It’s no secret travel marketers must find new ways to
reach consumers and ultimately drive booking revenue. However, consumers are
turning to new forms of media for trip recommendations - creating an
increasingly complex digital marketing ecosystem.
While marketers have their work cut out when navigating
these complexities, one common thread binds these channels together: They’re
all forms of visual storytelling.
For travel marketers, this is an incredible opportunity to
connect with consumers in new and exciting ways.
A video tour of a destination they’ve always dreamed of
visiting spurs them down the path to purchase, bringing potential travelers one
step closer to clicking that "book" button. Visual storytelling is real and
it’s compelling - giving marketers the power to use stories to influence
surveyed more than 600 travel marketers from 46 countries to find out their
2019 priorities and where they are investing. Visual storytelling was at the
top of the list.
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In fact, after Google, YouTube is the second most-used
search engine. Facebook and Instagram Stories have also taken off: As of spring
2018, more than 100 million Instagrammers were watching or sharing visual content live
While video represented only 9% of travel marketing ad
spend for 2018, 46% of respondents reported they plan to allocate more to video
ads in 2019.
Why? Because it all comes down to visual storytelling.
Here are four reasons marketers are embracing visual storytelling as part of their 2019 strategies.
It brings digital campaigns to life
Nothing prompts a consumer to scour travel sites more than a stunning video
highlighting an exotic destination. It inspires FOMO - fear of missing out - and
that’s exactly the point.
Visual storytelling allows travel marketers to showcase
their properties and experiences through digital video ads.
By telling a story, these digital ads create excitement
among prospective and booked travelers, giving them something tangible to watch
(and replay!) when they’re counting the days until their next trip. It elicits
an emotional reaction, making it the perfect medium for potential travelers to
“We are running multi-platform campaigns to increase the
relevancy with our audience. And we are investing in digital video campaigns
mainly under an integrated communication strategy that conveys powerful,
authentic stories and intrigues our audience to find out more about our
destination,” says Lilian Moschidou, marketing director at This is Athens &
This increased consumption mixed with powerful storytelling
makes video the wave of the future - and 2019 is just the start.
It’s social by nature
A key trend for travel advertising this year is social media video. By
leveraging social channels such as Instagram and YouTube, travel marketers are
inspiring users to book both spontaneous and planned trips.
In 2019, 54% of travel marketers report that they plan on
using YouTube advertising, percent 50% plan on using Instagram Stories and
49% plan on using Facebook Stories to actively engage travelers.
With “always on” consumers who are highly mobile, social
media video is the perfect channel to inspire about where to go next - sometimes
while they’re currently on a trip!
Social media is a great way to reach consumers, because they
aren’t just consuming, they’re sharing. New discoveries are being shared with
friends and family, creating a connected ecosystem for travel marketers to
target. In fact, the airline industry is leading the charge, with airlines
allocating 12% of 2019 advertising spend towards video.
Executive Interview: Facebook
Nikhilesh Ponde, head of global travel strategy
at Facebook, speaks at Phocuswright Europe 2019
Programmatic video delivers
As consumers continue to adopt live-streaming videos and connected televisions,
travel marketers are taking a more targeted approach.
Programmatic for video allows them to define their target
market and deliver engaging video ads based on behavioral data. Given the
targeting capabilities, in 2019 travel marketers are flocking to programmatic
video to reach their audiences.
For travel marketers, programmatic is a golden opportunity
to deploy mobile-first and cross-channel video strategies.
With travelers consuming information across multiple devices,
programmatic video gives marketers access to consumers all year round, changing
what was traditionally a seasonal industry. They can now reach audiences with
messages anytime and anywhere, giving consumers inspiration to book any time of
It will continue to evolve
Travel marketers are seeing success with video, and it will certainly continue
to evolve. While many travel advertisers remain unfamiliar with connected television (CTV) advertising, about one in three plan on using CTV in 2019,
which is a 70% percent increase over 2018.
With CTV, buyers can purchase inventory from streaming
device manufacturers, programmatic platforms and broadcast networks and show
different ads to different people.
Not only is this teeing up video to become more tailored
than ever before, it’s giving marketers the power to deliver the right message
to the right audience at exactly the right time.
Consumers are connected and ready to watch what brands have
to offer - so long as it’s engaging content. In the coming year, travel
marketers will capitalize on this opportunity by taking storytelling to the
next level with robust video strategies.
About the author...
Stephen Taylor is chief revenue officer at Sojern