For companies operating in the travel, tourism and hospitality niches, weather can be a significant driver of both online and offline bookings. For example, a spell of miserable weather can elicit a strong desire in consumers to escape. At the same time, weather occurring remotely can also play a big role in consumer decision making when it comes to booking a vacation. Travel-seekers will often check current and forecast conditions for popular destinations to inform their booking decisions.
If you’re a travel or hospitality brand, the decision to deploy weather based advertising should be an instinctive one. By using a weather marketing platform like WeatherAds to apply weather triggers to search, display or social campaigns in order to activate ads and adjust bids based on weather, travel marketers can achieve a real uptick in their campaign performance.
Weather Marketing for International Tourism
Use case: Travel Agent Promoting Holiday Destinations Based On Weather
Travel companies advertising flights, hotels or resorts can adopt the strategy of segment-targeting an audience experiencing bad weather (such as cold temperatures, showers, heavily overcast or snowy conditions). For display or social campaigns, weather targeting works best when coupled with aspirational creative showing sunny tropical vistas to enforce a yearning for warmth and sunshine.
This is an effective strategy because demand for beach holidays can often increase during periods of bad weather. For example, a study by Thomas Cook found that local weather impacts both Google search volume and online bookings for Mallorca holidays by as much as 14%.
On days with continuous rain, Thomas Cook's online bookings rise by 7%.
During sunny warm weather, online bookings drop by 8%
Google Search Behaviour
On days with continuous rain, search queries for vacations to Mallorca rise by 9% on average across all devices.
During sunny warm weather, search volume for vacations to Mallorca decrease by 14%
We decided to run a similar experiment to see if temperature had a similar effect. We tested the effect of daily temperature fluctuation on Google search volume for the search term ‘cheap flights Ibiza’. The graph below shows search volume for ‘cheap flights Ibiza’ from London, over February 2016. You can see a strong inverse correlation between temperature and search volume. As the temperature dips, consumers start to plan their trips to Ibiza and search volume rises.
Since PPC advertising in the travel sector is highly competitive, being able to automate bidding rules based on real time weather data instantly puts you at a huge advantage over your competition.
By using a tool like WeatherAds, advertisers can secure that coveted number one position for their ads whenever demand and search volume increase due to bad weather.
Simply put, if you’re a weather-sensitive travel brand, weather targeting your campaigns enables you to steal business from your competitors when it matters most - whilst at the same time gradually reducing your CPC, cost per conversion, and saving you valuable ad dollars in the long run.
Weather Marketing for Domestic Tourism
Use case: Hotel Promotes Bookings During Periods of Good Weather
For 'domestic' tourism the same logic applies – albeit a slightly different tack is necessary. There is a strong link between good weather (both current and forecast) and heightened demand for domestic holidays and local day-trips. Warm sunny weather is a boon for countryside retreats, camping sites, nature reserves, and outdoor attractions such as theme parks, music festivals and zoos.
The logic is simple - on warm sunny days consumers are more likely to be thinking about going outside. This is taken directly from a Google post on the topic of optimizing ad campaigns based on weather:
“Demand for certain products and services varies greatly depending on the weather. For example, users are much more likely to search for information on amusement parks on a hot, sunny day than if it's cold and raining. An amusement park company may want to increase their bids when the weather is nice”
We decided to test this theory ourselves by seeing if New York based searches for 'The Hamptons hotels' increased during periods of warm weather. The graph above shows New York City based search volume for ‘Hamptons hotels’ over a 2 week period in May 2016, overlaid against the average temperature for each day. You can see that as the temperature increases, so do searches for ‘Hamptons Hotels’.
Of course, there are other factors that impact search volumes asides from weather e.g. days of the week. You can see that Wednesday and Thursdays have relatively low search volumes compared to the ‘bookend’ days (hence that dip in the blue line over 25th and 26th). Things like public holidays and various promotional offers will also have an impact. However when you strip these out, the data clearly suggests local weather is a significant factor in driving consumer behaviour and purchase decisions when it comes to booking a ‘staycation’.
For domestic tourism marketers, a good strategy would be to trigger ads or upweigh bids based on real time temperatures and sunshine.
You can also experiment with targeting consumers based on the forecast and triggering ads or raising bids if good weather was expected. You can even trigger ads if the outlook for the coming weekend was sunny. This particular approach would work well for businesses who get spikes in bookings in the run up to the weekend – for example theme parks, or inner city tourist attractions. Ad copy can inform consumers that a sunny weekend is forecast and to book their tickets in advance.
In WeatherAds, this can be set up using the ‘days of the week’ setting in the advanced options. Checking 'Sat' & 'Sun' will trigger ads to be shown on a weekday if a sunny weekend was forecast.