How to Promote Your Travel App: Tips and Strategies

User acquisition strategies for mobile applications vary greatly depending on the industry. To help you navigate the complexities of promoting your app, we’ve created a series of articles focusing on specific industries. In this article, we’ll explore the unique challenges and strategies for travel apps, highlighting what you should consider to ensure effective user acquisition and retention.

Understanding the Travel App Category

The travel app market generated $556 billion in revenue last year, a 53.4% increase over the previous year. Over 800 million people used a travel app in 2022. According to current projections, this market will grow annually at a rate of 3.47%, reaching approximately $1,063 billion by 2028.

Travel apps encompass a wide range of functionalities, including but not limited to:

  • Booking Apps: Platforms like Expedia and that allow users to book flights, hotels, and rental cars.
  • Travel Planning Apps: Services such as TripIt, which help users organize itineraries and travel plans.
  • Local Experience Apps: Apps like Airbnb Experiences and Culture Trip that offer recommendations for activities, dining, and sightseeing.
  • Navigation Apps: GPS-based services like Google Maps that assist with route planning and navigation.
  • Multi-functional Travel Apps: Apps that combine several services, offering booking, planning, and local experiences in one platform.

According to statistics, more than 60% of users use travel mobile apps to plan their trips. These apps assist in managing logistical requirements, making hotel bookings, booking flight or train tickets, and documenting travel journeys. They also provide tools like translation services and information about nearby places, completely redefining the travel experience.

Unique Characteristics and Challenges of the Travel Industry

Seasonality and timing play crucial roles in the travel industry, with demand peaking during holidays and vacation periods. Marketing efforts must align with these peaks to maximize effectiveness. For instance, launching campaigns for summer vacations in early spring ensures your app is visible when users start planning their trips.

The travel industry faces intense competition from major players who can afford significant marketing budgets. Expedia holds a slight lead in the US market with a 21.5% market share, while Booking was the most downloaded travel app in 2022, with over 80 million downloads. Competing against established brands like Expedia and requires innovative and targeted marketing strategies to stand out in a crowded market.

Travel apps must cater to a global audience, requiring localized marketing campaigns that address different languages, cultures, and preferences. Creating localized content and ads for users in different regions ensures higher engagement and relevance.

Digital consumer trends are continually evolving. While desktop use is declining, mobile usage is increasing, necessitating a shift in strategy. Although many customers research travel options on their mobile devices, they often switch to desktop to finalize their bookings. This behavior highlights the need for travel companies to streamline the mobile booking process to enhance user experience and increase conversion rates.

Recommendations for Improving Travel App User Acquisition

Personalized Retargeting Campaigns:

Analyzing users' past travel behavior to create personalized retargeting campaigns can significantly enhance user engagement and conversions. By understanding users' previous destinations and travel preferences, ads can be tailored to suggest similar or complementary destinations.

For example, if a user frequently books trips to tropical destinations, retarget them with ads for Caribbean cruises or Hawaiian vacations. Similarly, if a user has shown interest in cultural experiences, promote tours in historic cities or festivals in various countries.

Additionally, considering the typical planning timeline and the age group of travelers can further refine these strategies. According to TripAdvisor statistics, half of all American travelers spend less than a week researching after deciding to go on a trip, while another group books months in advance and spends the 12 weeks leading up to the trip researching experiences rather than accommodations.

Younger travelers (18-34) tend to book one week to one month prior, whereas older travelers (55+) book more than four months in advance. Therefore, it is important to segment the audience based on their planning and booking timelines and offer corresponding promotions at the appropriate times.

Region-Specific Marketing Strategies:

Customizing marketing strategies based on regional travel trends and preferences ensures that the content is relevant and appealing to users from specific areas. In Europe, weekend getaways to nearby countries are popular.

Crafting campaigns that offer ready-made itineraries for short trips, emphasizing convenience and unique experiences, can be highly effective. For example, promoting weekend trips from Germany to France or Italy, showcasing curated travel routes and activities, can attract users looking for such experiences.

Dynamic Ad Banners:

Using dynamic ad banners that change based on the user’s demographic information, such as family status or travel history, increases relevance and engagement by catering to specific user needs and preferences. Offering different travel packages for families, couples, or solo travelers is an effective strategy.

For instance, suggest family-friendly destinations to users with children, or honeymoon packages for recently married users. A newly engaged user might see ads for romantic getaways.

Creative and Localized Ads:

Developing creative ads that incorporate local humor, cultural references, and upcoming events can engage users more effectively by resonating with their cultural context and interests. Using local idioms, jokes, or references in ad copy and visuals makes the content more relatable.

For example, an ad targeting users in the UK could reference popular cultural events like the Notting Hill Carnival, making the ad more engaging and relevant.

Incentivizing App-Based Bookings:

One effective strategy to encourage users to book through your app is offering additional bonuses or discounts for app-based bookings. Current statistics indicate that over 90% of travelers will do their research online, and 82% will end up making their booking online as well. But, only 23% of leisure travelers believe they can get the same hotel or flight deal on mobile compared to desktop.

By offering exclusive app-only deals or bonuses, you can incentivize users to complete their bookings through the app, enhancing user engagement and increasing conversion rates.

Highlighting Your Unique Advantages:

Emphasize the unique benefits of your app in your ad campaigns. Your advertising banners should reflect the additional advantages you can offer customers, such as interesting articles about the best places to visit in a city or the convenience of booking both hotels and tickets in one app. Highlighting these features can set your app apart and attract more users.

Optimizing for Peak Booking Days:

According to TravelPerk, the most popular day for bookings is Monday, and Saturday is the least popular. You can also conduct testing to identify the peak times for your app and target these days with special offers and promotions to optimize conversion rates.

The Importance of In-App Retargeting

In-app retargeting is particularly effective in the travel industry due to its seasonal nature. Retargeting helps maintain user engagement and loyalty during off-peak times, ensuring that your app remains top-of-mind when users are ready to book their next trip. By continually engaging users with personalized content and offers based on their past behaviors, you can significantly increase the likelihood of repeat bookings.

For example, if a user has booked a summer vacation through your app, retarget them with ads for winter holiday deals or special promotions on their favorite destinations. This approach keeps your app relevant and encourages users to return when they are planning their next trip.

Hyper-Local Targeting

Hyper-local targeting leverages precise user data to create highly personalized marketing experiences. In the travel industry, this involves tracking user movements and understanding their preferences to deliver contextually relevant ads. By monitoring the locations users visit frequently, you can tailor your marketing messages to align with their interests.

For instance, if a user frequently visits art galleries and cultural landmarks, you can retarget them with ads promoting upcoming art festivals or museum tours in different cities. Similarly, if a user travels to beach destinations, you can show ads for tropical getaways and beach resorts. This level of personalization increases the chances of engagement and conversion.

Additionally, integrating your app with navigation services like Google Maps allows you to display ads based on users' real-time location. For example, if a user is exploring a new city, you can show ads for nearby attractions, restaurants, or special events, enhancing their travel experience and promoting your app’s services.

Why Partner with Our Agency?

Considering the unique characteristics of the travel industry and the high level of competition, developing an effective marketing strategy can be challenging. Partnering with a reliable agency can be a viable solution. Mediasurfer specializes in user acquisition (UA) and in-app retargeting with extensive expertise in the travel sector.

We have our own demand-side platform (DSP) and in-app retargeting platform, This makes partnering with us advantageous for clients as there are no third-party commissions, and we can guarantee high traffic and conversion efficiency. Our deep understanding of the tools we developed allows us to maximize their potential for your benefit.
Here’s what we offer:

  • Expertise in Travel Marketing: Our deep understanding of the travel industry's dynamics allows us to craft strategies that align with seasonal trends and user behaviors, ensuring your campaigns are always relevant and effective.
  • Advanced Analytics and Optimization: Utilizing our data-driven approach, we continuously optimize your campaigns to ensure maximum return on investment. Our insights help in fine-tuning targeting and creative strategies to meet your specific goals.
  • Personalized and Localized Campaigns: We create highly personalized marketing messages that resonate with your target audience across different regions. By understanding local preferences and behaviors, we ensure your app appeals to users wherever they are.

By partnering with Mediasurfer, you can leverage our specialized knowledge and proven strategies to boost your travel app’s user acquisition and retention. Contact us today to see how we can help you achieve your desired results.