By Q1 2021, leisure traveler priorities, values and behaviors had fundamentally changed. Unsurprisingly, they were no longer receptive to hard-sells, aggressive messaging or time-sensitive CTA’s. At first, consumers reported having high levels of anxiety about returning to travel and that they were spending much longer periods of time in the “in consideration” stage before actually making plans or booking trips.
These new market dynamics told us that what leisure travelers really needed from destination marketing was more convincing, more coaxing, and most importantly, more reassurance. They needed to be reintroduced to the worthwhile destinations around them, and needed to be truly inspired before they could start travelling confidently again.
Timing: March 1 — April 11, 2021
* Deploy ahead of 2021 Derby-season
* Align awareness messages with gradual process of re-opening
* Tap into the surging opportunity around late-spring/early summer travel bookings
Lean into hi-awareness, impressions-focused digital tactics:
Targeting included road-trippers and travel-interest groups; re-targeting included people who’ve visited Louisville in the past, as well as people who engaged with the campaign throughout its duration.
Additionally, because this “prep-the-market” campaign was an awareness-forward endeavor, we also analyzed consumer intent-behavior by monitoring search engine queries for one hour following exposure to our ads. What we found was that consumers who’d seen our ad content frequently used terms and phrases like “road trip,” “Louisville,” and “bourbon,” frequently navigating onward to relevant, like-minded websites like CNN.com/Travel, TravelAndLeisure.com, and TravelChannel.com.