How First-Party Data Can Drive a Comeback for Local Travel

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The Covid-19 pandemic has brought travel and tourism to a near-standstill — but a new journey is about to happen. States are opening up restrictions, and travel options are becoming available. Although some are already booking future dates for cruises and air travel, the short-term travel trend will be centered on local travel.

Long live the road trip. Experts predict that people will largely look to visit domestic and drivable destinations because of new health and economic concerns. We’ll see more three- and four-day trips because of finances, work pressures, safety concerns, and changing school schedules. That said, travel companies, hotels, and CVBs are now considering reinvesting in marketing to local audiences. It’s time to hit the gas at this first sign of recovery.

Marketers have to think about geo-optimization because there may be pockets of travel in certain regions and an opportunity to be more fine-tuned. Larger brands that do national advertising may miss an opportunity to be more targeted on a regional basis.

History shows that those able to market smartly through a crisis come out better for it on the other side. Using a data-driven marketing strategy is what can lead marketers to more positive outcomes.

Using first-party data overlays across channels such as OTT, social, and podcasts can have many advantages for travel campaigns, including:

  • Focus on the individual traveler rather than the channel
  • Build a custom audience of travel enthusiasts with a deterministic ID
  • Access to millions of consumers and targeting selects (demographics, psychographics, and transactional data)

The most important attribute of a first-party data-driven campaign is that marketers can close the attribution loop by matching their client conversions to the campaign. They now have the data to make better decisions about which channels performed better.

Fine-tuning a marketing strategy for travel brands is no easy task in these times. Budgets need to be adjusted, media options need to be analyzed, and most importantly, messaging needs to be on point. It is paramount for brands to continue communicating right now—to maintain awareness, establish trust and loyalty, and foster a sense of community. When travelers are ready to book again, you want your brand to be top of mind.

With summer ahead of us, timing and approach will be instrumental in capturing the attention of the weary consumers longing to get away.

Jackie Graziano is VP of marketing at MediaMax.