Warming Up Engagement and Intent with Contextual Targeting for Winter Wanderlusters

January 9, 2024

Authored by Danielle Hennes, Senior Product Marketing Manager

Warming Up Engagement and Intent with Contextual Targeting for Winter Wanderlusters

About half of Americans are planning to travel this winter, and nearly two out of three of them expect to travel more than they did last year. For travel brands, that represents a tremendous opportunity. But at the same time, to break through with clear and compelling messaging, travel marketers need to ensure their campaigns are built in a way that maximizes relevance with their most coveted audiences during the winter travel season.

Contextual targeting represents an increasingly valuable way for travel marketers to reach and engage winter travelers. In  2024, as third-party cookies begin to vanish from the digital landscape , contextual targeting emerges as a future-proof and privacy-safe way to make campaigns relevant and valuable for users. This method allows aligning ad messaging with the content that winter trip planners encounter on their online paths to booking is invaluable when it comes to ensuring a brand, destination, or travel solution is top of mind in the moments that matter most.

Boosting Engagement Among Winter Travelers

Contextual targeting is pivotal for travel marketers aiming to enhance engagement with winter vacationers. By analyzing the content a user is currently engaging with—be it travel blogs, destination reviews, or adventure-related articles—contextual solutions help marketers align their advertisements or promotions precisely with reader or viewer interests. For instance, placing ads for a beach resort within an article about tropical getaways during the winter ensures that the audience encountering these ads is already primed and interested in such experiences. This method significantly boosts engagement as it serves relevant ad experiences and offers at the right moment, capturing the user's attention when they're already in a travel-oriented mindset.

Moreover, contextual targeting allows travel marketers to be more nuanced in their approach, catering to specific niches within the travel industry. Whether it's luxury travel, budget vacations, adventure tourism, or cultural explorations, this targeting method enables marketers to tailor their messages accordingly. By presenting content that resonates with a user's current interests and aspirations, marketers can establish a stronger connection, leading to higher engagement rates. For instance, an individual reading about eco-friendly travel practices is more likely to engage with ads promoting sustainable travel options.

Connecting with High-Intent Travel Audiences

In addition to boosting engagement with audiences, contextual targeting can help brands ensure they’re connecting with high-intent audiences who are most likely to be planning winter vacations this season. Travelers who are in the early stages of trip planning—researching destinations, accommodations, and activities—are the ones most likely to be consuming articles on winter travel destinations, skiing resorts, or holiday getaways. By identifying and targeting high-intent keywords and themes related to winter vacations, travel brands can ensure their messages reach audiences at the crucial stage when they are actively considering and planning their trips.

For example, a travel brand specializing in winter getaways could leverage contextual targeting to place ads within articles discussing top snow-covered destinations, winter travel tips, or reviews of cozy mountain lodges. This strategy ensures that the brand's promotional content is not only relevant but also strategically positioned during the user's planning phase. As a result, the chances of capturing the attention of individuals actively seeking winter vacation options increase.

Furthermore, contextual targeting enables travel brands to personalize their outreach based on specific winter travel preferences. Whether a user is interested in ski resorts, winter festivals, or warm winter escapes, brands can tailor their messages accordingly. This level of customization allows for a more meaningful and personalized connection with high-intent audiences.

Tips for Making Contextual Connections with Winter Vacationers

  • Identify and Target Relevant Themes: To effectively connect with winter travel planners using contextual targeting, brands need to identify and target keywords and themes that align with winter vacation planning. Inform your campaigns based on popular search terms and content related to winter travel destinations, activities, and accommodations.
  • Be Budget Conscious: Budgeting plays a huge role in travel decisions, with 88 percent of travelers shifting their travel plans and planning behaviors to be more budget conscious this year. Contextual strategies should align offers and ads based on the level of luxury being reflected in the content that travel planners are consuming.
  • Use Seasonal Promotions to Capture Attention: Contextual targeting allows you to showcase special seasonal promotions in environments where users are actively researching and planning their winter vacations. Highlight discounts on winter accommodations and exclusive packages for winter activities.
  • Up-Level Targeting with First-Party Data: Contextual targeting can be taken to the next level via contextual audience extension. This innovative approach allows travel marketers to leverage their first-party data for sophisticated digital ad campaigns through the integration of contextual intelligence and advanced targeting methodologies. Through the combination of precise audience profiling and the extensive reach afforded by contextual targeting, travel marketers can pinpoint potential customers with characteristics similar to their highest-value clientele. This strategic approach enables marketers to connect with these prospective customers in online spaces where they are highly likely to be present, fostering increased engagement and interaction.

This winter, more people are planning winter vacations than ever before, and travel brands need to ensure their campaigns are designed to find and engage these individuals where and when it matters. Contextual targeting, particularly when combined with the power of an advertiser’s first-party data, represents the surest way for a brand to get on winter travelers’ itineraries.

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