This week, our team travelled to Dubai for the annual Arabian Travel Market where we met with our partners, heard from leading voices in the travel space and uncovered the latest trends impacting the travel industry in the Middle East.
We were honored to participate in the event, and to have the opportunity to share on-stage our insights from a recent custom study we commissioned with comScore as well as showcase a few digital advertising campaigns that drove significant results for Middle Eastern partners. As outlined in my presentation, people are increasingly spending time consuming travel content online, which points to the opportunity for brands and destinations to reach and engage travelers through digital media. To do so in a way that resonates with travelers and drives results that impact business growth, there are four keys to a digital media strategy that we recommend, including:
- Data. With digital marketing, we have unprecedented ability to use data to understand and engage our target audiences, optimize our campaigns and measure results to demonstrate real business impact.
- Authenticity. In a competitive travel market where brands need to break through the noise, it’s important for travel marketers to focus on what makes their brand or destination unique and authentic.
- Interactivity. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but it’s often not enough to cut through the clutter and engage with new visitors. Using interactivity helps involve the user and keep the brand top of mind.
- Partnership. Partnership is a core tenant for our business and industry at large, and a key tool to bring scale to your efforts. Consider the opportunities you have for partnership – whether with your destination marketing organization, industry influencers, online travel agencies, and more – to cast a wider net and reach into consumers where they are online.
We also had the pleasure at the show this year to recognize two of our partners with Expedia Media Solutions EMEA Partner Awards, including the Moroccan National Office of Tourism, which was awarded African Campaign of the Year; and Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts, which was awarded with our Hotel Campaign of the Year!
African Campaign of the Year: Moroccan National Office of Tourism
Building on a successful eight-year relationship with Expedia Media Solutions, the Moroccan National Office of Tourism (ONMT) wanted to implement a campaign that would promote the destination’s new MUCH MOROCCO branding, generate awareness of Morocco’s top 10 cities and inspire users to engage with the destination in a fun and interactive way. Targeting users on Expedia sites in the U.K. and U.S., the campaign includes a robust marketing plan, social media amplification and a microsite featuring a customized concierge tool designed to drive visitation throughout Morocco’s top cities. The campaign, which is Expedia Media Solutions’ first Creative Partnership campaign in Africa, has generated nearly 15 million impressions to-date and successfully engaged the target audience, with average time spent on the microsite eclipsing 1:10 in the U.S.
Hotel Campaign of the Year: Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts
Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts has a long-standing relationship with Expedia Media Solutions and has historically utilized display advertising and TravelAds to promote its hotels in the U.S. and U.K. For its most recent campaign, Jumeriah worked with Expedia Media Solutions to promote its eight Dubai properties through a refreshed strategy, which included new placements on Hotels.com EMEA and Arabic, targeting travelers in countries in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). The two-phase seasonal campaign targeted different audiences during Dubai’s peak and off-peak seasons. Phase one targeted travelers from the GCC, as well as those traveling to the Middle East in the Summer. Visiting Dubai during the summer can be very attractive to travelers, due to the typically less expensive flight and hotel prices, which can make luxury properties like Jumeriah more affordable. Phase two targeted travelers from the west, Australia and New Zealand during winter months, as the climate in Dubai is more favorable during that time. The creative and refreshed strategic approach drove room night demand for Jumeriah’s Dubai properties and resulted in a 26:1 return on investment.