In what could be a breakthrough for travel agents, Facebook has launched a new marketing tool the company says will help put advertising in front of its users as they demonstrate an interest in travel.
“Trip Consideration” is a tool that allows travel industry suppliers to place ads in front of Facebook's and Instagram’s more than 300 million users, as consumers perform certain tasks on the social media platforms, like posting about travel and liking or following a travel supplier’s page.
In a post on its Facebook news page, the company described how, “When planning a vacation, relaxing on the beach or hitting the slopes may be top of mind, but in many cases, people do not know exactly where they want to travel. That's why today, we're introducing Trip Consideration to help travel advertisers reach people who have expressed intent to travel but have not yet decided where to go.”
Ads reach consumers early in trip planning process
“We built dynamic ads for travel to help advertisers reach people interested in traveling with the most relevant ads, and now, with Trip Consideration, you can reach people even earlier in the trip planning process. Trip Consideration also makes it easy for advertisers to deliver the right message with the right creative, since you can select the creative you want to show people, without having to provide a catalog.”
Experts, from travel association executives to marketing consultants, have repeatedly told agents that consumers are open to working with them to book vacations, but that agents often are absent from the consumer’s mind during the earliest consideration stages due to the agents' lack of marketing tools.
If Facebook can deliver the goods, agents may be able to use the new Facebook tool to target their clients and new customers at this critical juncture – what the marketing industry calls “the path to purchase.”
Facebook’s paid advertising move comes on the heels of their January announcement that Facebook would be reducing the percentage of users who would view unpaid posts by businesses.
Trip Consideration will allow agents, destinations and travel suppliers to “showcase deals and popular destinations to encourage people to book their next vacation at a specific destination." The company offered an example of a college student demonstrating interest in spring break at the beach “by browsing travel-related pages but has not yet settled on a specific location. Travel advertisers can now deliver ads promoting flight or hotel deals to inspire the student to book his or her trip.”
Millennials go to social for vacation ideas
“We know this type of travel discovery and trip planning is already happening across our platforms. In fact, 68 percent of Millennials found ideas for their most recent trip on Facebook, and the same is true for 60 percent of Millennials on Instagram,” the company said in its announcement.
Facebook quoted Nick Schaulsohn, director of marketing at beta-tester EF Ultimate Break, as saying, “We added Trip Consideration into our acquisition strategy and used it to drive people with travel intent into our funnel, while continuing to leverage Dynamic Ads [a separate tool launched in 2016] to drive users to book.” The combination of those tools improved the company’s conversion rate by 49 percent, Schaulsohn said.
NYC & Company, the marketing arm for New York City tourism, used Trip Consideration for its recent “True York City” campaign. “We were extremely impressed with how easy it was to use, but even more so with the results it drove. This new solution enabled us to deliver 61 percent more video views and 58 percent more link clicks, all at a 29 percent more efficient CPC [cost per click],” said Jason Berman, brand marketing managing director, at NYC & Company.
“This has been our best performing strategy to date on Facebook, and we look forward to using Trip Consideration for future campaigns.”
Trip Consideration is also available through Facebook marketing partners including Adphorus, Koddi, MakeMeReach, Smartly.io and StitcherAds. Facebook said that later this year, it will be extending Trip Consideration “to help further brand-building objectives as well.”