Staff Writer
Aug 10, 2022

Back to take-off: Harnessing digital-first solutions amid the travel revival

After staying grounded indoors, people are ready and raring to take off to their next travel destination. Here’s how brands can tap into consumers’ renewed wanderlust with digital-first solutions.

Back to take-off: Harnessing digital-first solutions amid the travel revival
With reopened borders and loosened travel restrictions, people are raring to travel again, having regained their confidence to step back outdoors and explore places once more. It’s clear that people have been bitten by the travel bug again: flights are steadily returning to pre-pandemic levels in Southeast Asia as travellers within the region are eager to jet set with a vengeance. 
While we’re seeing a significant return to pre-pandemic activity, the past two years have changed consumer behaviours — in particular, increased (and heavy) reliance on digital channels even as people are out and about. We’re witnessing the same trend in post-pandemic travellers, where their digital behaviour is woven into their travel journey: from getting travel inspiration to planning their itinerary, booking flights and accommodation, and settling their travel essentials such as insurance and travel accessories — all while navigating their destinations throughout their trip.
With an appetite for engagement and curiosity, the possibilities are exciting for the digital-first traveller. As the travel industry is headed towards a revival, brands must understand the various ways to connect and engage with audiences eager to make the most of their next trip.
Leveraging immersive experiences through AR/VR
Throughout the pandemic, XR technologies such as AR- and VR-elevated consumer experiences while they stayed at home. Yet even today, as they confidently venture out of their homes, these rich interactive experiences that let consumers take a more active role are here to stay. A Yahoo study showed that 66% of consumers are more likely to remember brands and content that use innovative technologies.
Brands can leverage these AR/VR technologies not just as a replacement for physical travel but one that enhances their desire. These don’t have to be a massive undertaking either — think of a web-based AR that lets creatives come to life, such as a tourist attraction that pops up before consumers with a QR code scan or a “try before you buy” activation with holiday wear or luggage. And when paired with 8D sound effects, these create a multisensory experience that fully engages consumers, compelling them to make that booking and purchase.
Omnichannel campaigns: taking prospective travellers throughout the entire journey
Consumers now have various screens in front of them, each serving its purpose from the home to when they step out. Even as they continue to be glued to their mobile, tablet, or desktop screens, consumers are now exposed to outdoor ads when they’re on their way to work or play — paving the way for new omnichannel possibilities.
An omnichannel strategy that pairs various digital channels with digital out of home (DOOH) bridges the online-offline gap, meets consumers where they are, and inspires them to take action at the right time. The evolution of DOOH now enables marketers to use premium real estate across billboards and street signage in more flexible and innovative ways alongside all other digital channels within a single unified platform.
And as programmatic powers these omnichannel strategies, its capabilities go beyond automated buying into helping connect the dots, complete a consumer’s purchase journey, and serve ads that resonate with them. A hot day? Transport audiences to a cool place with high-impact visuals; ditto on alluring them with tropical getaways on grey, rainy days. Want to make sure you close the loop for conversions? Use enhanced targeting tools that allow you to reach users on their mobile and desktop devices after they have been exposed to your DOOH ads. You can even further fine-tune these ads towards specific audiences in particular locations and timings — images and visuals of a luxurious resort would do well during high-traffic working hours in the CBD area, for example.
Branded content: Fostering desired actions through strong brand impact
Higher brand impact leads to higher intention. When you can capture audiences’ attention in premium, trusted environments, consumers feel more confident in making purchase decisions. An Omnibus Brand Love Report shows that great branded content can foster higher affinity among audiences by 14%. Another Kantar third-party study found that branded content led to a higher ad association on Yahoo Ad Tech by 110%, with a 70% greater purchase intent.
Consumers patronise high-value content on trusted platforms. Just when people are especially eager to search for travel inspiration and more information for their first post-Covid getaways, taking advantage of branded content can be especially useful during this period.
Higher intent matters in making certain travel-related purchase decisions, especially when you’re trying to sell a luxury experience, or even educate them on the essentials that require further attention such as travel insurance.
Compelling, personalised ads and creatives
Yahoo research shows 88% of people see the benefit of personalised ads. When your audiences know you are talking to them, they are more likely to take action. For instance, programmatic tools can help you perform a more incisive and personal approach: from search retargeting to Dynamic Creatives, Dynamic Product Ads, and leveraging real-time data and insights that accelerate campaign optimisation.
Quality visuals, striking text, and CTA buttons further push people down the funnel. Another way to create a seamless experience is through native advertising — effectively helping brands cut through the noise and drive action and conversions. Native ads create a more cohesive and seamless browsing experience for audiences, with a Yahoo study showing that 46% of users preferred native ads over digital ad formats. Meanwhile, 79% said they liked ads that blended into the page.
For upper-funnel branding, high-impact formats like video and full-screen mobile ads complement the user’s scrolling interaction while immediately capturing their attention — a Yahoo analysis of mobile ads found that native video ads drive 57% higher brand awareness than other video formats. Meanwhile, native ads such as Mobile Moments can offer up to an 80% lift in unaided brand awareness than standard banner ads. As for lower-funnel conversion, in-stream native ads that are instantly actionable, leading to product pages or shoppable content, help shoppers decide and shorten the path to purchase without being intrusive.
Curating content and shopping experiences while abroad
Your ability to reach travellers does not end after they have planned and booked their trip; it continues even while they’re vacationing at their destination. Travellers are eager to take in the sights and the sounds of their destinations once abroad. This includes indulging in one-of-a-kind experiences (such as booking a vacation activity on the spot) and even taking home mementos that remind them of a trip — even more so as they fulfil a long pent-up demand for travel.
Tailored brand experiences appeal to travellers already in the right mindset, driving inspired purchase decisions and a more fulfilling travel experience. Yahoo’s recent partnership with Marriott International to power the Marriott Media Network allows brands to reach users across Marriott’s owned channels that include their in-room television and digital screens. This allows brands to upsell their experiences while travellers are already at their destinations and in the mood to make the most of their trips — or even inspire them for their next holiday.
The demand for travel is taking flight. For brands, it pays off significantly to meet audiences where they are and amplify their desire for travel, connecting to the passion points that strike a chord the most through digital possibilities. 
Get in touch with Yahoo today and explore a suite of solutions that will help you create high-impact campaigns and compelling experiences that lead audiences to desired actions.

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