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Man in flat dreaming of holiday

Travel: How to save summer 2021 & inspire 2022 bookings

By | Banner - Advertisers, Banner - Content Creation, Banner - True Native, Content Marketing, main blog, Uncategorized

With the school holidays nearly upon us, summer, and traditionally the peak travel period is traditionally just around the corner. Of course, set against the backdrop of Covid, nothing is remotely traditional right now. Travel restrictions are currently being lifted across Europe, so how does the industry make the most of these vital few weeks? What lies ahead for travel in 2022?

Pent up demand

One thing is for sure, there’s an appetite for overseas travel given many people stayed at home in the UK last summer. A new YouGov report has found that Europe is the only global market where consumers named government restrictions over health concerns as a barrier to travel, largely because of the high availability of vaccines across the continent. In the UK, where currently over 86% of the adult population have had at least one jab, 62% of respondents cited travel restrictions, with only 25% selecting health.

Reacting quickly

As the industry has discovered, the current reality is that many holidaymakers are only going to book when restrictions allow, leading to very last-minute bookings. When the UK added the Balearic Islands to the green list in June, allowing Brits to return home without the need for quarantine, online searches for the Spanish archipelago increased by 4,750%, with flights to Ibiza up 900%.

Who to market to?

You may recall the headlines back in January when the first baby boomers received their jabs – TUI reported a jump in bookings, with 50% coming from the over 50’s as confidence increased thanks to the UK’s early start with vaccinations. Well, 6 months later, things have moved on somewhat. YouGov research reveals Millennials and Gen X are now the sweet spot for travel companies in the short term:

“The youngest generation, Gen Z, has been the hardest hit economically but while they have less concern over health risks, a lack of disposable income is holding them back in terms of their ability to travel freely. The oldest generation is on the other side of the coin – with savings due to having spent less in the last year but more concerns around travel.

Somewhere in the middle is the audience travel companies are looking for. Millennials and Gen X on average have the combination of a confidence to travel, lack of immediate health risks and the finances to fund what could be multiple trips in the coming months and years.”

What to say?

It’s fair to say the UK government’s traffic light system hasn’t filled consumers with confidence. In May, Portugal was added and then abruptly removed from the green list, sending tourists scrambling for return flights. Research from Trip Advisor has found that UK traffic was up more than any other market in the past few months, but it’s been somewhat bumpy. Their ‘Have Shot, Will Travel’ report found that:

“In the UK, clicks are up more than any other major market since the turn of the year 4, although the recovery trajectory has not followed a steady upward trend like in the U.S. Instead, much of the growth in search traffic occurred during two spikes in user activity – one in late February, when the UK government announced its plans for a roadmap out of lockdown, and then again in April, as national lockdown restrictions began to ease further.”

Recognising that reassurance is going to be a key factor in persuading UK travellers to book, trade body ABTA has just launched #ReadySteadyTravel – to “help travellers feel informed, reassured, confident and excited to book foreign travel this year”.

Graeme Buck, Director of Communications at ABTA – The Travel Association, said:

“Given how changeable things are at the moment, the campaign will be agile – making sure it responds to the latest developments. Our big focus right now is helping people feel informed about what they need to do, both from a government requirement point of view and checking FCDO advice, but also making sure they have everything else in place, from an up-to-date passport to understanding social distancing measures when travelling. And, of course, we’re also celebrating the return to travel and helping people feel excited about the great experiences you get with an overseas holiday.”

Airport signsWhen to say it

It doesn’t matter if you are looking for last minute bookings or to inspire people for 2022, now is the time to engage with travellers through long-form content. Research from Visit Britain shows the planning phase of summer and autumn trips is happening further in advance, and that the booking of trips is happening far closer to the travel date than usual, with nearly a third of consumers booking just before they travel.

We’ve recently run two travel campaigns with very different messaging – one based on where you can book and travel to right now, and another, a destination guide for whenever restrictions are lifted to that country. The performance of these campaigns was interesting – the right now content achieved a lower CTR but an incredibly strong CTA rate from the page (+10%), indicating that while there’s perhaps a smaller audience for overseas travel in the next few months, those looking for it are incredibly engaged and ready to book in the moment. The destination piece gained an exceptionally high CTR and strong dwell times, indicating that there’s a large audience of people in the research phase for next year.

With so many people ‘in-market’ for travel either this year or next, here’s 5 top tips for producing engaging content for your target audience:

How to engage with travellers during Covid – 5 top tips

Be agile In the current market, be prepared to get a campaign live at the drop of the hat. Have assets ready to go – online article copy is far easier to edit and adapt than things like video, display or rich media, and far faster than print

Be reassuring – consumer confidence is low thanks to several false starts; every piece of content should reassure travellers that both they, and their booking are safe

Be inspiring after an enforced period at home, many of us have been thinking about visiting new places. Research shows people are considering longer and more expensive breaks, so content should reflect this. Create some real Wanderlust!

Be thoughtful – another key takeaway from the pandemic has been the public’s attitude to social purpose. Can you emphasise environmental credentials of a hotel or destination? Is tourism vital to the local economy?

Be emotional –according to Expedia, of those who travelled in 2020, 80% travelled for rejuvenation. Don’t be scared to mention that times have been tough, and that you not only need, but DESERVE a break!

For more on why long form content is key to influencing travellers, visit our blog here. To discuss your travel campaign requirements, please contact us here.


The power of words: How altruistic are we?

By | Banner - Advertisers, Banner - Content Creation, Banner - True Native, Content Marketing, main blog, Native advertising, Uncategorized

As we navigate an exit from Covid restrictions, how altruistic we are as a nation has been brought into sharp focus. Should you have the vaccine to protect yourself, others, or a combination of both? While vaccine hesitancy is very low in the UK compared with other countries, when trying to persuade the population to get vaccinated, it’s a good idea to understand what motivations will work, what buttons to push. In many ways, it’s no different to advertising any other product – what are the features and benefits?!

Different countries have taken different approaches. From over a hundred million dollars of vaccine lottery prize money in California, to promoting the tantalising prospect of the things that we love reopening in France:

In the UK of course, we have stickers. Everyone loves a sticker, right? Whilst it probably isn’t the number one reason for getting your jab, the language you use to get people there might be. One of the most notable changes in tack came when sending texts to the under 40’s in the UK.

The language had been tweaked from a more formal “You have been invited to book your Covid vaccination” used in older age groups, to an invite using the phrase “You have reached the top of the queue” and words like “priority” – as many noted, the text had been gamified – YOU are the winner!

Why words matter

When promoting a product or service, how altruistic should you assume your target audience are? Here’s two recent briefs I’ve worked on recently that both raised this question. One was for a FMCG product that had new green credentials, and another for some university courses in subjects that would certainly be for the common good. So, here’s the question – when enticing readers via headlines, should your focus be on what the product /service can do for you, or how it can help others?

Test and discover

We will often A/B test around 6 headlines for each True Native article, so there is always an opportunity to be proved wrong, but on the whole headlines which provide a clear benefit to the user will outperform those which don’t list any benefit to the reader. As altruistic as we would like to think we are, a good outcome for the user will usually trump all else.

How to craft content that performs

With this is mind, here’s three ways to ensure you’re producing content that pushes all the right buttons:

1. Think about the benefits to the buyer’s life

How can buying here cut my commute? How can this product help my skin? What experiences can I have on this holiday? Sell the dream!

2. Educate – The value exchange

Provide useful information that the reader will find valuable – the more engaging it is, the longer they’ll spend with your brand and content

3. Use emotive, aspirational adjectives

Words like stylish, amazing, luxury, stunning, dream, perfect – promise something valuable or emotionally stimulating. And in turn, generate high CTRs


Online advertising

Headlines that perform: Why your creative matters

By | Banner - Content Creation, Banner - True Native, main blog, Native advertising

There’s a task in The Apprentice where the candidates have to make some adverts – usually TV, but more recently audio and digital OOH. Each year, without fail, Lord Sugar will berate one of the teams for producing an ad which doesn’t clearly portray the product. Here, for example, is a classic of the genre – adverts for two tissue brands…

“I don’t know what your bloody adverts about!” shouts Sir Alan to the producers of the ‘I Love My Tissues’ ad. The rival team, having created ‘Atishu’, win the task with a “…horrible advert, a horrible box” because they sold the product, it’s features, and benefits in the ad.

There is, of course, a place for high-end branding ads which barely mention the product, but in all honestly a new tissue brand probably isn’t it. But it’s not just apprentices that sometimes forget that the end user needs to understand what you’re in the business of selling! You can have all the digital adtech and targeting in the world, but if your creative is unclear, it’s unlikely to perform.

Here’s some anonymised ads (both direct response and sponsored content) headlines I’ve seen recently online:

Headline: Time for change Sponsored by: B2B Brand 

A change in your business, a change in their business, a change in the world? It wasn’t clear who the change was aimed at, what the change was, or who the change benefits. When we create headlines (and select images) for native sponsored content, we always think about the end user – what benefit will they get from spending time with this content? If there isn’t any clear reason to click, it’s destined to underperform even if what it’s clicking to is actually good.

Headline: Save £300 with our early bird pricing Sponsored by: Consumer Brand

I was unaware of the brand, so didn’t know what they sell. The image was of some electrical equipment, but it wasn’t clear what it was for, or what it did!

Outside of the very biggest brands, you should never assume that even your target audience has heard of you. Start with the basics – features and benefits! Features describes what the product does, benefits describe how buying this product can help you. So, how do you cover all of this in a snappy headline with a short character limit? Here’s a headline we recently ran for a water softener company:

Why a water softener is the ultimate beauty hack”

So, in 40 characters we’ve explained what we are selling and how it can benefit you. If you were considering a water softener, you can discover how it may help you look your best, if you weren’t considering a water softener but beauty is a priority in your life, you may well be enticed to see how it could help you achieve better skin. Put simply, it works both ways.

Here’s five essentials for producing crystal clear headlines that work for your audience…

5 ways to create headlines that perform

Be prescriptive. A prescriptive statement is stating what should happen, and in the context of advertising, that something desirable should happen if you follow our instruction. “Looking for promotion? Study at TAN University to boost your prospects”.

Be relevant. Clickbait only annoys the user and will result in poor results when they realise the headline isn’t related to the content.

Be positive. Think about the benefits to the reader’s life. Explain how buying this house will cut their commute in the headline.

Be educational. Think about the value exchange with the reader. Provide useful information they’ll find useful – the more engaging it is, the longer they’ll spend with your brand and content.

Be aspirational. Use emotive, aspirational adjectives. Words like stylish, amazing, luxury, stunning, dream, perfect – promise something valuable or emotionally stimulating, and in turn, generate high CTRs.


IAB Gold Standard 2.0 logo

TAN achieve IAB Gold Standard 2.0 certification

By | Brand Safety, main blog

We’re delighted to announce that we have achieved the Internet Advertising Bureau’s (IAB) latest Gold Standard 2.0 certification.

Upon receiving the accreditation, Adam Rock, Managing Director of TAN Media said:

“Having been IAB Gold Standard certified since its inception, we’re really proud to have achieved the updated, more rigorous standards set out by the IAB to attain Gold Standard 2.0 certification.

Working with leading brands, agencies and publishers, we’ve always believed it’s incredibly important to ensure the highest possible standards are adhered to, whether that be brand safety or protection from ad fraud.

We believe that increasing investment in the digital ad industry is testament to both its growing importance in the advertising world, and the trust that initiatives like Gold Standard 2.0 help reinforce.”

Supporting better online standards

The new accreditation process involved TAN Media implementing and supporting IAB Tech Lab’s sellers.json and adherence to IAB Europe’s Transparency & Consent Framework v2.0, in addition to the Coalition for Better Advertising LEAN standards, and TAG’s global brand safety certification.

Improving digital advertising 

The IAB Gold Standard has four aims – to reduce ad fraud, uphold brand safety, help compliance with GDPR and ePrivacy law, and improve the entire digital advertising experience for all. The initiative was originally launched back in October 2017 as part of the IAB’s commitment to improving standards in digital advertising and building a sustainable future for the industry.

For more on Gold Standard 2.0:


Influencers on mobile

For influencers with impact, look closer to home…

By | Banner - Advertisers, Banner - Content Creation, Banner - True Native, Content, Content Marketing, main blog, Uncategorized

It’s been a rough couple of months for influencers. From ‘working’ holiday trips in the peak of the pandemic, to being caught using filters to boost the results of beauty products, it’s fair to say the general public’s view of those who ‘insta’ for a living is probably at an all-time low.

Pre-COVID, YouGov and Grey London found 96% of people do not trust influencers, as what started as a once noble profession, spiralled out of control. Has this stopped brands working with influencers? Nope. Not when the majority of millennials admit to having been influenced by a social media content creator, and that despite growing mistrust in social media platforms, 25% of us say we are using them more.

Are all influencers the same?

So, what counts as an influencer? Well, the dictionary definition is quite simply “a person or thing that influences another.” In marketing terms, we expand this to include the idea that this person has the ability to boost their audience’s purchase intent of a particular product or service though content. But are all influencers someone we haven’t met, or someone being paid by a brand to promote their wares? Quite simply, no. There are more credible unpaid influencers right under your nose…

It’s often said that the very best form of advertising is word of mouth, but is that an analogue proposition in a digital age? Not quite – according to Nielsen, 92% percent of worldwide consumers say they trust earned media, such as word-of-mouth or recommendations from friends and family, above all other forms of advertising. But the word-of-mouth recommendation has to start somewhere – so if the recommender hasn’t themselves used the product or service; how do they recommend?

So, what if the information came from the brand and the message was delivered by word-of-mouth? Well, that’s what we’ve been measuring digitally for the past six years – we look at how many people have read brand content in our premium publisher environments in two ways: article page reads where the user has come through a sponsored headline unit, and reads from those who have arrived by way of a shared link.

Growth of messaging apps

Facebook bought WhatsApp for $19 billion in 2014 as they viewed it as a major rival with explosive growth – they were right. In the UK, around 80% of 18-44s use the platform – it has 50% more users than Instagram. You might not think of them as direct competitors, but they both do the same thing, share content – it’s just one is in private, and one is in public.

Social Platform users graph

Which brings us back to our analysis of sharing across out network. Six years ago, the majority of sharing we saw was public – on Facebook and Twitter (via the sharing buttons on articles), now it’s private – sending the URL via What’s app, iMessage, email. On many campaigns, we’ll see hundreds of additional reads registered this way – essentially word-of-mouth delivery from your family or friends, and we all know the power of a personal recommendation.

We run across every vertical from B2B to Travel, but I wanted to look at some of the best performing campaigns we’ve seen recently over a selection of categories. 

Sharing percentages by vertical graph

As you can see, one clearing campaign for a university achieved almost a quarter of its page views via sharing – the content focused on what university was going to look like in September 2020, so answered many prospective students’ questions in an uncertain time. Other verticals that performed well were property (How to buy an apartment in London for under 400k), and Home & Garden (How to get a fantastic lawn in time for summer). So, what’s the recipe for success?

What makes content sharable?

The value exchange: either lots of insightful details about a product or service I think you’ll be interested in, or brand content that provides useful tips and tricks to help the user

Trust and Authority: A university writing about how to complete your UCAS application, a housing developer explaining how Help to Buy works, a haircare brand with tips for keeping your lockdown locks perfect. There must be synergy between the brand and the content

Well-structured content: 75%+ of traffic is mobile and it’s likely that your content will be shared on mobile, so think short punchy paragraphs, bullets, bold and sub-headlines that help navigate the user through the content

So next time the discussion turns to influencers, consider the value of engaging brand content in credible publisher environments. Get it right and it could well have the additional impact of being sent by the ultimate influencers – friends and family!


Shield with check mark icon

TAN joins TAG – the ad industry’s global brand safety programme

By | Banner - Publishers, Brand Safety, main blog

At TAN, we’ve always realised the importance of brand safety. Given we work with long form sponsored content, delivered in trusted publisher environments, where our advertisers appear is of paramount importance.

We were one of the first members of the IAB’s Gold Standard which set out a range of industry practices designed to improve the digital advertising experience for the general public, while reducing ad fraud and increasing brand safety for advertisers.

To achieve our certification, we supported the ads.txt initiative, ensured our formats were in line with the Coalition for Better Advertising LEAN standards, and obtained our Digital Trading Standards Group (DTSG) certification for brand safety, audited by UK regulatory group JICWEBs.

JICWEBS merges with TAG

The Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG), is the world’s leading programme to fight criminal activity and increase trust in the digital advertising industry. JICWEBS and TAG first joined forces in March 2017. Since then, the two organisations have aligned their programmes to further improve standards, avoid duplicative effort, and extend their global reach.

Mike Zaneis, CEO of TAG said upon announcement of the merger: “From Manhattan to Manchester, Madrid to Macao, and Mumbai to Melbourne, every company in digital advertising can comply with TAG’s standards.”

“By bringing TAG and JICWEBS together, we are making it easier for every company in the supply chain to adopt the high standards necessary to protect themselves and their customers across the globe,” said Jules Kendrick, CEO of JICWEBS. “Rather than wading through an acronym soup of regional alternatives with differing standards, costs, and compliance requirements, companies can make sure they comply with one set of industry-wide certifications.”

TAN continues to improve the ad experience  

As a currently audited participant in JICWEBS Digital Trading Standards Group (DTSG) Programme, TAN Media are now certified by TAG, which in itself will continue to form part of the IAB Gold Standard.

Upon receiving the new TAG Brand Safety Certified Seal, Adam Rock, Managing Director of TAN Media said:

“We are proud to have worked to make advertising better for both consumers and brands over the past few years. It’s important to demonstrate that our industry is committed to ensuring the highest possible standards of trust online. It’s fantastic to be part of a truly global initiative.”

Further Resources

For more information on the merger of JICWEBS and TAG please see here

For more on the standards required for the TAG seal please see here

For further information on the IAB Gold Standard please visit


internet video conference with friends

The language of now: Communicating during COVID

By | Banner - Advertisers, Banner - Content Creation, main blog

It there was a prize for the most hated phrase of the year, I’ll happily bet you a socially distanced pint that “The new normal” would walk any public vote. I think the level of hatred is justified for two reasons: 1) It’s overuse in absolutely everything, from B2B marketing, to signs in your local pub 2) It’s incredibly depressing – basically you’re saying what you are experiencing now (which is invariably worse than what went before) is here, without an end date, and there’s nothing you can do about it.

Positivity matters

So, how do you express that things are different right now, but in a positive way that makes people want to engage, rather than resent?

We’ve been experimenting with the language used in many of our campaigns – emphasising the positives of now and avoiding the negatives. We’ve seen lifts in performance when thinking this way – from highlighting outside space in property headlines, to articles explaining the many reasons why you shouldn’t wait to start a university course – keeping it positive: what CAN you do right now, rather than what you can’t.

Looking forward, not back

Many recent campaigns have chosen to focus on what we’ve been missing these past few months. The now notorious Detol ads were positive in their tone, they just mistook some of the things we really cared for – turns out we didn’t really miss many features of office life! I’d also argue that we’re now at a point where copy should be looking forward, rather than back, at a period of time many of us would rather forget. Here’s a more forward-looking campaign running now for LNER:

LNER Advert - Dad with son at BBQ

They stray dangerously close to the NN with the use of the word normal, but this feels warm, rather than annoying. YES! I am ready for a BBQ with my Dad – great, something genuinely good to look forward to.

Christmas is coming

There’s no doubt Christmas is going to look quite different this year and brands are going to have to negotiate a tight line between celebration, and the realisation that we are still very much in the middle of a global pandemic. When thinking about Christmas 2020 content, here’s three things to consider:

1. Look forward, not back. People are understandably fed up

2. Think about what people want right now. Family trumps consumerism – research from Havas found that nearly half of all shoppers it surveyed in the UK cared less about Black Friday this year

3. How can your product or service make someone’s life better? Give reasons to be optimistic.

Here’s to looking forward to all the good stuff!

People Shopping Online

Why digital is so resilient in tough times

By | Ad Spend, main blog

As the lockdown eases, advertisers who went dark during Q2 are beginning to return, but what does the future hold? Is there pent up demand? Will those who shifted budgets to digital return to linear media?

There’s no doubt Q2 will be one to remember – pretty much every media owner dependent on advertising took a big hit. The New York Times revealed a 55% drop in ad revenue in May. The Advertising Association is forecasting a 16.7% decline in UK adspend year on year. IPG’s MAGNA predicts that print, radio and OOH will see 20-30% declines in 2020.

Linear media falls worse than the financial crisis

UK Print media is likely to suffer the most according to MAGNA (-28%) – physical newspaper sales were already in freefall and some freesheets are in trouble as there’s still an absence of commuters to pick up their product.

There’s a similar storm brewing for OOH. This week (25th June) – CityMapper’s CMI index shows only 26% of London moving compared to a usual week. Whilst out-of-home is expected to recover over the next few months, it’s unlikely to return to pre-lockdown levels while many companies continue to work from home.

TV has been popular with smaller advertisers during lockdown as costs have tumbled. One of the great ironies for commercial TV was that that while they achieved record audiences, those who wanted to advertise were thin on the ground. MAGNA expects TV to decline 17% YOY, but a strong Q4 could recover some loses.

Resilient Digital

And so, to digital. The good news for those of us working in online advertising is that most forecasters see the sector as by far the most resilient. IAB Europe recently reported that:

“…digital is looking to be the least affected advertising media, predicting a decline by -5.5% in 2020 in Europe compared to a stronger contraction (-21.3%) for other media.”

From a UK perspective, MAGNA have been even more bullish, predicting only a 3% contraction in UK digital ad sales due to the speed of execution – campaigns that were dialled down, can be dialled up just a quickly – and partly due the growth in ecommerce during the lockdown.

It’s certainly noticeable that FMCG brands who traditionally sold only through retailers have created online DTC channels. Want some Ben & Jerry’s? Go to their website as they now deliver to your door!

Sponsored Content formats

The reoccurring theme we’ve heard from our clients during lockdown is that there’s a great deal more to communicate post-Covid. From the new way brands are having to conduct business, to how they plan to help their customers navigate these unusual times, long form content can help guide consumers. As the UK unlocks, communication will be the key to successful business, and that communication is likely to be online.

female shop assistant holding open sign

Business reopening? How to be reassuring…

By | Banner - Content Creation, Banner - True Native, Content, Content Marketing, main blog

I’ve just bought a carpet. If you’d told me in January when we moved house that I’d have to make an appointment to visit Tapi Carpets, would be met by a lady in medical gloves wearing a full face visor, and be asked to sanitise my hands before so much as flipping through the shag, I wouldn’t have believed you. But that’s just what happened, and you know what, it didn’t feel as strange as I thought it would – we just got on with it. A few jokes about the store never being cleaner… “just imagine the germs that were on credit card terminals before – yuck!”… and we were done.

As I walked home, I started to think about the reason it didn’t feel that odd or unwelcoming. Obviously, we’re a few months into this now, so we kind of know that when we buy products or services it’s probably not going to be conducted how it was prior to COVID-19. However, I think the main reason it wasn’t completely weird was because Tapi did a great job in preparing me for the experience.

From the phone call booking the appointment, to the email setting out what to expect, everything was reassuring. We were told we’d be the only people in the store, that their staff “may look a little strange” in PPE, and that the credit card machine would be sanitised with “fluid alcohol or a bleach solution after each use”. This was their first day back open since the government closed all non-essential shops, and they nailed it.

The UK is nervous 

As someone not in a high-risk group, I’m more comfortable than many – we’ve already booked a holiday; I’d be fine getting on a plane in the next couple of months. In short, I’m not representative of the UK. According to a YouGov poll in April 2020, just 32% of us would feel comfortable going back into a pub or restaurant and only around half of adults would be happy to go back into a clothing store (54% men, 42% women). Given these findings, how businesses communicate reassurance is going to be key to attracting physical customers back.

Crafting comforting copy

We’re currently working on many campaigns which include reassuring copy – from a developer offering socially distanced show home viewings, to a university explaining why joining a virtual open day will be just as good as being there in person. Here’s three things to think about when writing re-opening copy:

1.     Be upfront. Don’t pretend that COVID-19 hasn’t changed things – we all know it has. Instead talk honestly about the changes you’ve had to make for the benefit of both your staff and customers

2.     Be detailed. Long form copy gives you the freedom to explain exactly how things will work. Unexpected surprises will unnerve those who are already anxious

3.     Be upbeat. It’s a positive that you’re able to serve your customers. Don’t focus on the negatives. Tapi told me about the “success” of their opening trial and some great reopening offers, not that I might have to wait for an appointment and can no longer just turn up to their stores

If you’ve missed my previous blog posts on brand content in the age of COVID-19, you can find them here

Family with two kids in masks in airport

Pitching for tourists: How and when to market post COVID-19 travel

By | Banner - Advertisers, Banner - Content Creation, Banner - True Native, Content Marketing, main blog, Uncategorized

Unquestionably, travel has been one of the hardest hit sectors since COVID-19 hit. New data from Pubmatic has revealed a 96% drop in ad spend from the first week of March to the second week of April, as country after country locked down, and airlines pulled flights.

As we hurtle towards June, we’re starting to see some green shoots, as thankfully infection rates decline across Europe. Flights are once again being scheduled, with British Airways predicting “a meaningful return” to the sky from July.    

The importance of tourism

Many countries who are heavily reliant on tourism, such as Spain and Italy (around 12 – 15% of GDP), already have plans to bring visitors back as soon as possible. Sicily announced that it will discount plane tickets and pay for every third night in hotels in an effort to lure back tourists. Spain’s tourism minister has said they hope to welcome foreign tourists back by the end of June.

After the banking crisis in which the country was badly hit, Iceland turned to tourism, which now accounts for 9% of GDP.  The country is already preparing for tourists in June who will be tested for COVID-19 upon arrival at Reykjavik airport.

In Britain, the focus has turned to domestic tourism to save the summer season. Visit Britain have proposed an extra bank holiday later this year to help businesses who were closed during the first stage of lockdown. Domestic tourism alone is worth £80 billion a year to the UK economy.

Advertising when?

The Irish Examiner recently reported that Tourism Ireland are tendering for a COVID-19 research programme. It’s essentially a piece of work designed to tell them when to begin marketing Ireland as a tourist destination again.

This week, Visit Scotland reported “a slow but steady return to traffic on and an upturn in long lead (90+days) flight bookings.

Given the long consideration phase when booking a holiday (see our blog on Why long form content is key to influencing travellers) and strong signs that we’re moving to a more optimistic phase (see Why your brand content should now be optimistic), perhaps that time should be now?

Hitting the right notes

Getting the tone right in the current climate will be key – I’ve already seen some great campaigns including Visit Switzerland’s activity-packed “Dream now, travel later”…

Visit Britain have grouped a selection of quintessentially British content together, creating a hub containing everything from recipes you can make at home, to 360 degree videos, and articles on binge-worthy British TV shows.

Finally, Travel Saint Lucia have been hosting live streams twice a week, showcasing activities from kite surfing to live island sunsets. There’s also been interactive content you can join in with, from cooking classes to yoga classes with a stunning backdrop!

Remaining front of mind

All these campaigns have one thing in common – encouraging us to think ahead to when we can travel again. Those that remain front of mind will benefit the most when people start booking in serious numbers again.

Let us help you generate some wanderlust ahead of re-opening. Contact us today to see how we create and distribute inspiring on-brand travel content that performs.