Walk around London any time and you’ll see plenty of high profile destination advertising plastered on the capital’s famous London buses, tube trains and black cabs.
While it may impress the tourism minister to see his country’s beautiful creative sliding by the Houses of Parliament or through Trafalgar Square, does it work?
The days of such unmeasured, untargeted marketing by destinations should be numbered thanks to latest performance tracking technology that can prove the economic impact of campaigns.
That’s the unsurprising assertion from Adara, the big data insights marketing platform, that expanded its Impact Suite to destinations outside of north America at World Travel Market.
Adara says its booking data from airline, hotel and metasearch sites, as well as 160 million traveller profiles in Europe from among its 450 million total, can now prove if destination marketing pays off.
Ted Sullivan, Adara vice-president tourism and resort analytics, said in his previous agency roles he always had to justify marketing activity to have budgets approved.
He said introducing this sort of professional rigour to destination management companies and tourist boards was why he joined Adara.
“We had to get early adopters to believe in it and do the research but finally we can help destinations track their media down to economic impact, to hotels and flights booked based on what they did on social and digital channels,” he said.
“Globally destinations only spend 2% of budget on research and analytics which is very low compared to other sectors. There is always a place for an integrated marketing strategy. There is no way you can track everything but you should track what you can.”
Adara believes a more scientific approach by destinations will not only justify what is often the spending of public money, but could also help to unlock bigger budgets.
Scott Garner, Adara president, data and analytics, said: “This has always been a challenge for the tourism industry.
“It represents about 10% of world economic activity and yet the marketing that goes on is a relatively small part of that. The reason is the tourism industry has not been able justify how good their marketing is.
“Now they can tie their marketing to real conversion, real bookings. Are people actually travelling is as important to that equation as which of my marketing partners are delivering the best performance.
“Destinations may be working across a dozen different marketing partners across any digital channels, social, video and mobile and we can track performance based on real bookings and attribute that to a media partner.”
Adara insight could prove that posters on public transport or at high-profile outdoor advertising spots do actually work, or that other channels and affiliate partnerships offer greater efficiency for destinations’ marketing spend.
Impact Suite is being used by 48 clients in north America and Adara said it has attracted interest from the likes of Spain, Singapore and London since the international roll out.
Garner said in the US a campaign in Virginia that increased the average stay from just 1.1 nights saw that rise to 2.7 nights by promoting “Thursday is the new Saturday” was seen to work due to Adara tracking.
Insight found that marketing content promoting food and wine worked better than family-focussed promotions and visitors exposed to this creative spent an average $40 more on their hotel stay per night.
Adara charges an annual subscription for Impact Suit based on the number of impressions and number of media partners. It consists of two standalone applications: Adara Media Impact and Adara Site Impact (see below for an explanation).
It says pricing has been kept simple and reasonable because it is something destinations are not used to and it is going after market share.
Garner said: “Every destination needs to have a product like Impact Suite to drive their marketing. We can also track bookings that are relevant to people who have visited the destination’s website.
“Today they really have no idea how that website influences visitors. They cannot see whether people went on to book. We can match activity to people who have spent time on their website to evaluate how well it performs.”
Adara has also started rating consumer, on a scale of 100 to 800, for their long-term value to clients. This allows them to assess how much it is worth spending to attract a booking that might lead to future business.
Garner said: “If you spend $35 to get a hotel booking and you never see that customer again, that’s not as good as spending $40 for a customer who will buy five hotels stays over the next five months. It’s hard to understand the quality of the consumer at the moment.”
Traveller Value Score can be used by firms to evaluate the media the company is buying and inform their own internal direct response marketing, retargeting and customer service.
“Someone may fly once a year, but has a very high TVS so you may want to talk to them differently,” Garner said. “Today they can only use the data they have themselves. You are never going to see all hotel business and airline transactions applicable to that customer.”
Adara Media Impact
Finally, with ADARA Media Impact you can measure all digital media sources to identify which partners and channels are driving actual travel searches and bookings. Identify overlaps between media partners to minimize inefficient media spend. Explore the types of travelers that respond to your campaigns and visit your destination. Use these insights to drive your marketing strategy, optimize campaigns and streamline budget allocation.
Adara Site Impact
ADARA Site Impact directly connects your website visitors to revenue generating activities important to your business. With a clear understanding of how your website influences your visitors, advanced knowledge of who these travelers are, how they are booking, how much hotel revenue they drive, and more – ADARA Site Impact demystifies your questions around how and where travelers spend money.
- Understand the 360 view of your website visitors. Gain insights into their full range of activities beyond your website.
- Create more powerful, effective experiences based on real data and insights.
- Quantify the value of website (digital) investments to inform and optimize marketing strategies and make your website investments work harder for you