Advertising That Motivates Travel


During our industry update webinar on October 13th, Destination Analysts’ Founder & Managing Director, Dave Bratton, moderated a panel of leisure travelers to gain insight on the types and aspects of destination advertising that motivate travel right now. From their evaluation of current destination advertising, here are three key takeaways that emerged:


1. Leisure travelers appreciate seeing masks because it gives them the confidence that locals and visitors alike will take safety seriously. As Emma from Buena Vista, CO commented, “I spend a lot of time with my parents and my fiance’s parents who are very covid-concerned, so for me one of the big things keeping me from wanting to go travel is that I don’t want to put them at risk. But seeing advertisements with people wearing masks gives me a lot of confidence in that destination – they are taking this seriously and I won’t feel like I am putting my family at risk if I go there.” Brandi from Washington, DC shared similar feelings about the same Denver ad featuring people wearing masks: “It definitely helps me become more comfortable with even the thought of traveling. Shortly after the shut down, I learned I was going to be expecting a baby, so I have been going crazy about anti-covid mechanisms…So it is a relief to see that you can still travel and be safe as well…It definitely brings confidence if I were to even think about traveling.”


2. The pandemic hasn’t changed some things—leisure travelers still want to know what is absolutely unique about a destination. (And food still works! Make it look appealing.) From our thousands of qualitative in-depth interviews and focus groups, travelers consistently share that they want to know what is unique about a destination, with a common question being “What can I do there that I can’t do anywhere else?” Our recent panel reflected this very notion as they evaluated current ads for several U.S. destinations. These travelers brought up wanting to see unique facets of the destination, particularly around dining and cuisine. Additionally, content featuring food should be visually appealing. As some of these travelers commented,

“It would be really cool to see socially distanced friends enjoying food and drinking, showing what makes it [the destination] unique.”
“I love Louisiana’s food but this to me is not a lot of food, it’s not really an appealing color and neither is the way it’s framed. Considering it is such a foodie state, this to me is underwhelming.”


3. Advertising does get noticed and does work towards convincing people to visit a destination. When asked about receiving digital ads, these travelers shared positive reactions. Not only do they enjoy seeing digital ads, but such ads inspire ideas for future travel, oftentimes for places that they might not have otherwise considered. Kevin from Boston, MA stated, “I love getting ads, especially for the places I haven’t been to before. It kind of entices me to look into it a little bit more. Like Emma just said about the beautiful pristine beach – I would have never known that [about the destination] and now they’ve enticed me to go there.” He continued to share, “As long as it’s not overload, I don’t mind. I literally get emails everyday with travel ads and every single day, I’m clicking them and I am opening them up to see if there is a good deal or a good place I can go. I enjoy looking at them.” Particularly given the current coronavirus situation, Emma voiced her preference for travel ads over consumer products saying “We’re all stuck at home and if I am going to look at an ad, I would rather look at a vacation ad, even if only to daydream, than an ad for shoes that nobody will see me wear.”