Advertising for travel and tourism

Over the past couple of years there has been an increase in searches around how brexit will impact the UK economy as a whole, trends show that year on year, concerns go up.

However, if you work in the tourism sector, you will be pleased to know that holidays abroad are rising in popularity despite the worry over Brexit!

What’s happening in the tourism sector:

Holidays abroad are rising in popularity

  • 47% of travellers planned on spending their holiday abroad in 2018, with a large portion of those who spent last year in the UK, switching to spend more time abroad.

Shorter holidays may be extended

  • A large proportion of those who took 1 weeks holiday last year are planning to extend their holidays to 2 weeks

Price isn’t everything but it’s a good start

  • Travellers care a lot about getting a deal when it comes to researching a holiday and less when it comes to making a booking – suggesting price acts as a first funnel

Late bookers are less decisive

  • Those who wait to book their biggest holiday of the year are also the least sure of where they want to go and are more open to inspiration.
  • Booking Holiday
  • Holiday PPC

Peaks are a big deal.

  • Peaks are defined as the first 7 weeks of the year (January to the 2nd week of February). 78% of people who travel abroad book their holidays in January and 93% of people who travel abroad for their holidays take their vacations in August.

Peaks are also becoming more and more important every year.

  • 15% of all travel searches were made in peaks in 2017 up from 13.8% in 2016
  • 17% of all holiday searches were made in peaks 2017 vs 15% in 2016

You should build strong brand memories prior to peak season:

  • 59% of UK consumers remembered seeing a travel related ads during the purchase journey.
  • 54% of consumers recall an ad they saw at the beginning of their journey, where as only 18% recall seeing one saw just before making their booking
  • 20% of conversions attributed to January on last click actually originate from December!

Mobile is important 

  • 51% of holiday search queries are on a mobile and queries in mobile continue to grow

How to make the most out of these trends using Google

Google is the worlds largest search engine and has become critical to the consumers research journey:

  • 51% of people start planning a holiday with no destination in mind
  • 40% of travellers initiate destination research with a Google search
  • 66% of travellers turn to video when thinking about a trip
  • 59% of travel bookers recalled seeing a travel advert while shopping for a holiday
  • Every travel booking is now influenced by over 19 digital touch points
  • There are 52 Google searches over 5 months for a holiday booking
  • 41% rely on Google Maps when traveling

It’s therefore useful to use the Google framework called ‘See, Think, Do, Care’ to understand how to advertise to these customers at the different stages in the buying cycle. Below, we have gone through the different messaging and advertising suggestions at each level.

  • Google Search

A framework for travel marketing


Consumers are getting inspired, exploring holidays, sharing and comparing holidays

Build a brand memory & inspire holiday planning so they think of you when they look to buy

You can use targeting in Google audiences such as age, gender, passions, affinity

Use advertising formats such as Display ads, YouTube for action, Social Ads

Awareness, Ad recall and brand interest


Consumers are researching in more detail, planning flights and doing comparisons 

Reach a potential travel audience based on signals of intent

You can use targeting in Google audiences such as custom intent, in-market and life events

Use advertising formats such as premium display placements, YouTube for Action and Search Ads

Purchase intent, consideration, brand interest


Consumers are ready to buy their holiday

Own the moments when audiences are ready to buy and make the purchase easy

You can use targeting in Google audiences such as keyword targeting, in-market, custom intent, customer match & remarketing

Use advertising formats such as search, remarketing and RLSA’s



Consumers have been on holiday with you and might be thinking of the next one

Surprise and reward your loyal consumers whilst encouraging repeat purchase and recommendation to friends & family

You can use targeting in Google audiences such as remarketing and customers 

Use advertising formats such as Gmail & RLSA

Purchase intent, consideration and brand interest 

Next Steps

If you would like to better understand the different types of advertising and targeting you can do with Google, then give us a shout today!

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