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Strategic Timing for Success in Busy Season Marketing

Last updated on February 22, 2024
6 minute read
Key Takeaways

  • Anticipate upcoming events, promotions, and seasonality.
  • Start marketing at the right time to get a jump on your peak season.

Skill Level

All Skill Levels

In the dynamic world of marketing, timing is crucial. Whether prepping for your high season or an upcoming promotion, launching your campaigns at the right time is key.

People browse travel options year-round, with certain periods seeing increased activity. Expedia states travelers spend around 38 days researching and planning—providing ample opportunities for marketers to capture a booking. 

Understanding this customer journey helps determine when to start your marketing efforts, and you can take this a step further by using your own data to dictate your marketing schedule. Let’s delve deeper into effective timing strategies for your marketing campaigns.

When Do Travelers Research And Plan Travel?

Travel planning is a process that usually begins with inspiration followed by research, and the timing can vary greatly depending on the traveler and their destination. 

Generally speaking, you want to anticipate upcoming events, promotions, and seasonality, and take those all into account when building your content calendar

You should also do some research on your specific area or industry to see when travelers are typically booking activities—and perhaps ask your fellow operators in the FareHarbor Community

textAccording to GetYourGuide, 80% of travelers start thinking about their next trip three months in advance, with 44% commencing their research during this period. Furthermore, over 50% of trips are planned for the upcoming three months.

Consider starting your marketing campaigns around three months prior to your peak season. For instance, if your busy season is summer, marketing efforts should kick off in March or April for North America and Europe, and September or October for Australia and New Zealand.

In essence, marketing in the travel industry should align with when people typically begin researching and planning their trips. If you have your own website and booking data, you can further narrow down the ideal marketing window. 

Understand Your Customers’ Typical Booking Patterns

Taking the above a step further, understanding your customers’ typical browsing and booking patterns is crucial to optimizing your marketing efforts in the travel industry. This involves analyzing your own data to identify when your customers usually book their trips, which can guide you on when to launch your marketing campaigns.

Use the FareHarbor reports in this Compass guide to help you find that information. Pay attention to how far in advance customers book their activities as well as other trends like which days of the week customers tend to book.

Don’t forget about Google Analytics and website data! Look for spikes in website traffic and how they correlate to seasonality, holidays, and other events. 

Another strategy is to look at previous marketing campaigns. Revisit last year’s campaigns and analyze their timing and performance to gain valuable insights. 

Pro Tip: Use online reference tags and UTMs to track the success of marketing campaigns. Both tags can be added to any URL and allow that link to be trackable. Online reference tags are viewable in your FareHarbor Dashboard and answer the question, “where did a given booking come from?” UTMs are used in tandem with Google Analytics to track the specific sources of your website traffic. Implementing both tags will show you which campaigns generated clicks to your website, and how many viewers converted into bookers. 

Cater To All Booking Patterns

Considering all booking patterns is essential in the travel industry, as not everyone follows the same booking timeline. While it’s beneficial to ramp up marketing efforts ahead of key booking windows, it’s equally important to maintain an up-to-date booking calendar well in advance for those early bird bookers who plan their trips six months or more in advance.

If your business goal is to encourage early bookings, consider implementing strategies tailored toward this audience. For instance, offering early bird discounts or exclusive benefits can incentivize customers to book ahead.

Remember, if it’s January and your peak season is summer, ensure that your online availability accurately reflects this on your booking calendar. This allows early planners to secure their bookings when they want to, providing a seamless customer experience. 

By understanding and catering to all types of booking patterns, you can maximize your bookings and create a strategy that works for all types of travelers.

Remember: in the travel industry, successful marketing is all about timing. So start planning your campaigns now and get ahead of the busy season

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