Do you have a plan of attack for your travel ads on Facebook? Or is your approach more scattergun? Sure engagement is great, but are you successfully finding and building an audience that is interested in your destination that you can move from awareness to consideration to booking?
If not, it’s time to rethink your Facebook advertising strategy – and a great place to start is with the Five Stages of Travel.
Originally identified by Google, the Five Stages of Travel outlines the travel experience into 5 key stages. As travellers spend more time researching their upcoming trips on mobile and especially on social media, it’s essential that your content is available in these moments.
These stages are:
Here’s a recap of the Five Stages of Travel and a few of our favourite Facebook tools to utilise within each stage of the journey!
These are the ‘I want to get away moments.’ The traveller may not have a destination in mind yet, and they are looking for options and ideas. They want to be inspired.
Our favourite Facebook Tools for Dreaming
- Trip Consideration – Facebook has recently released ‘Trip Consideration’ as a new target to help reach people in the dreaming phase. When you select this audience to target, you are showing your ads to people who plan to travel, they have shown travel intent, but have not yet expressed intent for a specific destination. We are actively testing this new targeting and it’s already showing promising results!
- Brand Awareness campaign with Video Ads – Video is a powerful tool to inspire travelers to visit your location. Also Facebook Video ads are still – hands down – the most cost effective ad campaigns, so they are always our go-to to help clients be present and inspire travelers to come to their destination. You can optimise these campaigns for brand awareness, impressions, reach or video views depending on your goals. The best part is, you can retarget people who watch your videos to move them from dreaming to planning.
These are the ‘time to make a plan’ moments. This is when the traveler narrows down exactly when and where to go. Generally it’s this stage that hotels and airlines are very active advertisers!
Our favourite Facebook Tools for Planning
- Carousel Ads – Carousel ads are great because they allow you to showcase multiple features and ideas within one ad unit. For example, let’s say you want to showcase a popular 5 day itinerary within your region. The carousel allows you to visualise each day and destination in the journey with its own image, link, and text, driving the potential traveler to the website to continue their planning.
It’s time to lock it in! This is the let’s book it in moment. Generally advertisers are very good at creating these ads, but from our experience, getting the dreaming and planning campaigns right before showing a booking ad will significantly increase your chance of conversion.
Our favourite Facebook Tool for Booking:
Dynamic Advertising – If someone visited your site but didn’t book, dynamic ads for travel will automatically follow up with a relevant ad to promote an offer to people most likely to book. Whilst dynamic ads are commonly used by hotels and airlines with success, destination marketers now also have the opportunity to run dynamic ads for destinations – and they are delivering results! These ads are super powerful, because you only set them up one, can reach people across multiple devices, and they are always on.
I like to call this the ‘let’s do it’ moment. This is when the traveler is on the ground, at your location, ready to experience it all.
Maximising the customer’s experience whilst they are at the destination is almost as critical as getting them there in the first place! Now that you’ve got them there, it’s time to make sure that they have a fantastic time and leave with a smile on their face.
Our favourite Facebook Tool for Experiencing:
- Targeting people ‘Traveling in this Location’ – Facebook is one of the only channels that allows you to target people who are currently travelling in your location! With this targeting, you can target people who are currently in your location but whose home is 125+ miles away. This is a great tool to target people currently there with more information about tours, attractions, offers, and events happening now.
Whether it be during the trip or after, the power of mobile allows travelers to share their experiences in real time and inspire others. It’s only natural that if you’re having a great time, you want to share your trip with others… or potentially brag a bit about not being in the office that week! Either way, it’s essential that you allow people to share their experiences via social media and curate stories to inspire other travelers in the dreaming phase.
Our favourite Facebook Tool for Experiencing
- Engagement Campaigns – Some of our most engaging content for clients has been engagement campaigns featuring user-generated stories or shares. These ‘ads’ work because they don’t look and feel like ads, they feel like your best friend’s travel diary. Even better – use video. Engagement campaigns are a great, low-cost campaign to test your best performing creative and find out what would be suit a reach campaign – so you can start the cycle over again, inspiring new travellers with your most engaging, user-generated content.