Facebook has been extremely busy expanding its presence in the travel space over the past year. Last year saw the launch of City Guides, a tool that lets Facebook users discover hotels, restaurants, tours and activities based on the recommendations of their friends.
The company also began letting users leave comments and traditional star reviews on the hotel page, and started providing local recommendations to its users when they visited a new destination.
Now Facebook is rolling out another new advertising feature called Trip Consideration. It’s designed to let advertisers reach people right at the start of the travel journey—specifically, those who have expressed and intent to travel but haven’t decided where to go.
It’s another sign that Facebook wants to serve as a platform that travelers can use to find inspiration, research and book their trips. How can hotel marketers take advantage of trip consideration? Read on to find out more about this tool and its potential opportunities.
How social media influences travelers
A lot of people that want to take a trip don’t actually know where they want to go. According to a study by Think with Google, when leisure travelers first begin considering their next trip, 82% haven’t chosen the accomodation they want to book with. And one third haven’t usually picked a specific destination.
When it comes to finding that spark of inspiration, social media is fast becoming the go-to option for millions, especially among younger generations. When it comes to Facebook’s own platforms, 68% of millennials say they found ideas for their most recent trip on Facebook, and 60% say they’re similarly influenced by content on Instagram.
Smartly, Facebook is capitalizing on this behavior by allowing advertisers to specifically market to these ready-to-be-inspired travelers.
How does Trip Consideration work?
Trip consideration lets marketers deliver the right ad at the right time based on their level of search intent. By looking at a person’s recent browsing history on Facebook and Instagram, travel brands can promote relevant deals and destinations aimed at those who haven’t yet chosen a specific destination.
As an example, a traveler might have looked at different travel websites related to city breaks. This level of broad research would indicate they hadn’t decided on a fixed destination, but had a strong intent to travel. Based on this, hotels and airlines could market their own deals to spark early interest.
The tool is incredibly easy to use.
Within Facebook Ad Manager, there’s a new box that lets you select the trip consideration feature. This will then prioritize your ads to reach anyone that’s planning to travel. You can then use the same ad filters to refine your target audience, including by demographic, interests, behavior and location.
A signal that a user is interested in traveling (but hasn’t chosen a destination), would be someone that’s visited several travel-related sites, but only visited the homepage of those sites.
The ability to target this segment offers a major opportunity for travel brands to influence decisions before more serious research takes place.
How should hotels use Trip Consideration?
While it’s definitely worth using trip consideration to promote a great deal, leading with price alone isn’t enough. Travelers remain price conscious, but generating excitement around your destination or accommodation is arguably a better way to spark early engagement.
Using inspiring visuals is a great way to do this. Trip consideration lets you choose the images you want to show in your ad (current options include static images, carousel, single video, or collection), and choosing the right one can have a big impact, especially when using this tool on Instagram.
According to a study by Expedia, millennial travelers that book a trip are most concerned by how “Instagrammable their destination is.” In fact, the study found those aged 18-34 considered how good a location would look on their Instagram feed before they clicked to book. A whopping two thirds admitted “the Instagrammability of a location is the most important factor when booking”.
It’s also worth using trip consideration to provide helpful information, especially about your destination. According to Google, 67% of people are more likely to book with a travel brand that gives them relevant details about the location they’re interested in.
To be most effective, try to provide your target audience with the kind of information that’s going to be genuinely helpful to them. Depending on who you’re targeting, that might involve providing top tips on the best family-friendly attractions, off-the-beaten-path experiences, or top dining spots in your neighborhood.
Even better, create a short and engaging video that showcases your property, tells a story, and brings your destination to life.
Harnessing the power of Trip Consideration
Facebook has been positioning itself as a platform where travelers can research and plan their next trip. But now, it wants to monetize the way it’s being used much earlier at the crucial dreaming phase of travel.
While Google remains the top option for research and planning for most of the world, the launch of trip consideration reveals an attempt by Facebook to make it the first resource travelers use to find inspiration.
For hotels, it provides an exciting new way to reach potential guests before decisions are being formed. Rather than battling it out on price, it offers a way to capture early attention when choices are more likely to be emotionally driven.
When used with the company’s Dynamic Ads and direct bookings feature, marketers can now use Facebook to be there at every moment, from the first spark of inspiration to capturing the final booking.
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