With a longstanding legacy of success at online marketing to live up to, travel is working with new technology and newly changing paradigms in the form of programmatic media buying. Big data, real-time bidding (RTB), and an evolving suite of sophisticated platforms and approaches mean that the tools with which ad buyers work, in 2014, stand to function at pace with marketers’ imaginations. Overall, brand spending on data-driven ad technology is up, and key travel verticals are helping to continue that trend.
Online travel agencies, airlines, and hospitality are deeply invested in programmatic, and many brands within those sectors are spending a significant portion of their marketing budget on not only maintaining their positions, but also on pushing the instruments of predictive analytics in new directions. Well-established models of targeting and retargeting are making additional space for increasingly refined up-sell opportunities and more granular product offerings. The deepening importance of mobile apps to the consumer experience is also prompting change within travel’s approach to programmatic, and video and e-mail are poised to play next-step roles.
Meanwhile, analysts say that the predictive capabilities and automation that characterize programmatic media buying are becoming increasingly intertwined with travel’s need to focus on customer relations management and a broader, deeper, and nuanced knowledge of consumers. As multi-device research and a traveler for whom mobile is now second-nature continue to define and redefine online behaviors, how to understand what is being measured — and how to accurately track and attribute different interactions with a brand to the point of conversion across multiple platforms — has never been more critical to the future of travel marketing in the digital milieu.