Publishers in the travel sector work at a complex and varied industry, reaching across multiple markets to satisfactorily meet customer needs. Ad operations professionals need to check several boxes for customers -from airline bookings to hotel stays. That means mastering a mix of order management systems, CRM platforms, ERP systems, and billing software to keep up with the demand from advertisers and agencies.
Most travel-related products are perishable: the flight takes off and the night at a resort ends. At the same time, their ad inventory is highly specific to demographics, location, buyer preferences, purchase history, and even time of year, leading to numerous complexities in their advertising cycle that aren’t present in other markets.
Publishers for travel ads need to face dynamic pricing and bookings for the campaigns they work out of. This increases the likelihood of rather expensive booking errors. These tips can help you make the most of programmatic advertising.
1. Encourage Cooperation for Your Ad Ops Teams
Account managers in the travel industry need to keep a lot of customer information and programmatic data organized and accurate without missing a beat. When different departments are working out of different enterprise applications and sets of third-party data, this is almost impossible.
Instead, make sure your team working in sales, ad operations, and finance use the same dashboard to track not only the status for their different ad types or ad tags, but that you can timely keep hold of billing, invoicing, and accounting records for agencies and customers. Managers find it challenging to connect the dots between hotel ads, accounting, sales, and inventory records when all systems are different and managed across separate platforms. When teams work together, everyone will always be on the same page.
2. Keep Tabs on Marketing Attribution for Commissions
A lot goes into ad sales for the travel industry, including a complex set of expenses, taxes, and commissions in each package. In many cases, travel agencies either receive sizable commissions or deal with substantial fees as part of their sales goals. How did the customer convert? Is your publisher helping agencies track their ads?
At the same time, you may depend on different account executives and agencies to gather accounts and manage customers. Is your media campaign selecting the right intermediaries? As such, it’s critically important you can select, customize and distribute carefully the rights and responsibilities of oversight, considering the relevant pay factors.
3. Ensure They Can Master their Advertising CRM
Last minute changes are the name of the game in the travel industry. When things shift with no time to spare it’s important that everyone involved has the skills in customer relationship and order management to address issues without losing time or money:
- Booking errors.
- Outdated campaigns.
- Last-minute changes in targeting or creatives.
Some companies would rather develop an ad hoc CRM or order management system, developed in-house, thinking they can manage the workflows particular to their internal and external processes. However, if everyone, including internal employees and outsourced sales reps, doesn’t master every aspect of their work, it’s not possible to work without compromise. Make sure that you can offer your team the learning tools to help them get to know and master every field. the tools you use have the capacity to learn and knows every aspect, inside and out.
4. Provide Full Visibility
In ad sales, assumptions aren’t good enough. Instead, you need to fully understand the ins and outs of expenses and revenues across all different channels. There’s no time to connect the dots between programmatic and direct channels under normal circumstances, and in the travel industry, this is particularly true.
Customers need easily comprehensible, readily available, and actionable reporting during campaigns to best make last-minute decisions. With a dashboard that provides 360-degree visibility in one single platform, you can be sure everyone is on the same page.
5. Prioritize Customization in Your Order Management System
Different businesses have different priorities as far as advertising is concerned, and it’s important that your company and your customers focus in the right areas. As such, personalized media packages of ad units and placements for varying demographics and preferences are key – and the wrong choices can be enough to sink a campaign and lead to significant penalties related to incorrect ad placements.
Creating perfectly curated options isn’t easy. However, the legwork to accomplish this is worth it: with customizable and configurable offers, rules, and restrictions, you can ensure everyone has the ability to focus attention where it matters most.
6. Embellish Reporting Tools
Travel industry staples like airlines and hotels consistently work on tight deadlines and must accommodate a large number of changes and revisions with minutes to spare, make sure that their ad campaigns match these changes and avoid publications with the wrong targeting.
Without reports that can highlight customer issues quickly, these requirements may go unnoticed until it’s too late.
If not configured correctly, reporting tools can fail to integrate properly with the rest of the entire ad management software stack. If they connect accurately it’s possible to quickly correct records to prevent billing errors and take care of erroneous bids.
7. Bind Sales Channels Together
Most mistakes that occur in the service industry come from the lack of communication between departments and a lack of real-time visibility into ever-changing records. Instead of letting poor internal practices weigh you down, make sure your order management system can be easily viewed by everyone involved in the process, from anywhere, at any time.
After all, changes to advertising in the travel industry don’t always happen during business hours.
8. Avoid Overprocessing
A lot of data goes into ad sales management, and it’s only natural to feel that the only way to exert control is by doing things by hand. However, this mindset can hold you back. According to the Boston Consulting Group, out-of-date-systems that support manual processes almost inevitably lead to overprocessing, convoluted workarounds, and campaign-by-campaign procedures that increase the likelihood of errors and take up far too much of your valuable time. Instead of doing it all yourself, let automated tools lift the weight off of your shoulders.
When the upfront work necessary to streamline and simplify workflows is in place, deal transactions become, on average:
- 57% more efficient for publishers.
- 29% more efficient for agencies.
Mastering Programmatic Ad Issues
There’s nothing easy about ad sales in travel, even with the advantages programmatic has to offer. However, following the right steps can open significant doors, giving you the tools you need to get ahead – and stay that way.