How to use online marketing for your tourist audiences?

Are you looking to target tourists with your online marketing campaigns? If so, you’re not alone. Targeting tourists is an integral part of advertising, as it is often a primary source of revenue for businesses. On the other hand, it also comes with its own set of challenges. In this blog, we’ll cover the advantages and difficulties of targeting tourists, and focus on two popular platforms for tourist targeting: Meta ads and Tiktok ads.

Meta Ads

People traveling in this location

Meta (formerly Facebook) ads offer several options to target tourists, also known as ‘Location Targeting’. One of the classic ways to do this is by using the “People traveling in this location” setting in your campaign. This setting allows you to target people who are currently going through a specific location, such as a city or or even a street. By definition, this setting includes people in your selected area who are in their home country, but more than 125mi/200km from their home location. Noticeably, there are a few problems with this method; For one, it assumes that tourists will have their location settings on, which may not always be the case. Additionally, since there are always less engaged tourists than citizens, you can expect a higher CPM for a campaign like this, as the system has to work ‘harder’ to find the relevant people.

People who have recently been in a specific location

Another option is to target people who have recently been in a specific location. Defined as ‘people whose most recent location is the selected area, as determined only via mobile device. This targeting method includes people who live there or who may be traveling there”. This method also has its own set of problems; For one, since this option includes both travelers and residents, there’s a chance that irrelevant people will see the ad, which ultimately means the advertiser is paying for unwanted impressions and clicks. This mainly applies to one-time experience businesses, such as museums or theme parks, as residents are much less likely to visit them. However, some businesses benefit from such options, for example restaurants and bars in a busy area, since they cater to everyone. 

A screenshot of settings in Meta Ads showing 'people recently in this location'

People nearby central stations or an airport

A third option is to create an ad set targeting nearby central stations or the airport. This can be a good way to target people who are just arriving in a new location and may be looking for things to do. Here, you should focus on the means of transportation near the desired location, rather than the location itself. This will be a saved audience based on specific locations which you set. We advise to keep an eye out when you first publish, as there might be some locations which don’t bring any value. We, as an agency, have seen this work wonders in the past, and is an effective, creative method to target tourists.

Regardless of the method you choose, one problem that affects all three methods is that in order to effectively target tourists, they would need to go through your funnel (awareness, consideration, conversion). However, in most cases, tourists simply do not stay at the destination long enough for that. Therefore, when advertising to tourists, don’t be afraid to get a little pushy and have a traffic/ conversion campaign right away.

TikTok Ads

TikTok has quickly become a popular social media platform, especially among younger generations. As a result, TikTok Ads have also become a valuable tool for businesses looking to reach their target audience. However, TikTok’s location targeting can be somewhat limited in certain countries, making it difficult to target tourists effectively. For example, as an advertiser, you cannot target the city of Amsterdam, but only the whole of the Netherlands as a country. 

Interest Targeting

This, however,  doesn’t mean that TikTok is not a viable option for tourism-focused businesses. In fact, there are multiple targeting methods that businesses can use to reach tourists on the platform. One method is interest targeting, which is available on both TikTok and other social media platforms. While the interests on TikTok may be broad, such as “Live Entertainment”, “Music”, or “Education” businesses can still use them to their advantage. For example, a travel company promoting trips to Amsterdam could target users interested in “Travel” or “Europe” to reach a broader audience. Important to mention this method may be more effective if your business operates in multiple countries or with rather large budgets.

Hashtag Targeting

A more effective way to get specific on TikTok is through hashtag targeting. While advertisers cannot target a specific city like Amsterdam, they can use hashtags like “AmsterdamTips” or “AmsterdamBestSpots” to reach users interested in traveling to the city. In fact, TikTok’s algorithm makes it easy for users to discover new content based on the hashtags they follow & search, so targeting specific hashtags can be an effective way to reach a relevant audience.

Additional Benefits of TikTok

Additionally, one of the biggest advantages of using TikTok ads for tourism-focused businesses is the low CPM (cost per thousand impressions). This means that businesses can reach a large audience for a relatively low cost, making it an affordable way to advertise to potential tourists. Lastly, TikTok’s short-form video format makes it easy to capture users’ attention and promote engaging content, such as restaurants, hotels, or unique cultural experiences.

In summary, while TikTok’s location targeting may be limited in certain countries, there are still several ways for tourism-focused businesses to reach their target audience on the platform. By using interest and hashtag targeting, taking advantage of TikTok’s low CPM, and creating engaging content, businesses can effectively promote their services to a broad audience interested in travel.

Meta Ads or TikTok Ads with Hide and Seek

Targeting tourists can be both lucrative and challenging. Meta Ads and TikTok Ads offer different ways to reach them, as both have their own set of advantages and limitations. Regardless of the method you choose, remember that tourists may not have a lot of time to go through your funnel. Therefore, don’t be afraid to be a little more aggressive in your marketing efforts, as chances are they are looking for something nice to do on their trip anyway. With these methods, any advertiser can successfully reach and convert tourist audiences. We hope this blog post has provided some valuable insights that you can use now or in the future for your online advertising campaigns.

If you want our help reaching your audience, at Hide and Seek we specialize in TikTok -and Meta Ads. Reach out through the contactform below or stop by for a coffee!

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