According to a data provided by Google, 70% of travellers have used their smartphones for travel research (Google, 2016) with one out of every two traveller journeys beginning on a mobile device (Booking.com, 2016). Usage is even greater among millennials when you consider 50% of millennial travellers have discovered a new travel company while researching travel on a mobile device (Google, 2016).
For the travel and tourism industry, reaching their audience via mobile is no longer optional. It’s a necessity. And when you consider 30% of mobile searches are related to a location (Google, 2016), it makes sense for companies to invest in a smart, location-based mobile strategy. Here are our top five tips for using geofencing and layered data for travel and tourism companies.
1. Customize by Location. The beauty of mobile advertising is that you can create different messages and creative designs for different types of people, depending on where they are. For example, if you’re trying to drive tourism to Florida in the winter months, you might consider promoting the sand and sun to New Yorkers but focus on activities and attractions for Texans. Having the ability to tailor your message on mobile means you can be more targeted and more strategic.
2. Customers Want Deals. Everyone has an off-season (or off days) when tourism slows down. Hotels are generally cheapest during the week. Cruises are generally cheaper during the shoulder season. Some people don’t have much flexibility in their calendar to take advantage of off-season deals, but for the ones that do, promoting an offer or digital coupon via mobile can peak interest and creates a sense of urgency for customers to get it while they can – without ever logging onto a desktop.
3. Relevance in Real Time. Have you ever heard an ad on the radio for an event that’s already happened? Or saw a commercial in mid-January advertising the “perfect holiday gift”? It’s almost impossible not to experience ad waste in traditional advertising formats. With mobile, campaigns can be customized for a very specific window of time. Trying to capture the “weekend warrior”? Set campaigns to start Thursdays around lunchtime and run it through Friday night when people are most likely to be thinking about weekend plans. This also works well for limited-time offers and last-minute deals. Now you’ve captured attention at the most relevant time for a fraction of the cost.
4. Show and Tell – As the old saying goes, pictures speak louder than words, and using stunning photography to showcase a destination is still the best way to get someone to say, “I want to go to there.” If the image itself isn’t a showstopper, then look for different ways to add animation for eye-catching potential.
5. Start a Relationship – Many travel and tourism brands have created social media communities either on Instagram or Facebook and send regular emails or e-newsletters to keep their most loyal customers coming back again and again. Think of the mobile ad as the “first date” and the social media channel or email signup as the “long-term commitment.” I follow a number of hotels and destinations on social media and every time they post an enticing picture or a vacation special, I’m tempted to book my next trip. If only we all had unlimited dollars and vacation days.