Facebook’s New Tool Allows Travel Brands to Shape Vacationers’ Plans From the Start

'Trip Consideration' targets users before they've chosen a destination

To find ideas for their most recent trips, 68 percent of millennials used Facebook. seb_ra/iStock

Travel advertisers on Facebook no longer have to wait until vacationers have chosen a destination to begin the courtship process, as the social network introduced new ad product trip consideration, which enables brands to target users before they have even started planning their journeys.

“Trip Consideration”—a separate product from Facebook’s dynamic ads for travel—supports the social network’s existing targeting options and works across Facebook, Instagram and Facebook Audience Network.

Facebook head of travel Christine Warner said that according to the social network’s research, an average of 43 days pass between the decision to travel and the decision on where to go. She added that people are spending more time travel-planning on their mobile devices and demanding personalization, saying, “From inspiration to booking, mobile has become more important.”

Here’s an example of how the travel ads work: A college student is interested in going on spring break at the beach and looks at travel-related pages but hasn’t picked an exact location. From there, travel advertisers can push ads to the student promoting flight or hotel deals.

According to a GfK survey commissioned by Facebook, 68 percent of millennials used Facebook to find ideas for their most recent trips, while that figure was 60 percent for Instagram.

The new trip consideration ad product is also available via Facebook Marketing Partners including Adphorus, Koddi, MakeMeReach, Smartly.io and StitcherAds, and the social network said it plans to update the product later this year to help advertisers further brand-building objectives.

EF Ultimate Break, which plans entire trips for those in the 18-through-29 age group, was one of the early testers of trip consideration, using the feature to retarget people in the aforementioned age group who had expressed interest in travel on Facebook or Instagram.

“We added trip consideration into our acquisition strategy and used it to drive people with travel intent into our funnel, while continuing to leverage dynamic ads to drive users to book,” Nick Schaulsohn, director of marketing at EF Ultimate Break, said. “The powerful combination of these solutions improved our conversion rate by 49 percent.”

EF Ultimate Break's use of Facebook's trip consideration ad product.

NYC & Company, New York’s official marketing, tourism and partnership organization, took a different approach, turning to trip consideration to drive video views and link clicks. “We were extremely impressed with how easy it was to use, but even more so with the results it drove,” said Jason Berman, NYC & Company’s managing director of brand marketing. “This new solution enabled us to deliver 61 percent more video views and 58 percent more link clicks, all at a 29 percent more efficient cost per click.”

Facebook introduced dynamic ads for travel in May 2016, saying at the time that they enabled travel brands to take advantage of dimensions, location and time specifically tailored for their industry. Then last April, Facebook rolled out dynamic ads for flights, allowing marketers to target people across their devices based on route, schedule and price. In October, the social network added three new ways for travel providers to generate bookings: the ability to promote hotels and flights; broad audience targeting to reach more travelers; and more creative options.

david.cohen@adweek.com David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.