Digital

Using Smart Ad Tech to Reach the New Silent Traveler

Jul 28, 2014 5:30 am

Skift Take

The silent traveler is the travel consumer who turns to their mobile devices first, seeking solution to in-trip challenges that used to be the primary domain of customer- service staff. We look at the important opportunities they now present to travel brands that can adapt to their dynamic and evolving expectations.

— Jason Clampet

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mroach  / Flickr

Mobile-only checkin from Air Canada. mroach / Flickr


Earlier this month, we released our new report, “The Rise of the Silent Traveler: Reaching Out to the Mobile-First Travel Consumer” on the new generation of mobile first consumers, and how travel brands need to understand their needs.

Below is a short extract. Get the full report to understand this new trend.

When we talk about placing digital ads on the screens of travelers at the right time and in the right place, we’re typically talking about that happening during the planning stages of a traveler’s trip. But the underlying ideas of algorithmic and location-sensitive systems — the kind that drive the programmatic space, for example — have applications in tourism’s effort to reach the silent traveler in-destination.

“It’s the hospitality industry’s and the tourism industry’s opportunity to serve clients digitally, while they’re in the market, right now,” said Cree Lawson, founder and CEO of Arrivalist. “But if they don’t act quickly, sites like Yelp and local advertising agencies, and local media companies, are going to swarm in and take the opportunities away from the hospitality marketers and the tourism boards — who have previously served the in-market traveler.”

An example of how travel can find its way to the mobile-savvy consumer starts in Atlantic City. Lawson and company spearheaded what he refers to as connected-traveler ads — proprietary ad-targeting tech that delivers impressions to tourists in a destination, specifically individuals who are not residents.

Arrivalist’s mobile ad-work in New Jersey included an offer of a free T-shirt at a nearby visitor center — and this was the only way the offer was broadcast. As travelers entered the center and asked for a shirt, the staff tracked names and the number of promotions claimed. One month later, Arrivalist measured the results. There had been hundreds of click-throughs on the ad, each revealing the offer, but at the visitor center, significantly more — in excess of 1,100 — shirts had been given out. Turns out the ad recipients had spread word of the promotion to others, to consumers that the digital impression had never reached.

“What we did not anticipate was the power of word-of-mouth from the people who saw the original ad,” said Lawson. “The word-of-mouth multiplier was about five times the number of people who saw the ad and walked in and requested a T-shirt.”

In this way, activating the silent traveler is a strategy that ad-tech using brands stand to explore further, and with which they can potentially extract further value from a given campaign.

“The silence we’re assuming, when it comes to this kind of traveler, is between the industry and the individual, not between two separate individuals,” Lawson said. “The person may be a very vocal traveler to other travelers, even if they are silent with the hotel at which their staying.”

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