Feed Management for the travel industry
Posted on March 10, 2022 (Last Updated: March 10, 2022)
Using Excel files to keep track of destinations is a common practice among travel agencies. It is a simple way to organize data in one place, but is there a better way to do it?
Regularly updating and making sure that the information disclosed in excel sheets is still relevant involves a lot of effort and working hours spent on repetitive tasks. When the data is not updated on time, it results in wasting ad spend and potential revenue since destinations that are sold out or not relevant anymore are still being advertised.
How to improve?
In this extremely dynamic sector, success is all about relevance. Switching from excel sheets to XMLs can significantly improve results. Through improving relevance, quality scores can be increased. Consequently, conversion rates increase and bounce rates are reduced.
The next step is to get better data sources and to continuously enrich fields. SA 360 is a great tool to ensure relevance. The dynamic ads function allows marketers to track inventory levels real-time and to make sure only those destinations are advertised which are likely to lead to conversion.
However, to make an effective use of SA 360 the feeds uploaded need to meet the standards of the platform. To achieve that, a feed management system can be the best friend of agencies. The data gathered by the company can be optimized with the help of a feed management system and put into use in SA 360 to maximize effectiveness.
How a feed management system can improve travel agencies’ visibility
One of the biggest hurdles for travel companies such as travel agencies, airlines and hotel chains is leveraging their data for advertising through marketing channels such as Google and Facebook. The hurdle arises from the fact that these types of travel companies operate with such interchangeable and vast amounts of data, making it very difficult to ensure that the data is well-structured and updated correctly.
The high amount of variables(Read: Departure, Destination, Date, Seats, Sub-destination…) creates endless combinations of unique fares, amounting to a vast amount of data, to structure and maintain. The interchangeable nature of the data, such as pricing going up and down, seats being booked by the minute and travels being relevant one moment and not even existing the next moment, requires intense updates of the data to ensure coherence between what is displayed and what is actually on sale.
Creating the most effective ad setup from such a wide range of data, can be very hard. Creating ads from a given departure airport to all the given destinations alone, can be a fulltime job, with changing offerings by the day. And this is just to cover the basics, we will get into how to make it more intelligent later.
How one want data to be handled also depends on the destination of the data, and for travel agencies there are several destinations which might be relevant, such as: PPC campaigns(Google or Bing), Social Media(Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram) for retargeting and prospecting, Affiliate, Display(Google) or marketing automations.
There are two ways to create a well structured travel ads feed. Either the travel agency is able to deliver the data in a dynamic way(API, Feed on URL, file on FTP) OR we can crawl a feed for them.
The first one is pretty straightforward, they expose the data, containing all the relevant data points. For instance from/to airports, countries, dates, prices, country and region are the most crucial. These will be imported and formatted. If ads are only meant for example Google text ads, Display ads, Facebook ads or such, adding some intelligent filters to the data are recommended. With that data can be segmented based on different criterias, such as cheapest possible fare to any unique from/to combination, direct routes, current offerings etc.
With a feed management system, travel companies will be able to load this pool of data in, structure it and format however they want. Then comes the creation of ads. Based on the intelligence behind a feed management platform, they will be able to automatically create campaigns based on any of the above mentioned variables.
For instance, if they wanted to create a departure airport based campaign setup they could do so in very simple steps.:
1) They would set the feed management system to split the travels by the departure airport, meaning that each airport would become a campaign.
2) if they wanted to do this solely for the cheapest travels to any given destination from any of the above departure airports, they could set the filter function to only include the cheapest fare to any given destination to that particular airport.
3) Create the ad. Now they could create an ad saying “Travel to X from Y for only $ZZ- with WUD”
The above mentioned is a price focused example, however it is only one of many options available to seamlessly create a lot of ads with tailored messages that are constantly updating. Other Examples could be - direct route from X or to Y, date (travel tomorrow from Y to Z).