Tour Operator Bus Digital Marketing
Digital marketing has changed the face of the tourism and travel industry. When utilized to its full potential, it can drive a fantastic ROI, but not done wisely, and you can waste a lot of time and money. Below are 6 great tips to take your tourism and travel digital marketing ads to the next level.

1. Adjust your offering and bids based on target demographics and seasonality patterns

A spring break vacation to Mexico campaign is aiming at a very different target audience than an Alaskan cruise or a Nappa valley retreat. It’s key to personalize your campaigns to match your target’s intent and increase your odds at closing the sale:

Use audiences to refine your ads to match a customer’s intent:

There are different types of audiences you can target within Google ads:

  • Affinity audiences: this type of audience is based on a general profile and what a user likes, not necessarily what they are looking for at this exact moment. These audiences would be best for branding and spontaneous traveling with deals and discounts.

affinity audience

  • In-Market Audiences: theses audiences are people actively looking to purchase. They are at the end of the sales cycle:

in market audience

  • Demographics audiences: remember the spring break vacation package we talked about above? The audience below would be a great one to use for this vacation:

demographics audience

You can use these audiences either as “observation” which won’t affect your ads if you want to just collect data on potential performance, or as “targeting” which will impact your ads and bids performance.

You should change bids based on best performing locations, days/hours for your specific services:

  • Increase bids when your sales team is in.
  • Reduce bids from midnight to 8am (for example)
  • Find out when your customers convert most. People usually convert better on Monday mornings and Friday mornings
  • Ordinarily, we advise to only target “People in your targeted locations,” and exclude “People in your excluded locations.” But for tourism and travel advertisers, that won’t always hold true. You may want to reverse these settings to focus on people outside of your immediate geographic area. You could even exclude locals if you really cater mostly to a traveling set of people. (These settings can be accessed by clicking on a campaign, then “Settings,” then “Locations.”)

Create bidding strategies based on campaign objectives:

Not every campaign has the same objective so make sure to tweak the campaign bidding strategies accordingly:

Google Ads campaign objectives

2. Tracking Phone Calls is Key to success

Online bookings have grown exponentially over the last few years. However, phone calls remain a very common way of converting customers, especially for some specific demographics. People may have questions they want answered before buying, and a phone call is a great touchpoint and a way to create trust.

Mobile devices are taking a bigger portion of search on a daily basis. To address this change. you can set up a phone number straight in your ad copy which helps convert users doing their research on a phone. You can also use call tracking services to track calls made from your website and attribute it to the proper channel. Passing that conversion data to the proper Google Ads campaign is key for accurate ROI attribution and optimization of these campaigns.

call tracking There are loads of call tracking solutions out there, but we have been fans of Callrail for a long time.

3. Use a chat system and Chatbots

Similarly to call tracking trends, more and more businesses use chat services to connect with potential customers. Using a chat system helps answer questions quickly, be an always-on touchpoint, and help drive sales. According to Forbes, 77% of customers have improved perceptions of a business after chatting with them online.

On top of a regular chat service, we recommend using a chatbot system that uses AI to answer frequently asked questions outside of working hours.

4. Optimize ad copy and ad extensions to captivate your audience and capture their intent

Ad copy is what makes a user click on your ad versus your competitors. It’s your 3 seconds to shine to convince users to come to your site so here are a few tips to follow:

  • Adjust ad copy to reflect seasonality and demographics. The more personalized the better.
  • Include the target keyword in the headline. You can use Dynamic Keyword Insertion to ensure that the search keywords are present in your ad copy.
  • Include numbers e.g. starting prices for tours etc…
  • Drive urgency by showing deadlines for deals and promotions: use the “countdown” timer to automatically update the numbers of days/hours left on the special offer.
  • Show social proof by displaying the number of travelers you’ve served, numbers of tours booked, numbers of positive reviews you received…
  • Include a call-to-action e.g. “Book tour now”
  • Use campaign specific ad extensions as opposed to account-wide extensions to make each campaign more personalized and relevant to the users search intent. Extensions we recommend using are:
    • Sitelink extensions
    • Call-out extensions
    • Structured snippet extension such as “destination”, “featured hotels”, “shows”, “styles”, “types”
    • Call extension
    • Lead form extension
    • Message extension
    • Location extension
    • Price extension
    • Promotion extension.

Google ad extensions

5. Landing Pages

Landing pages are where all the efforts of organizing campaigns neatly, personalizing ad copy and optimizing the settings and bids need to work together. Poorly designed landing pages can throw all of your hard work away and turn people off from purchasing. Here are some tips to make your landing pages work:

  • Relevance: Once a person has clicked on your ad, they need to be taken to a landing page that is relevant to their search. Don’t send a user to a generic page or a cruise page when they were looking for a yoga retreat.
  • Speed: People’s attention span is getting shorter and shorter with every day passing. If your landing page takes a long time to load, it will significantly reduce your conversion rate. Big photos, auto-play videos can reduce the loading time dramatically, especially on a mobile device.
  • Trust: Your visitors may not know your brand. You have a few seconds to make them trust you to book their tour/vacation. Your landing page should include: customer reviews, star rating from trusted 3rd party like yelp or trip advisor, credit card trust symbols, any badges like “certificate of excellence” as well as any charitable actions such as “we give back to the community”, “ X beach clean-ups organized”, “x% of profit go to “x” and “y” organization”.
  • Design: The page should be visually pleasing with a simple call to action placed above the fold or near the top. Photos and videos should be high quality and be included to make people dream about the vacation or entice them to take that tour (while keeping the size of images in mind for speed of course). Responsive design that functions on all devices and in all browsers is key. All the important information regarding the tour/vacation should be clearly highlighted (dates, price, what it includes etc…).

6. Sub-types of campaigns

On top of the classic search and display campaigns, there are some other types of campaigns that work quite well for the Tourism and Travel industry:

  •  Layer Search and Display with Remarketing

The Tourism and Travel industry is very competitive and travelers are savvy and always looking for the best vacation/tours for their limited time off and money. What that translates to in terms of search behaviour is that people may not book the first time they come to your site; they will most likely leave and check your competitors before making their final decision.

The best way to capitalize on this trend is to use remarketing to stay top of mind at a low cost.

  • Using remarketing for search, we can rank ad in a higher position for cheaper next time they search.
  • Using remarketing for display campaigns, we will be able to showcase the brand, deals and discounts at a very cheap cost.


  • Display campaigns with a CPA bidding Strategies

If you sell tours and vacation packages, you must have a maximum cost per acquisition you are willing to pay for a booking. With that number in mind, you can create display campaigns with a “Pay per conversion” strategy, meaning you will only pay once a person clicks on your ad and actually converts. This can be a great strategy to get tons of impressions for free and only pay when converting.

  • YouTube:

Travel is all about emotions and experiences. A video can convey these much more efficiently than a picture. Creating some YouTube ads can be a great way to showcase your tours and trips at a very cheap cost per view (usually around $0.05).

Video campaigns can also be a great way to target specific YouTube Channels of popular Vloggers, big brands (GoPro) and local channels (Tourism Offices, Destination BC, Destination Canada etc…).

  • Google Ads For Hotels

If you manage a hotel, make sure to sign up for Google Hotel Ads for extra functionalities.

 Final thoughts and extra tips:

When it comes to digital marketing, careful preparation and execution are key. Applying the tips above will help with your conversion rate and make the most out of your advertising budget.  It is a lot to digest but it will be worth your effort.