve been doing for a long time.

Hooman.Javidan.Nejad (Director, Performance Marketing) – Every performance marketer is going to rely on search and social. CPM is going to eventually be back at high levels, and there is nothing exciting about those channels right now. Forward thinking performance marketers will take advantage of new performance channel opportunities. 

Hooman.Javidan.Nejad – I believe in “zig when others zag” as a great approach and this is definitely a time for it.

Tim.Edmundson – Speaking of rising social CPMs – it’s already happening now – so I imagine you’re right @Hooman. It’s going to get pretty damn crowded on social. 

Tim.Edmundson – The article linked above says it “could be an expensive summer” for advertisers – I’m willing to bet that’s a sure thing versus a possibility when it comes to travel.  It’ll be supremely competitive since advertisers in that vertical have been counting the days where they can ramp up their revenues again.

Hooman.Javidan.Nejad – @Ali If I were a travel advertiser, my focus for now would be travelers on the upper funnel who are planning to travel once they get vaccinated. I would use relevant messaging and targeting criteria to reach them. If you can make that connection and match their mindset once they are ready to book, you’re in great shape. Video is the strongest medium to create that kind of impact. At the end of the day if a picture is worth a thousand words, a video ad is worth a million.

Editor’s note: Hooman then used the “sunglasses” emoji to really help convey his point, but sadly our blog doesn’t support it.

Tim.Edmundson – Yeah this is a good opportunity for travel advertisers to branch into Connected TV – engaging video ad creative, good targeting and measurement, streaming TV viewership is at all time highs – prepare yourself for an onslaught of travel ads while you’re streaming these next couple months.

Ali.Haeri – If only there was some sort of advertising solution that would be perfect for that…

Tim.Edmundson – Slightly related: oddly enough there’s some feeling in the travel industry that they won’t need to market aggressively – saw this quote from an exec at a major airline “Travel is recovering pretty quickly. I don’t know if we’ll need to market very strongly in the summer.”

Hooman.Javidan.Nejad – That’s pretty odd and potentially a blind spot. Travel and hospitality obviously do not need to discount their services in the upcoming summer as much as they did in 2020 and maybe that’s what she meant when she said “In 2020 we ran a lot of promotions…”. 

Hooman.Javidan.Nejad – However, arguing we do not need to market very strongly in the summer because there will be demand does not sound like the right move. Travel and hospitality is a very competitive industry. There will be savvy marketers with a game plan to attract the increase in demand we’re seeing. Sitting there doing nothing and assuming the higher demand will attract business by itself can be a major pitfall. This is one of those opportunities where brands with the right mindset will market even stronger than before to attract the higher demand and increase their market share.