The term “remarketing” has appeared more frequently in online marketing circles after the recent Google announcement. Their advertising platform now offers a remarketing feature which is already attracting tons of attention from the conversion optimization community. A similar and mostly equivalent term is “retargeting” which tends to focus on the use of online (multi-device) advertising, while employing the same re-marketing principles.
From the Google Display Network perspective, remarketing means that your visitors can be targeted with an ad AFTER they have left your website. When someone views a tagged lodging, tour, activity, or booking page, they can be added to a predefined remarketing list. While the same person is browsing other websites later on and in future days, your interest targeted ad will appear to remind them to return. This gives travel marketers a second qualified chance to convince visitors to make a booking.
Here is a simple example of the look-to-book sales funnel with travel remarketing:
- Alice visits your tourism website in response to a Google search, regardless of whether she clicked on your search result listing or an AdWords advertisement.
- Alice browses your site and learns about your travel products and services (e.g. hotel, resort, tour package, adventure activity, or vacation deal).
- Alice decides that she is not ready to book now because it is too early in the purchasing cycle (see below for the most common reasons why)
- Later on Alice is browsing websites about travel or anything else during her normal day (let’s say she is reading a news site that displays Google ads).
- Google displays your remarketing targeted ad to Alice as a reminder to revisit your site to continue her previous session.
- Alice decides to click on your ad (triggered and tracked via cookies by your remarketing lists) and return to a travel site page.
- Alice decides the time is right to make a booking and clicks the “Book Now” button (your booking engine takes it from there).
In a general sense, remarketing as pictured in the diagram above is what I call “second chance marketing.” First time visitors to your tourism site will not make a booking 97% of the time. Leveraging advertising and travel technology to remind them to come back and book later is essential for booking conversion optimization. To accomplish this goal you must use a combination of online advertising remarketing, social media promotion, and email marketing tactics to retarget visitors when they are ready.
By showing interest in your travel products and services, you now have the ability to push online ads to these warm leads in an effort to convince them to revisit your site. It is an extremely effective way to reach people that have showed interest by reading about your travel offerings, but were not ready to buy now, book now, join now, or take action on your offer.
While remarketing is a technique that can be employed for any online business, it is especially useful for the travel industry. Booking travel is not typically an impulse purchase, therefore it is rare for people to book on their first visit. They might love what you have to offer, but will never be convinced to book right away for the following reasons:
- They want to talk to their spouse, partner, or family first
- They want to check their work schedule and see when it is best to take time off
- They want to research other travel options to make sure they pick the best company for their vacation needs
- They think the price will decrease soon and want to wait and see
- They simply need time to think it over before making a major purchasing decision
Therefore remarketing is an excellent way to take visitor booking behavior into account when crafting your context-sensitive travel marketing campaigns. By targeting previous visitors and convincing them to return to your site when it is right for them, your online bookings will increase.
Remarketing with the Google Display Network is only one way to remind people that are familiar with your travel brand to come back to your tourism website. Google is one of several vendors offering remarketing and retargeting platforms and based on your advertising budget you should investigate the best option.
Another pathway to remarketing is via direct email targeting using the Book Later Button. This travel technology tool empowers visitors to schedule an email reminder to book later (at their request only and with privacy maintained). While remarketing without their permission works for certain type of travel buyers, opt-in email marketing is another proven technique to get a second chance to convince people to complete a booking.
Read more about the Book Later Button and sign-up now or later if you prefer.