How Travel Marketers Can Use AI-Powered Content Marketing to Encourage Safe Holiday Tourism During COVID-19


Friday, November 20, 2020 9:38 PM

As we kick off the official start to the 2020 holiday season, things are looking very different for most Americans this year. Due to a new surge in the COVID-19 crisis, many are looking at making new plans to celebrate the upcoming holidays and trying to figure out ways of making them safe yet special. According to a mid-October estimate from AAA, 50 million Americans are still expected to travel for Thanksgiving—5 million less than last year and the largest one-year decrease since 2008. While the pandemic has greatly affected if & how consumers will be going places this holiday season, travel marketers still have a goal to achieve: educating consumers about their local communities, any current COVID restrictions, and encouraging visitors to come into their area in a safe and secure way. What’s the best way to get up-to-date messaging across to a larger audience in an effective way? Content marketing, specifically AI-powered content marketing.

AI-powered content marketing is employing a content strategy that’s optimized by artificial intelligence. By employing AI-powered content distribution and/or calls-to-action, travel marketers have been able to gain proprietary insights into how the content is resonating with consumers, as well as optimize limited ad-spend towards the pieces of content which are delivering real ROI. Let’s break down what AI-powered content distribution + AI-powered calls-to-action (or as we like to call them, Content Intelligence) can each do to create the most effective content strategy:

Content marketing distribution powered by artificial intelligence is important for a few reasons:

  1. Machine learning can take any “guesswork” out around what content will perform best with which audience/interests/channel, and test thousands of different permutations to make sure marketers are making the most from each piece of content.
  2. When using an AI-powered content distribution platform like inPowered, it enables marketers to really tailor their campaigns towards real ROI instead of just clicks or pageviews. Bigger business outcomes can instead be achieved, such as lead generation, increased time spent onsite, consumer engagement, and growing positive brand affinity.
  3. AI-powered content distribution can also build high quality custom audiences based on campaign user engagement, breaking it down by important metrics like amount of time spent with the content, percentage of content scrolled, and (if applicable) any interactions with call-to-actions. This will allow travel marketers to also have a list of pre-qualified users and retarget them in future campaigns, automatically steering them towards success and real ROI.

By employing AI-powered calls-to-action, or Content Intelligence, it provides a necessary “temperature check” with each piece of content to understand if & how each piece of content is resonating with consumers. As marketers know, consumer behavior is changing at a rapid pace during the pandemic. By gaining a tangible understanding as to the many shifts in COVID-consumer behavior, this proprietary data can in-turn be utilized to adjust messaging accordingly. With this unique information and focus on continuing engagement with target consumers, Content Intelligence can then optimize the entire content strategy and gear them towards these bigger business outcomes we previously discussed.

Now that we’ve broken down why AI-powered marketing is essential for travel marketers during this holiday season , what are some content creation ideas to encourage safe, socially distant traveling while being considerate of COVID? Some thought-starters we’ve seen work well with clients include:

  • Updates on any area-specific restrictions and case counts
  • Stories about local businesses helping others during the holidays
  • Black Friday/holiday shopping deals with local stores
  • Holiday inspiration, share photos of lights/festive displays that give color to the community
  • Local destinations where social distancing can be done while still enjoying the attraction
  • What to do post-pandemic/creating a need for a return trip

Two travel clients that have been successfully employing AI-powered content marketing to continue momentum during the holiday season while being cognizant of COVID:

  • Major Western State Travel Org
    • They used AI-powered content to engage over 50,000 people and drive audiences to sign up for their newsletter, successfully generating leads through a “next action” funnel of consideration and increasing time spent onsite by 2.5X
    • 39X increase in actual leads generated (compared to not using AI)

“We learned that we could utilize AI-powered technology to take an otherwise upper-funnel tactic and create meaningful connections with the most engaged audiences, pulling users further through the traveler’s journey to consider a visit to this state. Not only has this facilitated on-going communication between our organization and potential visitors, but it has also helped shape the approach to future content strategy, allowing us to hone in on the topics or road trips that resonated most with consumers…insights that are especially critical now during COVID-19 and its impact on the travel industry as a whole.”

  • Major US Auto Club
    • They utilized AI-powered content to engage nearly 110,000 consumers, increase brand affinity and time spent on their website by 4X through amplifying relevant & useful posts from their blog during COVID-19.
    • 21% CTR with AI-powered calls-to-action to spend more time reading “related stories,” a 22X increase (compared to not using AI)

“Partnering with inPowered has allowed us to gain a strong understanding of what content on our platform is resonating most with our audience, especially during the COVID-19 era when consumer behavior and content needs are evolving. This AI-powered technology has allowed us to drive real ROI with content marketing during a challenging time.”

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