In the digital age, we’ve seen businesses across an array of industries make the gradual transition online. This is only to be expected, particularly with a growing number of transactions taking place online and through smartphones.
This trend is particularly evident in the leisure and tourism market, where online brands have grown to dominate the space. However, this is not to say that local offline travel agencies are no longer relevant, particularly given their ability to provide a personalised service to the customers that they attend to.
Remember, around 70% of travellers believe that brands should tailor their information based on their unique preferences, and this is undoubtedly a key driver of behaviour in the modern marketplace.
For local travel agencies that are looking to achieve a competitive advantage in this respect, OOH (out-of-home) advertising offers an extremely effective marketing channel. We’ll look at the benefits of this below, while asking how you can leverage the medium to your advantage:
What are the Benefits of Outdoor Advertising for Local Agencies?
While OOH boasts the type of reach and exposure that can benefit any local business, it’s particularly suited to regional travel agents.
One of the main reasons for this is the rising prevalence of mobile brand interaction, as customers across the globe are increasingly likely to research, plan and book their trips using a smartphone or tablet.
In fact, this description applies to 45% of British customers, with this number likely to increase incrementally in the years ahead.
OK, we hear you ask, so why is this relevant to OOH advertising? The answer lies with assisted conversions, as popular OOH channels such as billboards are playing an influential role in the typical customer journey and are capable of driving a higher rate of engagement both online and through mobile devices.
This is particularly relevant to younger customers too, with those aged between 16 and 24 approximately 140% more likely to perform a specific brand action when exposed to billboard advertising.
So by targeting customers through OOH media, it’s possible to build awareness surrounding your brand while compelling individuals to use their smartphone and make an appointment with one of your travel advisors online.
Even if you don’t have an online presence, customers may respond to your ad by phoning your local agency directly and interacting with one of your employees. This type of brand interaction is particularly valuable, as it enables your agency to offer the type of customised service that today’s customers crave!
On a fundamental level, it’s also important to note that local travel agencies sell an aspirational product. This creates an opportunity to produce striking and aspirational ad content, which promotes your brand in the local area while also building a narrative around your individual travel packages.
Outdoor media and specific channels such as billboards can help you to achieve this aim, particularly when you invest in large-scale adverts that feature bold, striking imagery.
Using these mediums, you can present bold, colourful and larger-than-life imagery to convey any number of holiday paradises to your potential customers. This engages customers who want to visit such places, while the deployment of contact information and promotional discounts make the dream more accessible to the local audience.
With this type of content, the precise location in which you advertise is also crucial. Sure, you’ll want to target the local audience with your outdoor advertising campaign, but to make the most of your spend it’s important to pick strategic locations that optimise exposure and reach as many relevant customers as possible.
In this respect, large format roadside billboards can prove extremely effective when marketing your local travel brand. The reason for this is simple; as there were an estimated 37.9 million cars on UK roads as of March 2018, with this number having increased by 1% year-on-year.
At the same time, it’s thought that up to 70% of Brits currently commute to work in cars and vans on a daily basis, whether they drive their own vehicle or car pool with colleagues.
Either way, roadside billboards help you to capitalise on proven and consistent patterns of consumer behaviour, maximising exposure and enabling you to build brand awareness among a vast target audience.
It’s arguable that this type of advertising is also among the most engaging for commuters, as it’s entirely nonintrusive and tends to meld with the natural environment. This provides a stark contrast with the aggressive and competitive nature of online advertising, which has created a saturated market and prompted a rise in the number of ad-blockers used by mobile customers across the globe.
This makes today’s generation of customers far more likely to interact with outdoor advertising, particularly while their sitting idle in a traffic jam. In fact, more than 70% of customers interact with roadside advertising during their daily commute, as they look to connect with the world around them and ease the boredom of their journey to work.
And Now for the How – Making Outdoor Advertising work for your Travel Brand
While our theories behind the potential of using OOH media for local travel brands may be sound, this means little unless you’re able to leverage them successful and create a killer outdoor campaign.
As a local agent, this means understanding the benefits that outdoor advertising can bring to your brand and creating practical measures to realise the medium’s full potential.
To help you on your way, here are a few tips that can help you to promote your travel brand using OOH channels such as billboards:
Plot out your Customer Journey and the Precise Role that OOH Media will Play
We talked earlier about assisted conversions, and there’s no doubt that OOH media can drive the number of these as part of an integrated marketing campaign.
You’ll do most of your business in store as a local travel agent, however, particularly in relation to bookings and final conversions.
Understanding this is central to your campaign, as you need to determine the precise role to be played by OOH media and type of brand interactions that you want to drive through your adverts.
In this instance, you’ll either want to direct customers to a website or online booking portal, where they can learn more about the brand and make appointments respectively.
At the same time, you’ll want to promote your store location and the relevant telephone number, so that more impulsive customers can connect with the brand immediately. Remember, around 50% of shoppers makes spontaneous purchasing decisions, with around 92% of these transactions inspired by special offers and promotions.
While impulse buys may be a little less likely with big-ticket purchases such as holidays, OOH media makes it possible to target spontaneous customers within the local area.
Use Aspirational Imagery to sell your Trips
While personalisation may be key to the service that you offer to customers, it’s impossible to create customised billboards that appeal to everyone.
However, you can at least use aspirational imagery to engage the imagination of customers, by crafting adverts that depict sun, sand and even iconic international landmarks.
From a technical perspective, this means using bold and eye-catching colours, which are relevant to both the scene that you’re trying to portray and your brand’s visual identity. The various shades that you use should be complimentary too so that they do not overwhelm customers as they pass.
Your ads should be relevantly sized too, in accordance with the precise location that you intend to place them. You should use large-scale 48 or 96-sheet billboards to target roadside customers, for example, using the traditional form of the medium to achieve maximum exposure.
When targeting commuters, you should also invest in smaller prints and promotional posters at bus stops and train stations. These ads will also seek to engage travellers during their daily commute, and by merging with the surrounding environment they’re thought to drive engagement levels of around 16%.
Match the Messaging to the Location
As we can see, it’s likely that you’ll have outdoor ads posted in numerous locations as part of your OOH campaign.
Not only do these ads need to be different sizes depending on their location, but it’s also important to tailor your messaging depending on the precise action that you’d like customers to take next.
It’s unlikely that commuters will be able to adjust their route and visit your store immediately after viewing an ad, for example, so all roadside messages should be focused on promoting your local brand, raising awareness and encouraging further interaction.
Conversely, you may place smaller ads on the high street or at shopping centres, targeting precise locations that are close to your store.
In this instance, you should use more urgent and active messaging to drive customers in store, whether this is through the deployment of limited time promotions or unique holiday packages. Either way, you should strive to use concise and clear messaging on this type of ad, while providing an emotive and compelling reason for customers to visit your store.
The Last Word
With this guide, we hope that you can begin to understand the benefits of outdoor advertising when promoting a local travel agency, while also learning the techniques and strategies that can contribute to a successful campaign.
Just remember, OOH media is ideal for building brand awareness within the local area, while large format billboards provide the perfect channel for selling aspiration and big-ticket products.