Search Advertising for Tourism Professionals: Seven Advantages to Engage Travelers

March 14, 2024
Hand using laptop and press screen to search Browsing on the Internet online.

Search advertising in tourism is a smart and effective way to promote a travel destination. It allows destinations to maximize their reach and advertising spend without breaking the bank — and it works, as destinations like Switzerland and Buena Park demonstrate.

Search advertising offers a strategic and measurable approach to promoting tourism in your destination by reaching potential visitors at the right moment and tailoring the message to their specific interests and needs. If it’s new territory for you, or if you just need a fresh recap of why search advertising in the tourism sector is so important, consider these seven approaches.

1. Intent-Based Targeting

Take a cue from every deli in New York City — the best time to sell umbrellas is when it’s raining. That’s when they’re looking for one. Search advertising in the tourism industry follows a very similar rationale. Aim to target travelers who are actively searching for destination-related information, when they are most likely to need a recommendation. It’s the best time to get your destination’s name in front of them. 

This intent-based targeting ensures that your ads reach travelers who are already interested in exploring potential travel options. Engage with them at this moment to raise your chances that they’ll pick you.

2. Relevance and Timeliness

Search advertising is useful because ads featuring your destination appear when travelers are actively searching for travel-related information, making the message more relevant and timely. Maybe they aren’t actively booking travel (see number 1 above) but when they have travel on the mind, it’s an optimal time to have your destination’s brand pop up in front of them.

This can increase the likelihood of capturing the travelers attention and converting them into potential visitors.

3. Geo-Targeting

It makes no sense to spend resources advertising your destination to people already in your destination, and search advertising for tourism marketers helps prevent that. Search advertising platforms offer sophisticated geo-targeting options to reach travelers based on their location. 

For destinations seeking particular groups of travelers — Canadians, for example — it’s easy to funnel your destination ads their way. This helps make sure you are reaching the travelers in the market you want to attract.

4. Budget Control

Take the guesswork out of spending on getting your message out there. Search advertising platforms typically operate on a pay-per-click (PPC) or cost-per-thousand-impressions (CPM) basis. This allows you to have control over your budget, ensuring that you only pay for actual clicks or impressions.

5. Measurable Results

While qualitative measurements are amazing to have, search advertising is a strong way to generate solid quantitative results. With performance metrics and analytics, it’s an easy way for your marketing team to track progress in a very concrete way.

In addition to tracking the effectiveness of your campaigns and measure the return on investment (ROI), search advertising for tourism professionals allows you to make data-driven decisions to optimize your strategy.

6. Mobile Optimization

More and more travel decisions are made on mobile devices. Search advertising platforms often offer options for mobile optimization, ensuring that your ads are displayed effectively on smartphones and tablets.

As the world shifts more and more away from desktops and laptops, having a strong mobile strategy will be key for destinations to stay top of mind for increasingly on-the-go travel bookers. Make sure your advertising is meeting travelers where they are.

7. Retargeting Opportunities

With retargeting strategies, destination marketers can reach users who have previously shown interest in your destination but did not complete a booking. So maybe they were clicking around your destination site before — it’s time to bring them back! This process works to re-engage potential visitors and encourage them to finalize their travel plans, ultimately leading to bookings.

Looking to allocate more advertising spending to search advertising strategies? DCI has you covered. Connect with Sumiti Gupta at [email protected] to learn more about working with our digital marketing team.

Written by

Sumiti Gupta

Director, SEM and Media