GetYourGuide, which has raised more than $1 billion in startup funding, needs to grow its market in the U.S. to reach its targets. A series of new TV ads may help move the needle.
GetYourGuide has been rolling out its largest brand advertising campaign in the online travel agency’s history, with plans to run national TV ads during the March Madness basketball tournament and the Academy Awards.
A 30-second TV spot had its first airing on Sunday, playing to more than 100 million American viewers during the football championship games.
The Germany-based startup wants to significantly grow in North America. Only 25% of its customers are in the U.S., while 60% are Europeans. The company said it sold 35 million tickets worldwide since last summer.
GetYourGuide created the TV and video ads in-house and tested a custom version in the UK that it said “doubled its brand awareness” there. The company didn’t reveal how much it was spending in the U.S. market on ads other than to say its ads aim to reach roughly 70% of Americans this year.
Here’s a minute-long variation on the ad, which is being customized for the U.S. market in different, shorter versions. The U.S. ad showcases local inspiration for American travelers, such as whitewater rafting in the Grand Canyon and eating a pastrami sandwich at Katz’s Deli in Manhattan.
GetYourGuide Versus Viator
The opportunity for online travel companies is to persuade travelers to book tours and activities in advance online rather than make impromptu, offline bookings in person at a destination.
“We think that experiences category is ready for primetime,” said Tao Tao, co-founder and chief operating officer of GetYourGuide. “There is still a large proportion of people who aren’t familiar [with it]. A large majority, 70%, still books offline, and we want to tap into that.”
Tripadvisor’s Viator, a U.S.-based seller of travel experiences, has had a much longer lead time in creating brand awareness in North America.
Ben Drew, president of Viator, Tripadvisor’s experiences brand, said the company was similarly investing in brand advertising in North America at a Skift Megatrends 2024 event in New York this month.
“We have this incredible opportunity to shape how travelers see this entire category,” Drew said. “It’s not just our opportunities. It’s the opportunity of every player in the experiences space.”
U.S. Versus Europe in Travel Experiences Booking
GetYourGuide’s chief marketing officer, Emil Martinsek, also noted the need to adapt the company’s marketing strategy to its different regions.
“In Europe, they travel slightly differently than in the U.S.,” said Martinsek. “For example, [European trips tend to be a bit longer, and they tend to fit in a lot more experiences. In the U.S., there’s a lot more short trips.”
Ads will also be tailored to feature relevant destinations, with Americans recently showing an uptick in booking experiences in places like Costa Rica, Cancun, and the Caribbean, he said.
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Photo credit: A person uses the GetYourGuide booking app for a kayaking trip. Source: GetYourGuide.