What is Travel Remarketing?

Every since Google announced “remarketing” as a feature of their omnipresent AdWords platform, the term shows up regularly in online marketing circles.  Google offers a remarketing feature which is fast becoming a standard for use by conversion optimization experts.  Often called “retargeting”, it may include the use of multi-device advertising as well.  Like the way a banner ad follows you from desktop to mobile to tablet as a form of re-marketing.

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 (your traveler booking leads).  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.

Remarketing gives travel marketers a second qualified chance to convince visitors to make a booking.  However don’t forget that you are paying for every click through to your website just like with regular ads.  Since it is impossible to know if a lead booked a hotel or travel package elsewhere, you may be paying for unwanted traffic.  More on that later…

Learn More: Using remarketing to reach people who visited your site (AdWords Help)

Travel Remarketing In Action

Here is a simple example of the look-to-book sales funnel with travel remarketing:

  1. 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.
  2. Alice browses your site and learns about your travel products and services (e.g. hotel, resort, tour package, adventure activity, or vacation deal).
  3. 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)
  4. 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).
  5. Google displays your remarketing targeted ad to Alice as a reminder to revisit your site to continue her previous session.
  6. Alice decides to click on your ad (triggered and tracked via cookies by your remarketing lists) and return to a travel site page.
  7. Alice decides the time is right to make a booking and clicks the “Book Now” button (your booking engine takes it from there).

Travel Site Remarketing Flow Diagram

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 who show interest by reading about your travel offerings, but were not ready to buy now, book now, join now, or take action on your offer.

How Travel Remarketing is Essential

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 who 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.

Read more: Comparing the Top 4 Retargeting Companies (SEOmoz)

Travel Email Remarketing

Remarketing via display and banner ads is only one way to re-target visitors to your travel website. Email remarketing is more direct and proven to be a more effective sales channel. For travel email remarketing, the technique is to capture the email address of someone who is not ready to book now.

Sending out email booking reminders is how you convince traveler leads to return and complete a booking later.

Since email remarketing is considered opt-in marketing, you avoid all the privacy issues with traditional remarketing. Only travel consumers who share their email address will receive your booking reminder messages.  This means your “Book Later” message will be more likely to be opened, read, and acted upon.  Plus you can go beyond the limitations of a fixed sized banner ad by including valuable travel content, photos, and social media links.

Read more: Book Later Remarketing Training

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