Travel and tourism was one of the first, and arguably the most prominent, industries to be impacted by the global crisis caused by COVID-19. Trip cancellations were abundant. Popular tourist destinations looked like ghost towns, leaving many of the hotels, restaurants and retailers that depend on a steady stream of travelers struggling to make ends meet. With stay-at-home orders gradually lifting across the country and the official start of summer just around the corner, people are anxious to get out and resume travel. However, most will be staying closer to home for the immediate future which means travel, hospitality and retail marketers can effectively use geolocation data to target advertising, promotions and other communications within their respective local and regional destinations.
The Start of Travel Will Be Closer to Home
A recent Longwoods International travel-sentiment tracking study, showed that more than half of American travelers want to make their first trip (once it’s appropriate to travel again) a domestic visit to reunite with friends and family. Eighty-six percent of those travelers signaled that they plan on visiting a U.S. destination, with 76 percent of those saying they’d travel by car and 24 percent by air. Of those who plan on driving, 52 percent said they plan to stay within 200 miles of home.
As businesses around the country adapt to their new reality as a result of the pandemic, many should find hope and value in geolocation technology. With local being the new norm, it makes sense for travel, hospitality and retail marketers to look at localized strategies using IP geolocation and point-of-interest data to reach current and future travelers to let them know “We’re Open for Business!”
Reaching Consumers in Today’s New Reality
No doubt, as people begin to venture out, businesses built around the travel industry will be met with a new wave of competition to capture consumers’ attention in an attempt to get diners in restaurant seats, shepherd shoppers through the front doors, and offer weary travelers a safe and homey place to rest their heads. These businesses will need to use creative and relevant messages to grab their attention, delivered using reliable and accurate geotargeting data.
Incorporating IP geolocation and point-of-interest data into digital marketing initiatives has always been a successful and proactive way for local businesses to target consumers. If there was ever a time that geotargeting made complete sense for brick-and-mortar businesses (especially those that have not considered this approach previously), then this is certainly it.
As an example, a local hotel from a major chain such as Hilton or Marriott, in downtown Denver can geotarget ads to Coloradans offering a one-night free discount for a long weekend stay during the month of June. And, if a traveler is visiting The Georgia Aquarium in downtown Atlanta, then nearby local restaurants or retail shops from recognized national brands, such as Hard Rock Cafe or Foot Locker, have an opportunity to target that same person with a “Come Eat Here” or “Come Shop Here” type of message.
Geotarget with Confidence, Sooner Rather Than Later
Two things to consider when incorporating IP data into your marketing efforts:
- Publically available data is patchy, rarely updated, and inherently inaccurate; and
- Not all data providers are created equal. There are several suppliers and systems available that can determine where an IP is and, for a small investment, an answer can be provided. But, determining the correct location of an IP address, along with other contextual information, requires advanced infrastructure analysis―which not every vendor possesses.
NetAcuity® is a premium IP solution that, at its most granular level, can accurately and reliably locate an online user down to a city/postal code level and identify Wi-Fi connection locations without becoming personally identifiable. Accuracy is 99.99 percent at a country level, up to 97+ percent at a city level and the data is refreshed 24×7 and delivered weekly. It is also easy to deploy on an internal server, in less than 20 minutes. This is a tremendous advantage for businesses that want to quickly get out in front of the competition.
Once travel-related businesses find themselves on the other side of this pandemic, one thing is for certain—they are bound to emerge in a vastly different landscape than the one we experienced prior to the pandemic. In the meantime, geotargeting technology can play a huge part in helping the travel industry adapt to Americans’ preferences to stay a little bit closer to home.