Just the ticket: How a travel agency successfully targeted the right audience with Smart Bidding

Exim Tours a.s. wanted to convert their audience into soon-to-be travelers by targeting them with the right offer at the right time. The agency achieved just that by switching to a Smart Bidding campaign, which increased conversions by 23%.

For holiday-goers in Europe, there are endless options for travel. Whether for weekend escapes or month-long excursions, there are hundreds, maybe thousands of holiday destinations, hotels and price ranges that customers can choose from.

Just the ticket: How a travel agency successfully targeted the right audience with Smart Bidding

Perhaps no business is more aware of this fact — or the challenges that come with it — than Exim Tours, the biggest travel agency in Czechia. Opening in the summer season of 1993, the company has spent the last quarter century expanding its market, both in the Czech Republic as well as abroad in Poland, Slovakia, and Hungary. They are currently the number-one seller in the region, providing standard holiday trips to long-favoured destinations like the Mediterranean countries, Egypt or Tunis, as well as less-common, more adventurous excursions to Kenya or Tanzania.

But while this comprehensive selection of holiday travel benefits a wide range of customers, it also creates a challenge — how can the agency deliver the most relevant offers to the most interested audience, and ultimately contribute to the business goal of maximising holidays purchased?

Preparing for take off

Working together with their agency partner H1.cz, Exim Tours used a performance model that allows the agency to try new things to make sure they’re performing at their top potential. When they were given the option of trying out Smart Bidding, they A/B tested the solution with such positive results that they soon decided to switch the account. The solution uses machine learning to optimise bids to maximise conversions, automating previously manual and time-consuming processes for more effective and efficient campaigns.

Just the ticket: How a travel agency successfully targeted the right audience with Smart Bidding

To prepare for this change, Exim Tours bundled their campaigns together to streamline their campaign management, paring them down from fifty to twelve. To ensure that the algorithm was supplied with enough historical data to function effectively, they used Google Analytics and measured soft-targets in activation campaigns — which they identified as most likely to convert.

Armed with an informed algorithm and streamlined campaign model, Exim Tours switched to Smart Bidding with three strategies: maximise the click-through rate (CTR) for acquisition campaigns, maximise conversions for the performance model, and target the cost-per-action (CPA) for dynamic remarketing.

Reaching their destination

The switch to Smart Bidding has really paid off for Exim Tours, with their conversions going up by 23%, resulting in a 19% YoY increase in revenue for the company as a whole. Furthermore, the switch to Smart Bidding has resulted in significant time savings; now their marketing specialists can better focus on strategic thinking, analyses, and measuring results.

As a further benefit, Exim Tours has been able to leverage remarketing data from the Smart Bidding campaigns to drive increased, low-cost visits to their website. By creating remarketing lists based on site visitors who didn’t ultimately convert, the marketing team could then use these lists to inform a new TrueView for action campaign in parallel to the Smart Bidding campaigns, launched in the beginning of 2019.

Just the ticket: How a travel agency successfully targeted the right audience with Smart Bidding

Overall, the success of Smart Bidding has left the organisation with increased confidence in new, automated solutions, paving the way to future adoption of innovative tools and services.

By having reached their performance goals, Exim Tours is free to focus on increasing upper-funnel communication and campaigns, which will potentially fuel their success even further.

How automation can help drive action across complex user journeys