Travel and Tourism Ad Ideas for Local Advertisers

The travel and tourism industry is on the rebound. Pent-up demand from months and months of staying at home is now visible in the numbers the industry is reporting. In addition, consumer confidence around health and safety is improving thanks to the COVID-19 vaccines, so how can your local advertisers take advantage of this? Check out these travel and tourism ad ideas to pitch to your local advertisers.


What the Data Says

To quantify the opportunity for travel and tourism advertising, let’s look at some numbers.

The Beige Book Survey reported record demands for leisure hotels and air travel from May to early July 2021. Outdoor vacation spots, like Cape Cod, were especially high. National parks are experiencing a rush of travelers. Yellowstone and Grand Teton had monthly visitation records. Warm weather certainly increases traffic, but the exponential lift could be because consumers feel outdoor activities are safer.

City travel also had strong numbers. New York City hotel occupancy climbed above 60% in June. Other major cities with an influx of visitors included Richmond, VA; Cleveland, OH; Boston, MA; Chicago, IL; and Atlanta, GA.

One of the most visited cities in the U.S. (and the world), Las Vegas is also welcoming back travelers. May numbers were up 11.8% from April, and they keep rising.

Hawaii is recovering as well, with monthly visitors in June increasing. The state had been one that had strict rules in place regarding COVID-19. Since Hawaii eased restrictions, tourists are ready to say aloha.

While domestic travel in the U.S. is steadily rebounding, most experts don’t expect international travel to do the same until 2023.

These are big-picture numbers, but they can be useful to frame the conversation with local advertisers. There are several ways to approach this with your customers, depending on the type of tourism opportunities in your region and your advertiser’s target.

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Travel and Tourism Ad Ideas: How to Talk to Your Advertisers

Depending on your market, you’ll have different groups of travel and tourism advertisers. Here are some ideas for ads based on where they fit.

Amusement Parks and Attractions

This subset saw massive declines and closures during the pandemic. Most have reopened, some with strict guidelines; others are more loose depending on the state.

You’re likely talking to local and regional players that see most of their visitors from a specific radius within a few hours from the location. Most of them will be targeting families, but they shouldn’t neglect adults interested in the attractions.

A few ad ideas to suggest would be:

1. Showing that they’re reopening safely: They can use reopening messaging that talks about their safety and hygiene protocols and lists any restrictions. These ads would be informative to set clear expectations for guests.

Ad types to consider: 

  • OTT video ads that use geofencing or run on websites related to searching for trips
  • Social media ads using that same video content or other bright visuals
  • TV ads with a “welcome back” tone
  • Email marketing campaigns to existing contacts that outline the new practices

2. Promoting discounted tickets: If their numbers aren’t picking up, it might be a good idea to run some ads with offers for dollars off admission or buy one, get one deals.

Ad types to consider: 

  • Display ads that include a promo code and link to a page to buy tickets
  • Mobile messaging campaigns to existing customers
  • Radio ads that deliver the promo code and direct people to their website
  • Social media ads targeting specific geographies

3. Re-engaging past annual pass holders that didn’t renew: They likely didn’t renew because of the pandemic, but now they may be ready to return.

Ad types to consider: 

  • Email campaigns
  • Mobile messaging

4. Announcing new rides, attractions or renovations: During lockdown, your advertisers may have completed some projects. If so, tell the world about them.

Ad types to consider: 

  • OTT video ads or display ads that showcase what’s new
  • Social media ads that use similar video content and still imagery
  • TV spots

Outdoor Activities

As noted, national parks are at the top of the list for many domestic travelers. Any nearby advertisers that provide complementary travel experiences will want to get their part of this demand. This could include lodging, activities (ATV rental, horseback riding, watersports), restaurants and museums. 

If you could bundle some of these into a package where advertisers share the costs, it could be very enticing. Consumers appreciate convenience! In the creative for these travel and tourism ads, be sure to include language about the attractions’ proximity to parks.

Your recommendations to these advertisers could be:

  • Geotargeted display and video ads
  • Search engine marketing (SEM) campaigns that include national parks, such as national park name + lodging
  • Social media ads targeting those with interests in outdoor activities and who live within a specific geographic range
  • Retargeting ads served to users who previously looked for information around hotels, restaurants and activities

Travel Services

Travel bookers are still in business! While many consumers book their travel online, plenty still turn to the experts, especially for international travel or once-in-a-lifetime trips. Some companies even specialize in specific types of luxury travel.

It’s not too hard to target these kinds of consumers. They have distinct demographic attributes around age, income, education and careers. These people are ready to splurge on travel. However, they may be hesitant and want guidance on new processes and to insure their trips. 

If these advertisers became dormant, it’s time to reach back out to them and ask how they’re targeting prospects. Offer them ideas on display and social media ads to target based on demographics and location. Additionally, SEM campaigns may be a good channel since travelers will likely start their journey via search.

Seasonal Events

Music and art festivals are back, and consumers are eager to experience them again. There are likely lots of events like these happening in your local market. Focus on those that are smaller and bring in people from the greater metro area. 

You can connect with the event promotors and hosts on ads to attract visitors. Radio is an excellent medium for this because those listening are locals. Social media ads are another option. If advertisers have contact information for previous attendees, email campaigns can be a good reminder that the show’s back on the calendar. 

Such events can bring in out-of-towners, and they’ll need places to stay and eat. Therefore, hotels and restaurants may want to run promotions that talk about the festival in display ads and social media. For social targeting, explain that they can even target people who “like” the event page.

Tourist Destinations

Finally, let’s talk about markets that are tourist destinations. We’d categorize these as cities that generate substantial revenue from tourism. They include:

  • Orlando, FL
  • Las Vegas, NV
  • Maui and Honolulu, HI
  • New York City, NY
  • Miami, FL
  • Los Angeles, CA 
  • Washington, D.C.
  • San Francisco, CA

There are, of course, many more cities that attract visitors. Local travel boards along with hospitality businesses are all eager to generate more interest in their cities. Creating travel and tourism ad ideas on the macro level can include many things previously discussed — attractions, outdoor activities and seasonal events. 

Cities want to let consumers know they are “open” for visitors and reassure them they are prioritizing safety and health. Consumers also want to know what’s available to do and if there are restrictions, so awareness campaigns are a good idea and can work on a variety of digital channels. 

People love a deal as well, so local hotels that want to see occupancy up can run ads about special promotions, which would work well via SEM, social media and retargeting. 

Also, cities shouldn’t only target external visitors, as locals are still considering staycations. Hotels, spas, restaurants and attractions could create some fun packages to claim local dollars, too. These would work well with geotargeted digital ads, social media, native advertising with a narrative feel, SEM and radio.

It’s Time to Check In with Your Local Travel and Tourism Advertisers

There’s no doubt the last year and a half was devastating to the industry. However, there seems to be a rush to recovery and to rediscover the world around us. With a strategy based on data, precise targeting and strong creative, your travel and tourism advertisers can find success with these ad ideas. 

Get more insights into the industry by downloading the travel and tourism business briefing, which includes data and trends.