How Travel Brands Can Boost Business With Native Ads This Summer

Travel content marketing

There’s one place every traveler visits before going anywhere – the internet.

According to Adobe research, 78% of travelers say that informative content provided by travel brands influences their purchase decision, while 46% said that travel ads have the same effect. And when you think that native advertising is actually a combination of advertising AND content, you get a sense of just how powerful native ads can be for travel brands and service providers.

You don’t have to be an airline or hotel chain to leverage your brand with native advertising. Native advertising platforms offer an effective way to promote your travel business of any size on the world’s best publisher sites. You can even choose to promote your ads in the travel sections of major publishers.

But, remember – your target audience is not just reading the travel section. Your audience has other interests too. With native ads, you can use those other interests to get your brand message across. Let’s take a look at this and other ways travel brands can use native advertising to boost their summer results:

Cross-Targeting: Capture Your Customer’s Attention from Other Directions

With cross-targeting, travel brands can attract customers who are interested in other topics besides travel. For example, if you are selling tours to Ireland, why not target Game of Thrones fans with an article titled “Follow the Game of Thrones Film Shoot in Ireland on a 4-Day Trail ”?

That’s exactly what Tourism Ireland did in a native ad campaign targeted to German tourists. The campaign was a huge success: +335% dwell time on, +67% increase in pages per session, and 33% drop in bounce rate compared to display ads. This is a great example of the way you can cross-target native ads to your customers’ other interests, in order to drive engagement with your travel brand.


Mobile: Where Travel is Happening

Did you know that in 2017, 40% of travel bookings were done via mobile phone? Mobile phones are the #1 choice for online activity, and the travel category is no exception. As consumers continue to flock to mobile usage, travel brands have no choice but to keep up. That’s why it is critical for marketers in the travel category to focus their campaigns on mobile, not just desktop.

Take a look at this example of Hg2, a high-end publisher of sophisticated, independent travel guides and a magazine covering everything about travel, from hotels to restaurants, coffee, and shopping. When Hg2 wanted to promote their new iPhone app, they launched a native advertising campaign designed to create brand awareness and increase app downloads.

The campaign was targeted only to people who might be interested in travel, and only to people accessing the content with their iPhones, rather than desktop or Android devices. The highly targeted campaign brought fantastic results: over 2 weeks, the native ad campaign delivered 16,239 clicks and a 17% increase in app downloads.

hg2 magazine

Native & Interactive – The Ideal Combination for the Travel Category

What is travel all about? Discovering new experiences, cultures, tastes, and sounds. It’s about giving in to curiosity and adventure. In short, travel is the perfect category for a range of colorful, interactive online content, such as image carousels, video, and visual stories.

A defining characteristic of native advertising is an inherent ‘soft sell’ approach. Advertisers don’t use native ads to directly promote their product. Rather, they capture the customer’s interest with relevant content and tie it into their offering in a subtle way. This is what makes native advertising so effective. And when it’s combined with interactive content that engages the reader, it’s even more effective.

Check out this fantastic example from Airbnb. At first glance, this native content is not even about travel. It’s about the history of Ellis Island in New York. But if you read a bit closer, you’ll see it touches on some interesting travel-related themes, part of Airbnb’s ‘Night At’ marketing campaign, which gives people an experience of spending a night at a particular destination. This beautifully designed native ad is experiential, visually stimulating and interactive, giving the reader a few moments of fascinating escape – the perfect recipe to engage travel enthusiasts.


Interactive Gets Results recently ran an Outbrain campaign aimed at boosting registration rates in their new vacation rental properties service. One of the landing pages featured in the campaign included a dynamic “how much can you earn” calculator, showing prospective property owners how much money they can make by renting out their home or apartment to vacationers.

The results were impressive: 35% increase in CVR of audiences completing the registration process. Check out the full case study here.

Native Video – Travel Content that’s Going Places

More than half of marketers say that video gives them the best ROI. That might be because the average user spends nearly 90% more time on a website with video compared to websites without. The statistics are clear – video is king. And that is true of native video as well.

Native video is another great way for travel brands to engage customers. Why? Because video supports two key aspects of travel: visual engagement and story. You don’t need to spend enormous resources creating video especially for native. With a few small tweaks, you can repurpose your marketing videos for the native format, and promote them via native ad campaigns.

If you do feel inclined to invest in new videos for your native campaigns, check out this cool use of video by Intrepid, an Australian-based travel agency. The company has its own YouTube channel, where it posts videos about every aspect of travel – destinations, recommendation, inspiration and themed video series, such as “Sailing Adventures” or “Discover Australia.” Rich video experiences such as these, promoted natively to a targeted audience, can do a great job of boosting your brand lift and CVR.

In the travel category, native advertising has definitely arrived. Last year, travel was the fastest growing sector in native advertising, second only to the automotive category. Check this out – there was a 519% jump in native ad spend by airlines and a 222% increase by hotel brands.

Yet these incredible numbers didn’t happen in a vacuum. They reflect a broader trend. The travel industry is booming, with $1.6 trillion spent globally on bookings last year alone! And that’s good news for all travel brands – big and small.


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