How to target tourists through paid ads

The tourism industry is rich and exciting, full of cultural knowledge, shared experiences and career opportunities for marketers.

This is true. The tourism industry we know today was largely created by advertisers. Before the 1920s, travel was a luxury only available to the rich. However, with the introduction of paid vacation time in the 1930s, travel became part of regular American life.

Advertisers quickly jumped on this trend, and Americans saw tourist ads in their favorite magazines and newspapers, making travel one of the most sought-after experiences in modern life.

Travel is more common these days than ever before. You can travel anywhere in the world in one day by high-speed trains, planes, and boats.

Modern consumers, however, don't look to print magazines for travel inspiration. Nowadays, if you want to talk to your biggest customers, you have to do it online.

10 ways to target tourists with paid ads

Creating high performing tourist ads isn't always as easy as it seems. Of course, beautiful beaches and breathtaking views grab people's attention, but it takes more than beautiful pictures to fully capture them.

In addition, the competition in this area is higher than ever. If you want to outperform your competitors, you have to stand out.

1. Use geographic targeting

The hard part in creating great tourist ads is that your target audience is often worldwide.

You could run ads in any country in the world, but that will consume a large part of your budget.

Instead, try to show your ads in specific places where you are likely to have similar audiences. This is known as geographic targeting and it helps you define where your ads will appear in order to maximize your marketing budget.

For example, you can target other tourism locations in your city or country to attract the attention of tourists who are already in your area. You can also set a larger radius to encourage passing people who may not yet know your destination.

Also, keep in mind that while you can target your tourist ads to specific locations, you can exclude locations that you know your target audience won't. For example, you may not want to target the local university during the summer break as most of the students will not be there.

Tourist Ads - Use geographic targeting

Discover the Palm Beaches in Florida who used this technique in their impressive Friends Trust Friends campaign.

By targeting a 30 mile radius of the town of Royal Palm Beach, they catered to both locals and residents as well as a lucrative off-market market. This leads to a 23 percent increase in the brand's overnight stays.

Tourist Displays - Example of Discovering the Palm Beaches

2. Address specific interests

Another way to target ads right to your target market is to focus on user interests rather than location.

This can help you serve ads to people who are already interested in similar experiences or services that you may offer.

For example, if you run a surf shack on the beach, it makes sense to run ads for people interested in surfing.

If you use Facebook ads, you can do so simply by entering relevant interests in the field provided.

Tourist ads - target specific interests

Traverse City Tourism used this technique to boost tourist traffic out of season.

They used Facebook ads to promote their cherry blossoms by targeting users who visited pages about cherry blossoms. They also created a similar audience to maximize their reach.

This excellent campaign, created by TwoSix Digital, generated more than 319,000 impressions and doubled the average click-through rate.

Tourist advertisements - example for Traverse City Tourism

3. Offer to sell

It is always a good idea to include discounts, package deals, and sales in your tourism ads.

Every month, millions of people search for travel-related keywords using tools like Ubersuggest.

The biggest trend in your search? According to Bing, quoted by the Search Engine Journal, people are looking for inspiring vacation ideas and affordable deals.

Tourist Ads - Keyword Examples

That means you have to give people what they want.

Offering special offers, family vacation packages, and flash sales can be a huge incentive for potential travelers trying to figure out their next vacation.

Plus, discounts and deals are a great way to introduce your deals to a new audience and hopefully attract more loyal customers.

Remember, discounts and offers have a downside too.

Loyal customers have a better proven ROI than new customers. While you might spend $ 5,000 to get a new customer, you might only have to spend $ 200 to keep a customer you already have.

Deliver your discounts at a reasonable price and make sure you target the right audiences to ensure your budget is spent wisely.

4. Anticipate your questions

Good customer service starts with a thorough understanding of your customers' wants and needs.

To deliver a truly exciting experience that will improve your customer loyalty, you need to anticipate customer questions and include that information on your tourist advertisements.

For example, a hotel may offer free WiFi or free breakfast options as this encourages customers to choose their seat over another.

You can also advertise convenience features, e.g. B. in the vicinity of the transit, on foot or in city tours.

Tourist Ads - Example of a Seattle hotel ad with free Wi-Fi


5. Use pictures and videos

Tourism is all about the experience and what better way to present your unique offer than with appealing video and photo assets.

Using visual content in marketing campaigns can help you connect with your audience and imagine what it is like to visit your location.

You can use photo, video, and graphic elements in your tourist ads to get these messages across.

When using videos and images in your tourist ads, make sure they are clear in context. Don't post a photo of a waterfall when promoting a kayak trip. If your tourist ad includes a video of a white sand beach, you must also include details about your hotel or service to attract the most qualified leads.

Additionally, many brands have achieved success by experimenting with dynamic visual content.

For example, Travel Alberta used a 360 video in its Facebook ads to create interactive, immersive experiences for users.

By interacting with the ad, users were able to explore fossils in historic Drumheller in Canada. You could even click around on each scene to explore the caves further.

According to Crowd Riff, these tourist ads generated 130,000 views for Travel Alberta, as well as 600 approvals and 300 comments from people who loved the campaign.

Tourist Displays - Example of travel in Alberta

6. Research your past guests to target a specific audience

Market research is essential if you want to read your audience's minds.

If you want to create truly effective tourist ads, you need to understand who your past guests are, what brought them to you, and how to attract more guests like this in the future.

For example, if you know that most of your guests are from small towns on the west coast, you can use that information to target that area.

If you are seeing an influx of visitors from neighboring cities, it may also be worthwhile to localize your marketing to better attract these customers.

This research will help you get an idea of ​​what an ordinary guest might look like. From there you can address a highly specific and relevant target group.

7. Use remarketing

As mentioned earlier, the best customers are repeat customers because it costs less to hold and you can better predict your future profits.

According to research by Frederick Reichheld of Bain & Company, increasing your retention rate by five percent can increase your bottom line by 25 percent. This is a metric worth striving for!

How can you get more long-term customers and maximize your marketing budget when creating tourist ads?

The secret is to invest in remarketing campaigns. This is a great way to reach out to people who have already shown interest in your service or location and bring them back to your business.

When remarketing tourist ads, make sure you do your research. Most tourists visit many websites to compare and check prices.

If you see a customer keep coming back to your website, it might be a good time to offer them a discount option or promote your free services.

You can also target customers who have taken certain actions, such as: B. Buying a tour pass or subscribing to your mailing list.

Remarketing strategies can help increase your conversions and sales, and build a stronger list of repeat customers.

8. Make use of user-generated content

User Generated Content (UGC) can help you get more approvals, likes, and engagement from your audience by leveraging their influence.

In tourism ads, user-created campaigns are a great way to get your brand's message across to interested audiences.

People love to post photos and videos from their travels. So why not use this trend to your advantage? Plus, it's an inexpensive advertising method that won't break your budget.

A UGC tourist ad campaign might look like it is offering discounts or incentives to users who post about your business. If you're a restaurant this might look like discounts on an invoice for users posting a photo of a specific food item. If you're a hotel, you can offer free services to users when they check in on social media.

You can also use these UGC materials on your website to show potential tourists what their experience might be like.

Visit Duluth used this tactic in its Summer Guide to Duluth campaign, which featured real-time photos and videos of tourists in a UGC gallery on their website.

Tourist Ads - Leverage User Generated Content

9. Direct traffic to landing pages

It is important that you drive your tourist ads to your website or other lead conversion points to get them to point of sale.

Creative landing pages are a great way to customize your user journeys and improve the performance of your tourist ads. Landing pages offer you additional opportunities to communicate your unique selling points, e.g. B. Free services, licenses or experiences in the area.

Visit Indy embed their landing pages in a creative tourist advertising campaign where they used video content and personalized landing pages to motivate users. For example, their "Foodie" persona was directed to a landing page that said "Things Every Indy Foodie Should Do".

The result was a threefold increase in click-through rates and a more streamlined budget for the brand.

Tourist Displays - Example of a visit to Indy

10. Use Bing

Travel and tourism are a global phenomenon. So don't just rely on a search engine to support your campaigns.

Bing is widely used by the global audience, especially when it comes to travel.

Setting up Bing advertising campaigns is often cheaper than displaying on Google. While the performance metrics aren't that high, it's worth investing a small budget in Bing so you don't miss out on new audiences.

Since competition on Google can be high, Bing offers the opportunity to outperform your competitors in creating tourist ads. According to Spinutech, Bing budgets can be 20 to 35 percent below conventional AdWords budgets.

Tourist Ads - Use Bing


As more and more people look for vacations, experiences and offers online, the importance of strategic tourism marketing will only increase.

Successful tourist ads use all aspects of your conversion funnel to best address your different audiences. Audience targeting, visual content, remarketing, landing pages, and user-generated content can help you attract audiences from around the world to your goal.

From there, it's all about delivering unique and exciting customer experiences so that your customers will come back year after year.

What other marketing tactics have you used in tourism promotion?

Consultation with Neil Patel

See How my agency can drive Firmly Traffic volumes on your website

  • SEO – Unlock massive amounts of SEO traffic. See real results.
  • Content Marketing – Our team creates epic content that is shared, links accessed and visitors drawn.
  • Paid media – effective paid strategies with a clear ROI.

Book a call


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here