A question that we are repeatedly asked by clients, new to performance marketing, is should we build a mobile strategy within our affiliate plans. The answer is always the same: absolutely!

Most travel companies have already embraced mobile. The ones that haven’t are probably including mobile in their short-term plans. The problem however, is that most travel companies approach mobile separately and with a different strategy to other campaigns. They shouldn’t. Mobile sales are part of online sales and should be incorporated within the online marketing strategy.

Recent surveys show that PC and laptops sales have fallen dramatically, whilst sales of tablet devices have increased. If you add this to the fact that smartphones are increasingly moving towards a tablet look andfeel, travel companies should be developing an overall online strategy thatadapts to all type of devices.

Innovative Engagement

Like most other industries, travel is exploring highly innovative and creative ways to engage and interact with their customers. Social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+ provide a direct and approachable service and travel companies, like holiday comparison site Icelolly with its Valentine’s competition earlier this year, are using these in new and exciting ways. 

Pinterest continues to attract users with travel being perfect for the visual media of sharing travel stories and ideas. The Pinterest-like site Trippy has also expanded its brand, emphasizing the importance of social media and the sense of community with boards and shared content that inspires users.   One final thing, don’t be fooled into thinking that social is just for the young – the fastest growing demographic on twitter is the 55-64 year age bracket.

Holidaymakers have extraordinary levels of information and offers at their fingertips.  Smartphones and tablets, are behind a tremendous shift in how people research and book their holidays.

One in five now book holidays using a mobile and this rises to 28 per cent amongst 25-34 year olds who are high users of these devices. Without a presence on the right performance marketing channels, airlines, hotels and holiday operators are going to lose out.

Billions Spent on Travel

Across Europe €98.1 billion is spent online on travel, making it the largest online business sector. Forecasts estimate that this figure will grow by seven per cent a year, reaching €112.2 billion in 2014.  41 per cent of all consumer travel spend is online; this will rise to 44% by 20143. As we head into 2014 I think we’ll see a huge expansion in performance marketing with a multi-channel, multi-device strategy. Approximately 40% of last minute search queries were made on mobile devices last year and this is set to rise in 2014.

To meet the demands of performance marketers – especiallly ROI, conversion, and measurability – Facebook has announced radical changes to its platform. Its campaign creation and management has improved, offering new creative options, mobileadvertising capabilities, and targeting tools.  It is increasingly a top choice among performance marketers to drive sales, acquire customers and generate revenues. 

So, with these changes and the creativity that inevitably follows, performance marketing is going to play even more of a crucial role as the travel industry increases its multi-channel strategy to reach its markets.