Whether it’s chilling in a new city or savoring new cultures and cuisines, travelers simply want to check out of their busy lives. Except the trip planning journey is anything but relaxing, and the effortful process can weaken bookings and profits for your travel brand.
Our research shows that across APAC, the top motivation for travel is relaxation, unwinding, and de-stressing.1 Yet the process of getting there is often taxing and time-consuming.
Having grown accustomed to experiences of uncertainty in travel, especially during the pandemic, people are now spending more time planning their trips and deliberating over decisions at every stage.
Travelers relax when they’re confident about their booking decisions, and you can power this “confidence shift” for them with AI-driven marketing.
We found that 81% of people spend either the same amount of time or longer at each stage, compared with before the pandemic. Many take between three to four months to go from dreaming about their next trip to actually having it organized.2
In addition, they use at least seven touchpoints at every stage of planning, including Google, Google Maps, YouTube, travel agent sites, and trip review sites. And on average, they consider a total of 16 brands across airlines, accommodation, and activities.3
Travelers, clearly, relax when they’re confident about their booking decisions. And when your brand creates the “confidence shift” by helping them go from wondering to knowing and making confident decisions with less effort, you open the door to growth and profits.
A new AI-powered web application, Travel Planner, for example, aims to make trip planning such a fun and effortless experience that it’s as if its users were talking to a well-traveled friend who’s helping them plan their trip. After users share conversationally about their travel interests and preferences, the chatbot-based web application, developed by the Google Partner Innovation Team, generates personalized travel itineraries.
Your brand can also power the “confidence shift” among travelers, at speed and scale, with Google AI-powered marketing. The following three examples from leading travel brands show how AI-powered solutions for travel advertising helped them analyze insights, predict their most valuable customers, and generate the most relevant information for travelers, driving conversions throughout travel journeys.
How Scoot met travelers’ needs across various channels
Scoot, a Singapore-based low-cost airline, wanted to meet travelers’ needs with timely, relevant information to drive incremental conversions.
To understand what travelers were looking for in the first place, Scoot paired the Google AI-powered Performance Max with its Search campaigns to analyze traveler intents and preferences at scale and speed. This allowed it to identify new search queries that were not covered by its existing keywords, and new segments of customers it could engage across Google’s full suite of channels like Search, YouTube, Display, Discover, and Gmail.
By pairing these AI-driven ad solutions, Scoot was also able to deliver ad creatives with information relevant to people’s travel intent, and help them feel confident about making bookings. Additionally, it could optimize towards valuable and potential consumers, whichever channel they were on, to drive incremental conversions at scale.
By pairing Performance Max with Search campaigns, Scoot had:
Following the incremental success from pairing Performance Max with Search campaigns, Scoot is exploring rolling out Performance Max in 11 additional markets.
How Minor Hotels helped travelers make considered bookings
With 500 properties across six continents, Minor Hotels, an international hotel chain based in Thailand, wanted a simple setup to drive consideration and direct bookings from travelers at scale.
It used the newly launched Performance Max for travel goals to help it create ads for its various properties efficiently, and deliver them to the right potential guests across Google’s full range of advertising channels and inventory, including Google Maps, Search, and YouTube.
The AI-powered ad solution drew on creative assets from the chain’s existing online listings to come up with suggested messages and assets for promoting each property, and provided recommendations on budget optimization for each property as well. Minor Hotel’s marketers then used their expertise to decide on the creative assets that were the best fit, and the most strategic booking goals and budget for the campaign.
Using the full power of Google AI, the ad solution also helped Minor Hotels identify new potential guests looking for properties like those of its own across Google channels. It then delivered the best performing, visually-rich ads to them at scale and at the right frequency to help them feel confident about making a booking.
By using Performance Max for travel goals, Minor Hotels saw:
How Virgin Australia showed up for travelers’ every query
Virgin Australia wanted to connect with travelers and provide them with information customized to whatever they were searching for, so it used Google AI-powered Search solutions.
With broad match, the Australia-based airline was able to connect its travel offerings to potential customers with related queries based on their search intent, and not just those whose searches match exact keywords. And with responsive search ads, it was able to create and serve ads with messages that more closely matched travelers’ search queries.
It also used value-based bidding to help it connect with its most valuable customers and optimize its ads and bidding strategy in real time to get better returns.
By using Google AI-powered Search solutions, Virgin Australia achieved:
Your travel brand can give people what they want: a relaxing trip from the get-go, by helping them make confident decisions at every stage of their travel journeys. And when you do this with AI-driven marketing, you can see your bookings and returns soar.
Are you set up for success with AI? Find out using the Google Ads AI Essentials checklist.
Contributor: Sam Yatish, Marketing Manager, Travel Ads APAC, Google