Programmatic Advertising: How Hotels Can Target Travelers

We recently had the pleasure of participating in Leonardo’s first-ever Digital Marketing Summit for Hoteliers, “The Evolving Shopping Journey and Its Impact on Direct Bookings.” Hoteliers from all over the world gathered together to learn about how to navigate 7 phases of the travel shopping journey – Inspiration, Research, Planning, Validation, Booking, Traveling, Sharing – to drive more direct bookings. In particular, Sojern focused on programmatic advertising and how important it can be in an independent hotelier’s digital marketing arsenal.

In starting off the presentation, we polled the audience to understand everyone’s level of comfort and understanding with programmatic. The results were not surprising, though certainly spoke to the amount of opportunity that hoteliers have in front of them:

  • 25% of hoteliers polled use programmatic advertising,
  • 17% of the hoteliers in attendance do not use programmatic,
  • The majority of hoteliers—57%—weren’t sure what it is.

In case you are one of the many who need an introduction to programmatic, let’s dive in!

Programmatic Explained

Previous advertising efforts required you to first identify a website you wanted to advertise on—like a travel-themed site. By placing an advertisement on this website, you’re making the assumption that people who are interested in travel are going to this website. You could be right, but you also could be wrong. Plus, you’re limited to the inventory available on that one site and their pricing.

With programmatic, you target the traveler not the site. You find the user wherever they are. You then bid on the impression to capture that user while they’re engaged with that webpage. In this way, it’s not about finding the right website, it’s about finding the right individual. You then serve them an ad that matches up to what you know about that user.

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