Holiday shopping doesn’t result solely in little brown paper packages tied up with strings. 74% of Americans would prioritize travel and experiences over traditional wrapped presents for gifts. Recent data suggests consumers are backing this intention with action as 47% of Americans made holiday travel plans in 2022. Additionally, those who planned to travel spent $2,441 over the holiday season, upwards of $1,000 more than the average consumer.
With the peak holiday travel days just around the corner, advertisers are busy honing and solidifying their strategies to capture their consumers’ attention and dollars. While consumers brainstorm destinations, compare prices, and browse different travel accommodations, reaching them with strategic ad placements, formats, and messaging that speak to where they are in their customer journey is essential. To help travel advertisers this holiday season, we’ve put together a three-step media plan encompassing the top tactics and strategies to reach Americans before they hit the road, sky, and sea.
Stage 1: August to September
Reach your audience across all channels
As summer comes to a close, consumers aren’t quite ready to book their holiday trips. However, it’s still essential for brands to remain top of mind. Use these pre-booking months to heavy up ads across all channels with an omnichannel approach. This is the smartest and most effective way to ensure you reach travelers as they switch between channels and devices.
As consumers incorporate more and more devices into their everyday lives, it can be difficult to know what channels work best. As a starting point, we recommend the following four high-value channels to help our clients reach their audience:
- Advanced Audio and Podcasts: U.S. consumers spend ⅕ of their daily digital media time with digital audio, totaling 1 hour and 43 minutes of listening per day. This gives advertisers a great opportunity to reach consumers even when they aren’t looking at a screen, integrating your brand in between their favorite music or podcasts.
- Paid Social: Consumers are increasingly leaning on social media as a search engine tool,so much so that approximately 40% of Gen Z prefer TikTok or Instagram to Google when researching places to go. Delivering captivating ads at the awareness stage ensures you stay top of mind with consumers as they casually browse for travel inspiration across popular social platforms like TikTok, Instagram, and Pinterest.
- Mobile: Mobile is edging its way toward being the most used device for consumers. In 2022, consumers spent upwards of 5.5 hours every day browsing their devices. There are ample mobile-first solutions — geofencing, in-app inventory, mobile-rich creative — that you can lean on during these months to ensure you stay top of mind with busy consumers.
- Digital Out-Of-Home (DOOH): What more timely way to reach travelers than while they are on the road? DOOH inventory is constantly growing, giving advertisers powerful opportunities to reach consumers while they are in travel mode. Consider investing in ad placements where consumers are already in a travel mindset such as at airports or EV charging stations (great for reaching road trippers!).
Stage 2: October to Early November
Catch Consumer Attention with Engaging Creatives
This timeframe marks the most essential period of the holiday travel season. Consumers are no longer browsing but ready to buy and book. During these critical months, eye-catching creatives will help differentiate your brand and stand oute this holiday season.
Consider leveraging high-impact ads as engaging creative formats will drive viewability and engagement across all screens, like:
- Interactive map & directions
- Weather triggered ads
- Coupon Download
Double Down on Top Performing Channels
The omnichannel tactics mentioned in Stage One can help your brand remain top of mind with consumers in pre-booking months. However, data and analytics from those campaigns will also be of great value during Stage Two.
A look back at the top-performing channels and tactics during August and September can help identify which channels were best at moving the needle among consumers. At crunch time, you’ll already have insight on where to shift campaign budgets to drive success.
During these key timeframes, continue to track campaign performance and measure ROI to ensure you’re using the best tactics to reach consumers and getting the most bang for your buck.
Stage 3: Mid-November to December
Leverage Smart Data to Reach Top Audiences
There’s always time to win last-minute dollars. As consumers book last-minute travel, consider focusing campaigns on retargeting consumers who have interacted with your brand most.
During this hyper-competitive and quick-moving time of year, smart data partners ensure you effectively and efficiently reach your most valued target audience. As timeliness becomes hyper critical, consider using the following data types to hone in on specific audiences.
- Purchase or transactional data: This data is built from consumer-consented, real-world, behavioral-based spending insights such as merchant category, frequency of spend, spending amount, time period, and offline vs. online spending. Leverage these third-party segments to ensure your advertising efforts reach those most likely to be interested in your travel products and services (i.e. consumers who have flight bookings, hotel stays, rental car reservations, etc.)
- Booking Data: Access close to one billion monthly unique traveler profiles across more than 200 of the world’s top travel brands. This premium global travel data and traveler intelligence uses loyalty programs and booking data to reveal travel patterns, trends, and behavior that brands can then use to target in-market travelers.
- Location data: A great tool for experience, activity, or restaurant brands, location data allows you to target consumers before they arrive at a location, while they’re at a location, and after they leave a location. When a prospective customer is physically close to your location, you have a much better chance of persuading them to purchase from you.
Don’t Delay! Consumers are Already Booking Holiday Travel
To take advantage of competitive pricing, experts advise travelers to book their travel at least two months before their intended departure date. With just under three months to Thanksgiving, advertisers are in the essential timeframe to reach consumers while actively researching their upcoming plans.
Digilant’s Digital Advertising Solutions
We understand the holiday season can feel overwhelming as advertisers work to win the attention and dollars of travelers. Our team of expert media strategists is eager to create a custom plan built toward reaching your specific audience at every stage of the customer journey. Contact us here to get started today.