July has marked the tentative relaunch of international travel; with the UK announcing air bridge partnerships earlier this month. Ireland is expected to announce in the coming week; meaning it’s time to customize our digital marketing campaigns once again.
While Avvio’s latest consumer sentiment survey showed only 21% of respondents intend to travel abroad in 2020, there is still some potential for international markets in 2020. With the need to quarantine for 14 days removed, Gen Z in particular can be expected to venture to new destinations.
Here are our 10 tips to capitalise on international demand:
1) Review your budgets for international markets.
While the cost per click remains low across the hospitality industry, campaign costs are slowly returning to previous levels. Stretching your existing budget to cover the domestic AND international markets will reduce effectiveness. If you’d like to target additional countries, be prepared to assign additional budgets. As a rule of thumb, expect to spend at least €100 extra each month, per country you’d like to target.
2) Create your digital assets with your target markets in mind.
When creating Google Display Ads or Video Ads, ask yourself why this particular market has travelled to your region in the past. Is it for golf trips, local landmarks, or for city breaks? Ensure the visuals are strong, and if necessary that the currency on any pricing is relevant for the market it’s displaying in. Click here for Avvio’s display & video ad briefs.
3) Design your campaigns with relevant lead times in mind.
While COVID-19 has made a mockery of the average lead times we used to see, it’s still important to consider how lead times impact your campaigns. If you don’t anticipate a particular market travelling until September, target them in their ‘dreamer’ research phase with relevant campaigns.
4) Abandon the idea of international landing pages.
Here at Avvio, we often get asked about landing pages for specific countries, in order to have relevant information to that market. However, our AI functionality, Allora, removes the need for that. Throughout our customers’ websites’ is a recommender engine, displaying hotel information and rates customized for each market and demographic. This highly personalized experience requires minimal input from hoteliers, reducing workload and improving conversion rate in one fell swoop.
5) Analyse before you translate.
Another question our digital team often answers is ‘do my campaigns need to be translated for X market?’ Most of the time, the answer is no – English is the most common browsing language, regardless of location. However, you can check this out for yourself on Google Analytics. Select ‘Audience’ from the left-hand side menu. Click ‘Geo’, and then choose ‘Language’. This will show exactly what browser language is set for people using your site.
6) Review your offers.
Your B&B rate will most likely gain the most traction amongst an international audience. This is also a great opportunity to push longer lengths of stays. International audiences are more prone to 2 nights plus; and a way of encouraging this is using the Avvio length of stay discounting tool. This removes the need to create multiple ‘stay longer for less’ offers, and allows specific discounts on your rates, for multiple night stays.
7) Open all channels.
Google Ads is the first tactic that springs to mind for targeting international travellers. However, the strong ROI of metasearch means it cannot be ignored for any target market. Likewise, Microsoft Ads (formerly Bing) and social media are channels that cannot be ignored.
8) Leverage your databases.
If your property had a high number of international guests on the books for summer 2020, now is the time to reach out to the cancellations. Segment your database by country for the best results, and send your best performing offer via ezine. In addition to this, guests are more confident about visiting places they’ve been before (in the current climate). Capitalize on this by reaching out to past guests, to encourage them to re-visit.
9) Promote the destination; not just your property.
Potential guests – now more than ever – want to know about the local area, specifically, what can they do nearby. Building out the content on your website with activities that are safe, close by and preferably outdoors will appeal to both national & international audiences. Remember, the ease of travelling around the destination is one of the most important factors for planning trips abroad.
10) Encourage reviews & social shares from the domestic market.
One of the first things an international traveller will do when researching a stay is read recent reviews and check out your social profiles. Increase their confidence in your hotel, by having these areas full of recent, positive guest experiences.
For more information on targeting international campaigns, reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.