3 ways in which AI can transform your digital marketing in Travel

Whether we like it or not, Generative AI is here, and it is here to stay.

On 30th November 2022 ChatGBT was released and henceforth, to the general public at least, AI was born.

Now, in reality, AI has been around since the 1950s when a program was developed to independently learn and play the game Checkers in order to see if machine could beat a human. Over the following 70+ year period, the development of AI can be perceived to be relatively slow when compared to other computing advancements. What is not slow, however, is how quickly AI burst onto the scene a little over a year ago and quickly became the next bit of technology that is going to significantly change our lives.

AI in Digital Marketing

I don’t know about you, but every time I go onto social media I am inundated with so called ‘experts’ telling me that I should be using this AI app or that AI app. I also cannot read a bit of marketing news without it mentioning AI, recommending the next big advancement or no brainer suggestion on how I should be using it.

It can be overwhelming, and a lot of marketeers, in our experience, still have a general mistrust in handing everything over to a computer.

Due to the large amount of questions we are being asked by our clients on how they can best use AI and which are the best apps to use, we thought it would be useful to get specific and discuss the 3 main areas in which AI can positively impact your digital marketing in travel right now.

How AI Can Make a Positive Impact

  1. Data

Data is only useful if it is actionable.

Digital marketing produces a lot of data, from a lot of sources and in a lot of formats.

I have seen first-hand how it can be a struggle for marketeers to process the amount of data which is being produced from all of their digital marketing campaigns and turn the data into actionable insights to enable them to make better and more informed decisions on where to best spend their marketing dollars.

This struggle is only natural. Faced with all of this data, the human brain can only consciously process up to 40 to 50 bits of information/data every second. Whereas an average computer with an average processor can process up to 1 billion every second.

Whether we like it or not, we are not going to be able to compete with this!

As good as the equations and automations are in Microsoft Excel, we are also quite slow at sorting data and making sense of it. Which is where Generative AI can make a huge difference in digital marketing today.

We recommend you automate the pulling of all the data outputs you are getting and pipelining this data into one place (a data warehouse). Once the data is consolidated it will need to be sorted and correctly labelled so that when you plug in a data analysis Generative AI app it will be able to read the data and you can start asking it to create actionable insights.

This may sound like a complicated task, but it can be done relatively easily by a data scientist who knows what they are doing. Should you need to hire in this expertise to your business then there are many good freelancers available to you globally who can do this for you.

When done well, the result is that you will spend less money on trying to reach your potential buying audience and the performance of your digital marketing campaigns will increase when you do reach them.

If you are just starting out on this journey then it may be wise to use the most established and trusted AI data analysis apps such as ChatGBT, Tableau, and Microsoft Power BI.

Please do not load any sensitive data into any open-source AI app as this will become immediately available to the public. We recommend caution and that you do your homework when choosing your supplier.

  1. Creative

Alongside audiences, ad creative is 50% of the equation when it comes to determining the success of your digital marketing campaigns.

It is that important – but often neglected.

Producing good and effective ad creative is hard.

You have under 3 seconds to grab the attention of your customer before they scroll past you (quality).

And in order to give your brand the best chance of being seen for these 3 seconds (and hopefully longer) you will need to produce a large amount of creatives for multiple platforms and in multiple formats (quantity).

Not only is quality important but you will have to produce great creative in quantity as well.

As a business we are running thousands of ad creatives per day in almost every market in the world. We are finding that a large number of our clients are struggling to produce the required quantity of creative assets in order to give their campaigns the best chance to succeed.

The quality of these creatives is also a challenge. It is often subjective and the opinion of a marketeer which determines the make-up of the ad copy which in our experience can lead to hit or miss creatives being produced.

We see this as a big issue. Only the other day a global brand in the health and beauty sector handed over their creative assets to us and said ‘I know these will struggle to perform but we have been told by the brand team that we have to use them’.

This doesn’t have to be a struggle anymore.

Generative AI can be used today to not only create assets for you, but it is also able to learn why certain creatives perform better than others and iterate more versions of the ads towards the top performing learnings – and it can do this at almost unlimited scale.

Machine learning can also be used to predict and prevent ad fatigue.

Please note that in order to best do all of this you will need to provide the Generative AI tool with a history of ad creatives as well as the performance data connected to these ads. The more ads you provide over the longest period, the better the output you will get.

There are many AI aps out there that you can use to create the ads for you with Adobe being one of the biggest and most advanced.

When it comes to iterations, ad tagging, ad fatigue and benchmarking we use one of our sister agencies (Smart Assets SmartAssets – Better Ad Creatives with AI) who have built a platform which can do all of this in one place.

  1. Ad Optimisation

So, you are running great ad copy, at scale, across multiple platforms, and you are now getting actionable insights into the performance of these campaigns.

The question now becomes: how do you best activate and run your ad campaigns against this copy and insights?

You would be forgiven for thinking this is why programmatic advertising was invented. Programmatic advertising is the use of automated technology for media buying, replacing the more tradition and manual method.

However, in our experience, programmatic media buys still require a lot of human attention and intervention in order to get the best performance out of the campaigns. We also see limitations on where you can advertise to your potential buying audience.

An example of this these limitations is The Trade Desk, which is one of the world’s biggest programmatic ad exchanges, and does not allow for Meta campaigns (as Meta is effectively a walled garden).

Again, this is where Generative AI can come into its own. Machine learning is able to learn and understand what is working for you and why and automate the whole ad optimisation process.

It can run its own split tests, understand exactly what worked and what didn’t, optimise for creative and audience segmentation and essentially best use your marketing dollars to put the right ad in front of the right person at the right time – with little to no input from you.

It can also be agnostic to where you run your campaigns, happily operating in many DSPs, including social.

All you have to do is to help it understand the goals you are looking to achieve from each of your campaigns, feed it the right ad copy and any of your insights from your data and it will do the rest for you.

Ad Optimisation AI is still relatively in its infancy when compared to other AI uses and we are wary of the platforms/exchanges (such as Google) building their own tools/apps. The reason for this is that they have been designed and built for you to spend more of your marketing budgets on their platforms rather than having the choice and freedom to spend it on the platforms where your potential buying audience spends the most amount of their time and you have the ability to best capture their attention.

There are a few AI marketing copilot apps out there and we have partnered with Cactivate to automate some of our ad optimisation Cactivate – Your AI Ad Agency Replacement.

AI is Here to Stay

We understand the world of AI is often overwhelming, confusing and ever changing. What is new and relevant today can be old and outdated tomorrow.

What is apparent is that AI is going to play a huge part in our lives moving forwards.

We encourage you to dip your toe in and try it out if you are not already. There are many people and businesses out there who can help you navigate this seemingly complex landscape, guiding you through the process in order to achieve the best outcome for your brand and for your marketing campaigns.

The 3 reasons why you should be advertising on TikTok

Just when we thought we couldn’t consume more social media than we were already, along came a short form video platform called TikTok.

What is TikTok?

TikTok was launched internationally in September of 2017 and was the merging of three separate platforms (Musical.ly, Douyin, and TikTok). Originally it was used by people who could choose from a huge database of songs, filters and movie clips which they could lipsync to (don’t tell me you didn’t have a good sing along yourself!!).

However, the platform that sits here today is a very different proposition. Whilst the algorithms are still beavering away in the background, working out what content to put in front of you next, it’s the content itself which has transformed as well as the numbers of users that use the platform on a daily basis (now 1 billion a month!).

In a crowded world of digital marketing, we are more generally seeing brands struggle to establish share of voice and capture the attention of their potential buying audience.

Tasked with the goal of increasing the share price of Meta year on year, Mark Zuckerberg has come up with several innovations to drive top line revenue, which includes simply serving more ads.

(I just went onto my Facebook feed and out of the first 10 posts, 3 of them were ads).

As an agency we are being asked daily by our clients how do we stand out, increase awareness, capture attention, and what can we be doing that our competitors are not?

Here we demystify some of the stigmas attached to TikTok.

3 reasons why your brand should be advertising on TikTok:


You can have the greatest and most persuasive content, but if you do not distribute it in the places where your potential buying audience is, then it is pointless.

We hear it all to often

‘we only promote ourselves on this platform’


‘we don’t believe in that platform’

High performing digital marketing is placing your brand in front of your potential buying audience at just the right moment. The more you make your potential buying audience know you exist and persuade them that what you have is of value to them, the more you sell.

So, go where your potential buying audience is and ensure you distribute your content in these places.

Myth: only young people use Tiktok

Reality: 64% of TikTok users are over the age of 24.

TikTok’s demographic distribution is not that dissimilar to Facebook’s (which is now apparently only for old people!).

Go where your potential buying audience is and distribute your content there. TikTok has your customer and a lot of them. Not only this, but it is currently the most effective distribution channel of video content which dominates most other forms of content when it comes to engaging with your audience.


Lack of competition

TikTok primarily built its platform to attract users and place content in front of them that they would find interesting and continue to watch.

As TikTok is a privately held company and you cannot buy or trade shares in their business, their strategy (up until recently) has been focussed on content, with advertising being somewhat of an afterthought.

As a result of this, TikTok is currently an underused platform when it comes to advertising and it’s likely that none of your competition is using it for this purpose and making the most of this great content distribution channel (and if they are I don’t see many doing a good job of it).

This gives you the opportunity for your brand to stand out and be noticed.

We have seen first-hand the benefits of this first mover advantage with significantly higher click through and purchase rates than other platforms such as Meta and Google.

However, I want to make something clear: the tide is about to come in.

More and more brands are starting to see the platform for what it can do for them and launching advertising campaigns. We therefore encourage you to make this move now before it becomes more of a video version of Facebook or Instagram with nearly as many ads as organic posts.

An example of how the platform is starting to change is last year when we partnered with a very large travel platform and worked with TikTok in order to be able to configure their pixel so we could capture events on our data partner sites. Up until that point you were unable to create targeted enough audiences which were valuable enough to advertise against and it was hard to place your ad in front of the right person at the right time. This is now changing.

Myth: TikTok is for generic content and not for targeted advertising

Reality: You can now place a TikTok pixel on your own site and retarget your own 1st party data as well as partnering with agencies like us who are able to create highly targeted audience segments (identifying your customers) through our partnerships with airlines and travel booking platforms.


Advertising vs organic content

There is currently an obsession to produce the next viral video on TikTok. This is seen as the cheapest, quickest and most effective way of getting yourself or your brand instantly in the hands of millions of people globally.

However, only a very very small % of organic posts do go viral on TikTok and many of those which do (outside of a cat falling off a wall) are the result of a huge number of videos being posted before you arrive at the point of going viral.

Myth: you need to produce multiple videos a week to be noticed on TikTok

Reality: advertising on TikTok does not require you to produce more than one video in order to be successful. By advertising against a targeted audience, you can get your content in the hands of your potential buying audience without the need to produce a large amount of content and hoping that it organically gets picked up by the algorithms.

There should, therefore, be a clear distinction between what constitutes as posting advertising and what constitutes organic content posts. One requires a large investment in a content team to produce 3-4 pieces of content a week and the other requires a relatively small investment in targeting your potential customers and placing an ad in front of them.


TikTok and the Fundamental Marketing Principle

Our intention was to help you understand TikTok a bit more and to understand the untapped potential it could bring your brand. So, we hope you have found this useful. We believe in the basic fundamental marketing principle of placing your brand in front of your potential buying audience at the right time.

Go where your audience is an engage them. TikTok can be a very effective platform to be able to do this and you don’t have to make a large amount of content before you start to see any results.

We look forward to seeing you all become TikTokers.

Tracking and Attribution- Where do we go from here?

Are you struggling with proving the return on investment of your digital marketing campaigns?

One of the biggest challenges facing digital marketeers today is the ability to effectively and accurately track and attribute the success of their digital marketing campaigns. This is known in the industry as tracking and attribution.

Tracking and attribution is the number 1 discussion point and topic we get asked about daily by our clients across every continent of the world.

Yet, it still causes a lot of concerns among digital marketeers.

So let’s address this issue and offer some guidance on how best to deal with the constraints we are all facing due to technological and privacy changes.

Exploring attribution

In 2023 $626 billion (statista) was spent on digital advertising globally.

So, it is only right that every business owner and CEO wants to know whether this investment was money well spent and what return they are getting on their marketing dollars.

Isn’t this, after all, what we were promised when the internet was born over 20 years ago? That we would know exactly what the return on investment was from our digital ad campaigns?

As I sit here and write this article I remember only too well, in the very early stages of our business, proudly jumping onto client review calls, reading out the amazing results we were achieving for them and subsequently leaving the call with the client not renewing their campaign.

‘That’s not what we are seeing our side’.

Faced with less-than-ideal client retention at the time, we embarked on a crusade to find the answer to this global problem – thinking that there had to be a solution out there and we would be the ones to find it.

Over the following 3 months, we spoke to as many industry experts and businesses as we could and even came close to buying a business based in the Netherlands that claimed to be able to accurately statistically model the return on investment you were getting from each marketing channel based on a multi touch attribution algorithm they had invented.

And then it dawned on me.

There were far smarter people who had no doubt attempted to find the answers we were trying to find and if they hadn’t come up with a solution by now then maybe we are asking a question for an answer that doesn’t exist.

Perhaps you cannot track or attribute your campaigns in the way you would like to.

Common Marketing Traps

Before I jump into what we, at Navigator, are doing about this with our clients, I want to highlight some of the most common traps lots of marketeers we are speaking to are making in their quest to make sense of it all.

  • Using Google Analytics as the source of truth
  • Trying to track offline conversion events via online campaigns
  • Relying on last click attribution
  • Not fully considering the attribution windows
  • Comparing all other marketing results to what they were getting via their Google search campaigns

Using Google Analytics as the source of truth

Sadly, Google did not build Google Analytics with the noble intention of supporting any other media channel other than a Google campaign (in the same way we cannot expect Coca Cola to try and sell more Pepsi). Google Analytics is notoriously bad at tracking Meta and TikTok campaigns and with the advent of GA4, even Google themselves understand the floors in their free tracking platform.

Trying to track offline conversion events via online campaigns

If your purchase event is still predominantly offline (in person) then just because the only way to reach your potential customer is via a digital marketing campaign, this does not mean that you need to track online purchases only. For example, we work with one of the biggest Duty Free concessionaires globally and under 10% of purchases happen online vs in store. We are using other ways of showing how valuable our audiences are to them.

Relying on last click attribution

Similar to Google Analytics, this was invented by Google to encourage you to spend more money on Google Search. Our path to purchase for most products or services we buy is rarely see product, buy product. There is a consideration and research period, especially when it comes to the travel sector. A customer can end up at the counter for a large number of reasons and prioritising budgets towards last click can lead to very narrow campaigns and a loss of sales.

Not fully considering the attribution windows

This mainly applies to social campaigns. The standard attribution window is 1 day view through and 7 day click through. We get asked about turning off view through conversions and the 7 day click through window. Again, considering the path to purchase for a typical customer of yours, it may well be that your products/service will take longer than 7 days to consider buying (the more expensive it is typically the longer this period is). There is also a danger of turning off view through attribution as this limits your audience reach and we often see overall purchases decline as a result.

Comparing all other marketing results to what they were getting via their Google search campaigns

Google search (and any other search engine) is a very effective and necessary marketing channel. We cannot, currently, do without it. However, how did the customer end up ‘Googling’ your business or product/service? Because search campaigns are at the very very bottom of the marketing funnel, most other campaigns cannot compete with the results you are most likely getting. We have seen by removing mid and upper funnel marketing channels can result in less people searching for you, so then there are less people buying from you.

The real issue we are facing is the inability to now track people across digital touchpoints.

This was brought about mainly by global data regulations such as GDPR and by Apple with their iOS 14 update in 2021. Many more changes have since been introduced and later this year it is only going to get a lot harder to track and attribute when Google finally deprecate 3rd party cookies.

Whether we like it or not, this is not something we are going to be able to roll back nor is it something we are going to be able to find a workaround for.

These changes are happening whether we like it or not and it is simply going to get even harder to effectively track and attribute digital marketing campaigns.

Embracing Tracking and Attribution Tools

It is our belief at Navigator that instead of fighting these changes or implementing less than ideal workarounds, it is better to embrace them and get as close to the truth as possible.

For example, we may not like the way that the Facebook pixel tracks and attributes Meta campaigns. It can lead to inflated returns on investment and sometimes claims the success of other marketing channels just because it served someone an ad.

However, it was designed (in our view) to best attribute how we typically buy products from seeing them on our social channels and many businesses now solely rely on selling their product via social – so it must be doing something right.

There are smart actions you can take to help make the pixel tracking more accurate such as server side tracking and advanced matching.

By embracing the tracking and attribution tools which are in place (whether we like it or not) and getting as close to the source of truth as you can, can lead to an increase in sales. We are seeing this first hand with our advertising partners who are getting the visibility they need and the proof of increased sales by being able to put the right ad, in front of the right person, at the right time.


Written by Steve Rowbotham, from the Navigator Team

Talk to Steve about tracking and attribution 

A Truly Bold Approach to Digital Marketing

There is a natural tendency for herd thinking amongst humans.

Behaving and thinking like everyone else.

We are taught and conditioned to be like this from school and it is something that I witness daily in digital marketing as we speak to and interact with many of our potential clients.

My belief is that there has to be a better way than what I see being done by most. A way which leads to superior results and truly exceptional marketing. It will require to break away from the status quo and to come at marketing with a different approach.

For those who are bold enough to take this approach, superior results will be the prize.

I would love as many of us as possible to bring some better thinking to our marketing problems and to be as bold as we can be.


Examining the Problem with Digital Marketing

Faced with a myriad of marketing choices and a tidal wave of misinformation, many of us wanted a simple quick-fix solution to our marketing problems.

We too readily fell for the claims of advertising platforms and those selling us marketing solutions – the belief and confidence of those advocating these ‘solutions’ can be thoroughly convincing.

Over the years I’ve worked in digital marketing, I have been astonished to discover how much we have been told about the outcomes these solutions is at best misleading, and at worst, downright wrong and damaging to our businesses.

Marketing can be complicated.

In many businesses, marketing is still not considered to be as important as sales (even though they are the same) and as a result is often left underfunded, under resourced, and one of the first things to be cut in corporate cost saving exercises.

Let’s be clear: doing good marketing is difficult, and funding good marketing has been woefully inadequate compared to the long-term success it can bring a business and the potential it has to deliver more sales.

Limiting funding and under resourcing marketing departments (compared to the results they are expected to bring) has only led to more and more focus being placed on bottom-of-the-funnel campaigns with the sole aim to drive quick sales and immediate results.

Hence our desire for a quick fix solution and hence our herd mentality.

See ad, buy product/service. Simple.


Issues with Marketing Tools

Unfortunately, the instruments used to collect and report marketing data and results have been the main contributor to us falling for the quick-fix solutions and over investment in relatively few marketing platforms/solutions. Over reporting and over claiming the success that they bring.

Faced with having to provide updates to our businesses on how marketing was performing, many of us sat there and added up the results that each marketing channel reported it was delivering and found that the number of purchases and revenue we were being provided with was far in excess of that month’s actual sales.

How could it be that we sold more via marketing than the actual number of sales the entire business had achieved?

Few marketeers, at this point, would have been blamed for switching their focus to the digital marketing platforms which were giving them the results that they could best believe in the most and ones which they could justify future investment in up the chain to senior management and in board meetings. And most of us did just this.

However, by doing so, we started to lose our way in digital marketing and started to think and act like a herd.

Instead of questioning and investigating the instruments which were providing us with our numbers, we tended to believe in the outputs (results) we were given – using these outputs to determine where to best place our marketing dollars.

The result? Giving the few (platforms) the many ($) and placing too much trust in the platforms which we felt gave us the answer we wanted to hear.

(when I say instruments, I am talking about Google Analytics, UTMs, Facebook Pixels, 3rd party tagging and the attribution methodologies associated with them all).


Marketing Example: Las Vegas Hotel

Let me give you a real-life example of this in action.

In my previous article titled ‘4 concerning reasons we lost our way in digital marketing’ I gave the example of a very big hotel brand in Las Vegas who are currently spending around $25,000 a month on an ad campaign which was set up to direct traffic to their website from Google search.

With a click through rate of nearly 50% and a huge conversion rate to boot, it would be easy to think and report that this was money well spent.


On further inspection, and by digging deeper into the campaign, you realise that the key words they are using, and spending the $25,000 on, are their own hotel name and their own website domain.

Yes, they are spending $25,000 a month on targeting people who were going to end up on their website anyway and are simply too lazy to type the hotel domain into their web browser, instead going to Google and typing it there.

$300,000 a year to Google.

And I don’t even blame them for this.

Because if they didn’t spend this money then a competitor of theirs would bid on their key words and potentially direct this traffic to their website instead.

The problem I do have with this example is that the marketing team at the hotel in question were using these results to report to their business how successful they were being and what return they were getting from each $ they invested.

And it didn’t even stop there.

Due to the lack of trust in any other tracking and attribution instrument, they were relying on last click attribution and measuring via Google Analytics for every other marketing campaign, including those that they were attempting to run on the likes of Meta.

Expecting Google to build an accurate and reliable way of measuring digital marketing campaigns other than ones executed on a Google platform is like expecting Coca Cola to try and sell more Pepsi. It simply isn’t going to happen.

You might be surprised to know that this hotel now only runs Google search and email marketing campaigns as the ‘results’ they are achieving with other platforms ‘don’t meet expectations.


How to Be Bold in Digital Marketing

You may well be sensing a degree of frustration as I write this article, and you wouldn’t be wrong if you did.

This is because I believe in the potential that marketing can bring and can see that while current results might be ok, there is so much more potential for it to deliver more for our brands.

I don’t care how good you are, I care how good you can be.

Let’s take a quick moment to remind ourselves of the core definition of marketing – placing your brand in front of your potential customer.

In order to do this effectively and for the lowest possible cost, it requires us to identify who our potential customer is and find a platform which can reach them at the best possible time.

The leading marketing campaigns (and ones which achieve superior results) think about the customer buying journey and craft excellent creatives to best engage their audience across this journey – from first thinking about the purchase all the way through to buying the product (which in some cases might take months or even years).

In essence they put the right ad, in front of the right person, at the right time.

In our earlier example, it could be argued that the hotel in Las Vegas is placing their brand in front of their potential customers at the very moment they are in the market for their product. Which, in part, is true.

However, what they are neglecting is rest of the customer purchase journey (other than the very bottom of the marketing funnel – the point of purchase).

  • How did the customer hear of their hotel?
  • What led them to typing their brand name into Google search?
  • How much research and price comparison were conducted before the customer got to the point of buying?
  • And what is their customer looking for when making that purchasing decision?

These, and many other questions will remain unanswered if you simply run a Google search campaign targeting people who are typing your brand name into the search bar.

Maybe the real question we should be asking is: how many more customers could this hotel end up with if they weren’t looking for the quick fix and instead started to communicate with this customer the moment they searched for a fight or hotel into their destination?


How to Achieve Better Results from Digital Campaigns

1. Use the platforms and solutions for what they can do for you

All of the main marketing platforms/solutions available to us have different strengths and can help you in different ways. If you use them for what they are good at and are happy to judge the performance against the outcome you are looking to achieve, then you are likely to benefit from far superior marketing results.

Google search is not the most effective way of increasing brand awareness with your potential customers. Mass, open ended audiences, and millions of impressions served on Meta is equally not the most effective way of running aggressive conversion campaigns focussed on a return on investment.

Multiple outcomes require multiple platforms (which will yield very different results from each other).


2. Accept that performances may vary across platforms

One of the biggest challenges that faces digital marketeers today is accurate, reliable and, above all, trustworthy tracking and attribution. Sadly, this is only going to get harder post the cookie apocalypse. Each platform has a different methodology of tracking and reporting on KPIs and we need to accept that we will therefore get a variance in performance. This isn’t to say we accept poor performance, but I encourage you to judge the success of the campaign on the specific outcome you are trying to achieve per platform.

It’s a tracking problem, not a platform problem.


3. Embrace the Full Marketing Funnel

I am not sure why we have forgotten the full marketing funnel. It is one of the first and most basic lessons we learn about successful marketing. By ignoring the funnel, we limit how many people end up at the point of purchase.

Finding marketing solutions which can provide you with your potential customer from the moment they are in the market for your product/solution all the way through to point of purchase will enable you to nurture people down the funnel and result in more sales than you would have had otherwise.

The most successful brands at marketing do just this.


4. Remember Your Audience

Last, and by no means least, is your audience. In today’s world of diminishing data accuracy, it has never been harder for you to reach your potential customer outside of your own first party data.

Solutions exist that allow you to reach your audience without you having to waste your budgets on mass and untargeted groups of people. Finding these solutions will be critical for you to succeed in acquiring as many new customers as you possibly can, for the lowest possible price.


The Principle of Marketing

I believe in the principle of marketing: to place your brand in front of your potential customer. Great marketing places the right ad in front of the right person at the right time across the marketing funnel. I look forward to seeing your marketing mix in action.


Written by: Steve Rowbotham

from the Navigator Team

Get in touch with Steve today to talk about how Navigator can super-charge your travel marketing ad campaigns.


The Best Ad Platform for Travel Marketing

When it comes to travel marketing, everyone wants to know the best ad platforms to reach their ideal customers. But unfortunately, there’s no magic wand to tell you which is the right platform for your brand to be advertising on. That’s because the digital marketing landscape is constantly evolving.

With countless options available, from social media channels like Facebook and Instagram to search engine advertising on Google, selecting the best platform can be a tricky task. Even the most seasoned travel marketers can start to feel like they’re missing out by not being on every platform and utilising every shiny new toy being released. 

But not only is this approach to digital marketing exhausting to keep up with, it’s also opening up your brand to the possibility of wasting budget on an audience that doesn’t need what you’re selling. 

If you’re feeling burnt out by this ‘do it all’ approach, or want to calm the feeling in the pit of your stomach that there’s a better platform for your brand to advertise on than the one you’ve been using for years, here’s a quick guide to understanding the options to advertise your travel brand in 2024.

I’ve spent years watching how each of these platforms can be used to superchange marketing campaigns in the travel industry. Hopefully by helping you compare their capabilities, I can put your mind at ease, and improve your travel marketing strategy while we’re at it!


What is the best ad platform for my brand?

While it’s tempting to believe that one platform reigns supreme, the reality is that not every platform will be perfect for every business. Remember, each platform has its pros and cons, and each platform will connect you with a different demographic of travellers. So where does your travel brand want to be?


1. Facebook Ads- Meta

  • Dynamic Integration: Seamlessly combines Instagram and Facebook through Ads Manager for comprehensive advertising strategies. Make the most of an aesthetically pleasing organic strategy on these brands by integrating with the Ads Manager.
  • User-Friendly Interface: Navigate easily, make bulk adjustments, and receive continuous updates for efficient campaign management. Perfect for the new-to-marketing marketer.
  • Precise Targeting: Leverage powerful audience targeting capabilities based on demographics and interests for effective reach. Key demographics include older demographics, including seniors and adults, who will have the ability to follow through on purchases.
  • Intuitive Ad Creation: Simplifies the process of creating ads, catering to businesses of all sizes with its ease of use.
  • Drawbacks: Occasionally experiences site changes without clear communication, leading to user alienation. Review system may cause frustration with its simple rejection process and lengthy waiting periods for feedback. But if you can be patient- it’s worth the payoff to capitalise on your social media resources!


2. TikTok Ads Platform

  • New Frontier in Digital Marketing: TikTok’s platform, akin to its social media app, introduces a fresh perspective to digital marketing, revolutionising the way users absorb information. If you have an education aspect to your brand, you couldn’t ask for a better format than a short form video!
  • Active User Base: Despite its novelty, TikTok boasts a vast and active and trendy user base, offering significant potential reach for advertisers. If you want to win the hearts of Gen Z (who are currently calling the shots of what’s hot and what’s not for the zeigeist) then you’ll want your brand to meet them here. However the platform is has its sights on increasing its user base to all ages, especially the 30-40 age range.
  • Emphasis on Creativity: TikTok promotes creativity, allowing advertisers to experiment with unique and innovative content that resonates with the platform’s dynamic and playful atmosphere. No one will bat an eye at even your most unconventional ideas, it’s a wonderful freedom to inspire your marketing team!
  • Engaging Ad Formats: Advertisers can leverage various engaging formats such as In-Feed Ads, Branded Hashtag Challenges, and Branded Effects to create interactive and entertaining content.
  • Cost Considerations: Advertising on TikTok can be costly, particularly as its popularity grows, posing a challenge for smaller businesses with limited budgets.


3. Twitter (X)

  • Real-Time Engagement: Twitter offers real-time updates, fostering direct interaction with followers and providing visibility through trending topics. If you team thinks in headlines and is more copy focus than aesthetics, this is where they’ll shine.
  • Retweet Amplification:Twitter enables the amplification of content through retweets, enhancing reach and engagement. This is great, because it means your audience becomes your promoters by increasing your reach with every retweet.
  • Content Saturation: The platform’s fast-paced nature may lead to content saturation, making it difficult to stand out amidst the noise.


4. LinkedIn

  • Business Marketing Opportunities: The platform holds significant potential for B2B marketing, allowing businesses to target decision-makers and showcase products or services. If you are trying to appeal to travellers who travel mostly for work- this might be the best place to meet them!
  • Thought Leadership: LinkedIn facilitates thought leadership positioning, allowing individuals and companies to establish authority in their respective fields.
  • Considerations for B2C: LinkedIn typical has limited organic reach and lower engagement rates for brands, especially for industries not inherently aligned with professional networking. If you’re more interested with building a consumer audience and developing a more personal relationship with them outside of their careers, then you will feel out of place amongst all the business.


5. YouTube

  • Video Content Dominance: YouTube reigns as a dominant platform for video content (yes- still more than TikTok or Reels), offering extensive reach and engagement opportunities. They have a wide appeal to all ranges due to the nature of what it offers. Older generations using ‘how to’ videos or even children watching Cartoons.
  • Search Engine Ranking: As the second largest search engine, YouTube provides a significant platform for discovery and visibility.
  • Diverse Advertising Options: The platform offers diverse advertising options, catering to various marketing objectives and audience segments.
  • Competition and Resource Intensity: If you don’t have a dedicated video content team, YouTube won’t be the place to be. Unlike TikToks UGC feel, YouTube audiences expect high quality production, requiring substantial resources for content production and marketing efforts.


6. Google Ads

  • Sidebar of Digital Marketing: Positioned alongside social media platforms, Google Ads provides an alternative avenue for digital advertising. If Social Media hasn’t been a fruitful endeavor- you might want to start testing out GDN!
  • Usability and Reach: Despite feeling like a veteran in a young industry, Google Ads offers extensive reach and precise targeting capabilities, ensuring access to a wide audience. Powered by the right data, you can make the most of this larger audience with a larger demographic reach than you’ll find on social media alone. Essentially anybody who uses Google is involved in the GDN!
  • Challenges in Usability: Users may encounter confusion with the platform’s interface. Crafting campaigns and adverts may lack a seamless flow, leading to uncertainty when editing key aspects. However, with dedication or assistance from marketing experts, leveraging Google Ads can be highly effective, particularly in reaching travelers.



Delivering Marketing Success for your Travel Brand

While there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution, understanding the key points about each platform can help businesses find their perfect match.

At Navigator, we understand the challenges businesses face in navigating the vast array of marketing channels available today. Our goal is to simplify travel marketing by making sure that you deliver the right message at the right time to your audience during their travel journey. Digital marketing in 2024 can feel overwhelming, but by taking a step back and considering your brand’s resources to produce content and where you want to meet your audience, it will become clear where you need to focus your efforts this year. 

You can always use this handy guide as a reminder of important factors such as content type, audience demographics, and engagement dynamics that are crucial to your brand’s success. And we hope you feel empowered to navigate the ever-changing landscape of digital marketing with confidence, knowing that you have the tools to make informed decisions, drive success for your brand, and evolve as fast as the digital marketing landscape itself. 



The Top 10 Social Media Sites & Platforms (searchenginejournal.com)




Written by: Adam Michalczyk

from the Navigator Team

Get in touch with Adam today to talk about how Navigator can super-charge your travel marketing ad campaigns.


The Transformative Power of SEM in the Travel Industry

As a marketer, it’s important to know all the possibilities for your next campaign, especially if you’re new to marketing. It can be overwhelming trying to keep up, not only with newly evolving tactics like UGC and AI segmentation but also with remembering the tried and trusted approaches to marketing that have proven to be powerful ways to reach your ideal customers (when executed correctly).

I’ve been deeply involved in watching the transformation of digital marketing over the last decade, and nothing has excited me more than the rejuvenated emergence of SEM in the travel industry.

If your first thought when you hear the word SEM is ‘booooring!’ or ‘what’s that again?’ you’re not alone. Many new marketers struggle to understand how it can be used to reach your ideal customer at that perfect moment when they’re in the market for your product. Even marketers who have been around since SEM was first introduced over 20 years ago might think it’s impossible for it to be an effective way to reach new customers. But hopefully, this article will help you see why it’s been so many brands’ superpower year after year to target ideal potential customers with the highest intent and also grab those prospecting.

I have witnessed the radical transformation that search engine marketing (SEM) can have for travel businesses, particularly through platforms like Google Ads. It’s not merely a promotional tool; it’s a fundamental shift in how these businesses engage with their target audience.

What is Search Enginge Marketing (SEM)?

For any new marketers, let’s start with the basics. Essentially, SEM is a paid ad that makes sure your brand is seen as the first search engine result for certain key words. 95% of SEM is done on Google (which makes sense, since it’s most of the world’s go-to search engine).

Search Engine Marketing has been around since 2001, when Danny Sullivan, a technologist and entrepreneur, coined the term in an article. It then quickly became ‘ the cool new thing’.

Can SEM help businesses target travellers?

Of course! Even though SEM has been around for over 20 years, it’s biggest triumph lies in its exceptional ability to target demographics accurately, which is why we’re shocked to see how often it is overlooked by brands who only want to focus on the newest trends in marketing.

For example, a travel company can leverage Navigator’s 1st party travel data in combination with Google Ads to pinpoint people actively searching for holiday destinations or flights. This approach goes beyond reaching an audience; it’s about establishing a connection with potential travellers at the most opportune moment, greatly enhancing the probability of converting interest into sales.

When we talk about the way SEM can super-charge a business’s digital ads, there are two examples I like to refer to within the travel industry.

  1. REI’s Success Story:

    REI’s successful use of Google Ads to target searches related to camping gear and eco-friendly travel accessories has been a game-changer. Their strategy resulted in

    • Enhanced online visibility.
    • Increased targeted site traffic.
    • Higher sales.This case study is a perfect example of how understanding your audience’s interests and needs can lead to significant business growth.
  2. GoPro’s Targeting Strategy:

    GoPro’s strategy to target adventure travelers using Google Ads has positioned their action cameras right in front of their ideal customers, travelers who want to capture their experiences. This targeted approach has been crucial to drive GoPro’s brand awareness and sales in the competitive action camera market amongst travelers.

Leveling Up your SEM Strategy: Find your ideal customer at the perfect moment

We understand why so many new marketers might be skeptical of how powerful SEM can be, but don’t forget that as new marketing tactics evolve- so do the approaches to old strategies.

Here’s how the experts are making the most of SEM:

  1. Advanced Segmentation Techniques: Advanced segmentation techniques allow travel companies to refine their targeting further. By analyzing user behavior, preferences, and past travel history, companies can craft highly personalized campaigns. This level of customization is not only more engaging for the user but also results in higher conversion rates.
  2.  Localized Marketing: Localized marketing is another critical aspect of SEM in travel. By tailoring content and ads to specific geographical locations, travel companies can appeal to local preferences and cultural nuances. This approach is especially effective in attracting domestic travelers or those planning trips to specific regions.
  3. Leveraging AI and Machine Learning: The integration of AI and machine learning in SEM tools has revolutionized campaign management. These technologies enable predictive analytics, automated bidding strategies, and personalized ad content, significantly enhancing campaign performance.
  4. Embracing Sustainability with SEM: With an increasing focus on sustainable travel, SEM campaigns that highlight eco-friendly practices or sustainable travel options are becoming more prevalent. These campaigns not only resonate with environmentally conscious travelers but also align with global efforts towards sustainable tourism.
  5. Anticipating Future Trends in SEM: SEM is evolving to become increasingly sophisticated. The integration of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) in SEM campaigns, the growing importance of voice search optimization, and the continued emphasis on mobile marketing are just a few of the trends that will shape the future of SEM in travel.

SEM’s Global Impact and Where it’s Growing

So for any marketer, whether you’re new to the field or a seasoned pro, never doubt SEM’s profound impact on global travel marketing.

The Navigator team believes marketing should be simple. Brands want to put their product infront of people who want it. And SEM is allowing so many brands to do just that.

Where some see it as ‘outdated’ we see it as an unexpected approach. And most importantly It allows companies to reach audiences efficiently, overcoming geographical and linguistic barriers. This global reach is instrumental for companies looking to expand their presence in new markets, to reach their ideal customers at that perfect moment, with the perfect message.

Continue reading “The Transformative Power of SEM in the Travel Industry”

4 Concerning Reasons We Lost Our Way in Digital Marketing

In 1994 AT&T paid the princely sum of $30,000 to Hotwired.com in what is widely regarded as the first example of an online digital display ad campaign. Despite its low resolution and rudimentary appearance, it received an eye watering 44% click through rate and from this point forward, digital marketing was born.

For those of you, like me, who are old enough to remember that far back in time – yes, those good old days of dial up networks and waiting 5 minutes for webpages to load – we were given a bold promise.

The promise was that brands (and marketeers alike) no longer had to waste any of their money ever again on advertising to people who weren’t their customer. The internet knew exactly where your customer was, what they were doing, and was able to reach them at the exact moment they were in the market for your product or service.

Putting your ad, in front of your customers, at the right time.

And it didn’t stop there!! We were also sold that we could finally track the success of our campaigns and know for certain that for every $ spent, exactly how much we were getting back in return.

Finally, we could get rid of roadside billboards, stop chopping down trees to print magazines, and the production of cheesy radio ads that no one listened to. The internet was here to solve all our problems and deliver on the fundamental definition of marketing – to place your brand in front of your potential customer. It was every CEOs dream.

Boy did we get excited

<cue wild celebrations>


I can’t help but feel let down by the harsh reality that, despite 30 years of so-called evolution within digital marketing, today we are wasting more marketing dollars than we ever have done before and the original promise that was made to us simply has not been delivered on. In fact, we are far, far from it.

We are talking here about a billion $ problem. 2023 will see in excess of $500bn spent on digital marketing – which is more than the GDP of Thailand – and it’s only going to grow from here. Depending on who you want to believe, there are various figures of how much of this is ‘wasted’ which range from 30% all the way up to 80%. Even at the lower end of this, it would mean that digital advertising waste stands at an incredible $150bn. A problem we believe is worth fixing.

In this article, we explore the 4 main reasons why this might have happened and why we have lost our way. Importantly, by understanding what may have led us to this point, we can set a pathway to help navigate our way back to delivering great marketing for our brands – and putting the right ad, in front of the right person, at the right time.


Reason 1: No one has THE answer

Despite the big tech giants’ attempts to monopolise our data and provide us with THE digital platform to solve all our marketing problems, the fact remains that no one has been able to do this. The likes of Meta, Google, and Amazon have been incredibly clever in positioning themselves so that we must spend our money with them, but none of them in isolation do what they claim to or give us everything we need as marketeers.

At Navigator we recently, and worryingly, discovered that a large hotel group in Las Vegas was spending $25,000 a month on Google Ad Words, targeting their own brand name and own brand domain. Yes – these were people who, instead of typing the hotel name or web domain into their browser, were going to Google and typing it into Google search. This meant that they were effectively spending $25,000 a month to target people who were going to go to their website anyway but could not be bothered to type the hotel domain into their browser – instead using Google as a ‘shortcut’. This is also the same client who currently tracks their Meta campaigns via Google Analytics and claims that Meta does not work as they are getting much better results via Google – which makes complete sense as Google did not create Google Analytics or GA4 to encourage you to spend more money with other platforms and increase their share price instead of their own.

Surprisingly, this example can be replicated with almost any digital advertising platform – as most claim they have THE answer you are looking for, and most were built to compete with each other rather than being accurate.

Its these inaccuracies, and the fact that we feel there is nothing we can do about it, which are leaving us thinking we only have one option – to continue to commit our marketing budgets to the places which are giving us the ‘best’ results.

Digital Marketing Tip

Before picking a platform, consider deeply each problem you are trying to solve and what your business’s marketing objectives are. As each platform has a different strength, you might require a ‘marketing mix’ that delivers on your multiple marketing needs – but that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be on every platform to get good results.


Reason 2: Good marketing takes time, effort and resource

Many of us are aware that we are living in an unprecedented time of instant gratification, whether that’s expecting our online order to arrive in less that 2 days or checking to see if we’ve gone viral 20 seconds after we post on social media. It’s no surprise that we found ourselves doing exactly the same thing with marketing –expecting it to be a money-making machine from day 1.

We see first-hand, and all too often, that business owners and CEOs hire good marketers but don’t give them the required time, resource, and financial backing to turn their great work into better results. By treating marketing this way it is like expecting the winning number to come in on the roulette table every time they place their chips!

The net result of this is that too many marketeers are expected to win immediately and win big, every time.

If this kind of expectation and pressure were put on me then I would personally default to the least risky solution, and one I could justify as delivering good results just to satisfy those above me – think of the Google search example mentioned earlier.

This has squashed innovation and curiosity in marketing and has led to many brands out there all doing the same thing, reporting the same results to CEOs and business owners who don’t understand that the ramifications of their actions is limiting the full potential of their marketing strategy.

There is no cheat code to good marketing.

Digital Marketing Tip

Try and create depth in your marketing. Good marketing is a process of continual refinement to find what works, and then refine it to become more and more effective. Back your marketing teams with the proper amount of money and resource to find where your potential customer is, and allow them to spend the appropriate amount of money on understanding what your customer is looking for from your business.


Reason 3: The focus has turned from value to money

I loved the series Mad Men on TV. Maybe less of the whiskey at 9am in the morning, but by watching it you can well imagine what the booming advertising industry was like back in the 1960s. Here, in the 2020s, TV advertising is still around, but these days data provided by digital advertising has overtaken oil as the world’s most valuable resource. The one thing both Mad Men and digital advertising have in common with each other is money, and the ability to make lots of it.

As a business, we see a huge amount of mistrust in digital marketing today and we understand why. The feedback the Navigator Team has had from a number of our clients is that they have been sold the dream by so many, and so few have delivered – leading to large scale scepticism and a risk averse attitude. They have also given us the feedback that they felt platforms like Meta are not here to make you the hero. They are in it to increase shareholder value by making money from you, even if you lose money in the process.

Digital Marketing Tip

Take the time to deeply consider the value a particular platform can bring to you. Do your due diligence and collaborate with external platforms who understand to the value of your business, who are there to solve your individual problems, and will make sure you are reaching the people who should be seeing your ads.


Reason 4: Marketing has been overcomplicated

Like most things in life, as time passes humans have overcomplicated marketing. This is in large part due to the fact that we have been led to believe that you need a degree from MiT or Oxford to understand digital marketing.

Elon Musk is quoted as saying; ‘One of the biggest traps for smart engineers is optimizing a thing that shouldn’t exist’. He then goes on to say; ‘when you go through college like studying physics/engineering, you have to answer the question that the professor gives you, you don’t get to say this is the wrong question’.

It feels to me like we have placed digital marketing in the hands of lots of engineers without challenging the questions they have been answering. So now we are left with lots of tools and tech which claim to do lots of things – and in most part do not deliver.

I wonder if we were to do it all over again, what questions we would be asking them to answer?

As I have made clear, the Navigator Team believes that the idea of marketing is very simple – to put the right ad, in front of the right person, at the right time – and the tech behind that can be incredibly complex. This means we can easily lose sight of the simple results we seek by focusing on the tech, not the customer.

Digital Marketing Tip

Place your customer first. The technology behind finding your customer and providing you with the ability to engage with them is almost irrelevant. By keeping it simple and by focussing on this, it will enable your good work to go to the places where you can win the most amount of new customers.


Conclusion: Searching for a marketing solution in the digital age

It would seem to make sense that the more sophisticated tech becomes, the easier it will become to get your ads in front of your customers at the right time. Sadly, this isn’t the case. In fact, it’s actually going to get harder and will continue to get harder, for you.

Global data regulations (such as GDPR), app tracking, cookie deprecation and many more privacy initiatives have led to a significant decline in data accuracy.

If we carry on marketing the way so many are doing so today, placing our budgets in the same way with the same platforms, then it will simply lead to an increase in us wasting more and more money. Something I hope we all agree should be avoided at all costs.

Therefore, it is more important than ever that we get back to the fundamental principle of placing your brand in front of your potential customer. It’s the customer, not the technology which should be the driver.

1st party data (your own and that of platforms who have your potential customers), contextual advertising next to relevant content, and publisher agreements will now play a huge role in the success of you being able to do this moving forward.

If the Navigator team can leave you with one thing it is this. We encourage you to get back to the basic definition of marketing, to find partners and platforms that want to solve your problems and service you in the way you need them to, to have the courage to invest and take time over your marketing efforts to really find out what works, and to create a mix of solutions which deliver for you at every part of the marketing funnel.

I wish you all the success in your new marketing efforts.


Written by: Steve Rowbotham

from the Navigator Team


6 Ways to Maximize Black Friday Sales in Travel Marketing

As we get close to the last weeks of November, travelers are making their own lists and checking them twice. The reason? Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year, is just around the corner.

I know a majority of our partners here at Navigator have had this week planned out for some time, excited for this big day!  

Traditionally, Black Friday is associated with retailers, but businesses in the travel industry have realised the benefits of taking the opportunity of customers in a buying mood.

Have you heard about Travel Tuesday? It used to refer to the busy day of travel as people made their way home from Thanksgiving trips. But now it’s a day dedicated to the best travel deals!

Travel marketers are preparing for Black Friday in an unprecedented way. While it might be intimidating to jump into the highly competitive holiday marketing minefield, we’re happy to guide you through so that your brand can stand out and attract your ideal customers at the start of the Holiday season. 


What is Black Friday?

Before we discuss what traveler marketers should be doing this Black Friday, it’s important to acknowledge WHY it even exists. It’s hard to get excited about participating in an event if you don’t understand how it could benefit your business (whether you’re based in America or not).

Black Friday marks the unofficial start of the holiday shopping season. Originating in the United States, it has now become a global event, with retailers offering enticing deals and discounts. The travel industry, with its unique offerings, can capitalize on this trend to boost sales and visibility. Ultimately anyone within the travel space should be taking advantage of this offer as the phenomenon is now global and is a big opportunity to bring in new and old customers.



Why Should Travel Marketers Care About Black Friday?


Increased Consumer Spending

Black Friday is synonymous with spending. Consumers are primed to make purchases, and travel deals can be particularly appealing as people look forward to holiday getaways or plan for the upcoming year. Even in these tough economic times, 68% of all consumers are expected to shopping this year!


Competitive Edge

Many travel companies still underutilize Black Friday. By creating compelling offers, you can stand out in a market less saturated than traditional retail sectors. An example you will see often is 40-60% off for a limited time during the weekend after Thanksgiving. 


Building Brand Loyalty

Offering special deals can attract new customers and strengthen relationships with existing ones. It’s an opportunity to showcase your brand’s value and commitment to customer satisfaction. You can see them everywhere even with big players like Gap , Amazon, or Target.


Leveraging Online Platforms

With the rise of e-commerce, Black Friday has extended to online spaces, opening up vast opportunities for digital marketing campaigns. Even Walmart is going all out on digital!



How Travel Marketers Can Maximize Sales on Black Friday


1. First Party Data

Make sure you have the perfect audience of confirmed travelers. Black Friday is a small window and you can’t spend too much time split testing. Here at Navigator, we have already been helping our partners reach passengers on a global scale that are either flying out this week or next month. I personally helped some of our biggest partners plan out the 2023 campaign strategy weeks ago.


2. Early Planning

: Start planning your campaign well in advance. This includes deciding on the deals, setting up the marketing materials, and strategizing the rollout. Now, it’s not too late if you haven’t yet started. Make sure you get something together for this Friday, all it takes is one deal to change your end-of-month sales.


3. Targeted Offers

Tailor your deals to your target audience. Whether it’s luxury travel, budget trips, family vacations, or solo adventures, make sure your offers resonate with your customer base. This is a BIG deal and it should be the day when you give the best offer your potential or current customers will ever see. There is no better day to maximize sales.


4. Multi-Channel Marketing

Utilize a mix of online and offline marketing channels. Engage with customers through email campaigns, social media, PPC ads, and traditional media.


5. Creating Urgency

Use countdowns and limited-time offers to create a sense of urgency. This encourages quick decision-making and drives sales.


6. Post-Black Friday Strategies

Consider extending offers or introducing new deals for Cyber Monday, Travel Tuesday, and Small Business Saturday. Keep the momentum going beyond Black Friday.



What Should Travel Marketers Do After Black Friday?

After Black Friday Navigator’s optimization team has found that creating a strategic digital marketing approach focused on analyzing all the data greatly helps in maximizing sales.

  • We segment the audience based on their interactions during Black Friday—targeting new customers, returning customers, and those who browsed but didn’t purchase with tailored messaging. 
  • Shift from high-pressure sales tactics to value-driven content,  consult on email marketing for personalized follow-ups and retargeting campaigns to re-engage visitors. 
  • Recommend that customers on social media are engaged with user-generated content and reviews, and start building anticipation for upcoming holiday sales. 


Of course, it’s helpful when you have a team of travel marketing experts doing this for your business! By taking these steps your marketing efforts should maintain the momentum from Black Friday and keep customers engaged, leading to increased sales in the post-Black Friday period for all our Navigator partners and your own personal campaigns! 

Continue reading “6 Ways to Maximize Black Friday Sales in Travel Marketing”

Travel Marketing: Your Best Holiday Marketing Plan

Why is the holiday season so important to travel marketing?

Marketing during the holiday season is a high-stakes time for marketers. There’s an enormous amount of stress on marketers who are trying to capture the attention of the large audience travelling over the holidays.

During this holiday season more than 2 in 5 Americans (44%) plan to spend money on flights or hotel stays, spending $1,582, on average. That’s over 113 million holiday travellers, spending nearly $180 billion on travel expenses.

If you’re a marketer in the travel industry, it’s crucial to take advantage of the holiday season so that your business can benefit from this uptick in consumer spending.

Here are key tips to build your best holiday marketing plan.


How do marketers prepare for holiday travel trends?

Before you start building your holiday marketing plan, find the insights that speak specifically to the travel products you are selling. 

Marketers shouldn’t get caught up in the big global trends, especially if they do not speak to your ideal audience. Consumer spending is obviously grand regardless of whether it’s slightly up or down from one year to the next. So when your researching this year’s travel trends, focus on what only your ideal customers will be affected by.

For example, if the West is expected to have heavy snow this winter (which it is!)- hotels and flights serving ski markets will be able to capitalize on promoting inventory in that area.

Mexico and Caribbean Travel is expected to be strong again this winter – so Air travel rental cars and resorts in those destinations should be able to capitalize.

Identify insights from reputable sources that serve your product best and market to it.

As consumer spending is up, so is marketing. It’s competitive!

In Q4 of last year, we saw a total estimated spend of $38.82 billion ($4.89 bn – Print / $16.15 bn – Digital / $17.78 bn – TV, according to MediaRadar. That’s about 30% of the spend for the year!

Take a deep breath and remember, that you can never go wrong by providing value and engaging your customers.


How to market holidays?


1. Use Data

First-Party data enables you to speak to the consumer you most covet. 92% of marketers find first-party data to be the most valuable for targeting and segmentation purposes. Through our platform, Navigator uses only first-party data to identify and target prospects and audiences for the most qualified marketing.

Data is valuable for all positions along the funnel from Awareness or Introduction to Point of Sale.

40% of all Americans travel in December. 29% will go somewhere for Thanksgiving and 19% will be away from home over New Year’s, according to NerdWallet.

When you use data, you can identify your customers within this large group of travellers at the right place and time.


2. Be smart with your creative

Through the data that we have, we now know exactly what they are searching for and we should speak to that in the creative.

Use creative of your resorts in Riviera Maya to travellers flying into Cancun.

Show Big Ben for travellers looking to cross the Atlantic and land in Heathrow or Gatwick.

If you are looking to sell hotel rooms, flight seats, or cruise packages you want to showcase specific deals with prices highlighted in the creative.

Always have 4 to 5 creatives in rotation with one “soaker” ad as a backup so that you do not go dark. Navigators offers creative insights, consultation and design services as part of our marketing services at no charge.


3. Leverage Social Media

Every media channel has its place and reason for being, but Social Media really stands out during the holidays.

The medium connects you to friends and family, which is what the holidays are all about. Understand the role of social media and use the right unique voice and creative for each specific platform.

Travel Marketing works on social platforms!


Follow the principles of marketing

Follow the right principles of marketing to ensure that you compete and win customers during this holiday season.

When you identify with your customers and inspire them to act with your message and creativity, you will have the best gift a marketer could ask for this holiday. The goal is to cap off a great year and help to build your base for the next.

Happy Holidays and Happy Marketing!

Continue reading “Travel Marketing: Your Best Holiday Marketing Plan”

Are you ready to start your journey?

Let’s discuss your digital goals today