Insights for Destination & Leisure Marketers

Battle of the Banner Ads: Travel Edition

There are two things that follow me around endlessly on the web – shoes and travel brands. These are the two industries that have really taken advantage of the brilliant (though some think creepy) approach of retargeting. (For an easy explanation of retargeting, check out the graphic here.)

I do not think retargeting is creepy. Because of retargeting I have a closet full of shoes that have made cozy, happy homes inside, waiting for the latest new friends to join them. Retargeted travel banner ads are a little different for me, because of the higher price point, but they are still highly effective, especially for those with the means to travel.

Whether I’m being retargeted or just targeted, I’ve collected several travel banner ads over the past week or so, but I found these three particularly attention-grabbing, and each for a very different reason. Winner of this battle announced at the bottom of the post.

1. Myrtle Beach Tourism

travel banner ads

For several days, I could not escape the Myrtle Beach ads. Visually, they aren’t exceptional in any way – nice fonts, nice photos. But it’s the message that really caught my eye: 60 More Days of Summer. They tapped into a feeling that many of us, particularly New Englanders, feel at the end of summer, that dull ache that only comes as our days of sandcastles and sunshine slip away, and we pack up our kids and send them off to school. But wait, Myrtle Beach is giving me 60 more days of that – okay, I’ll bite. The website pays it off nicely, at least in terms of messaging. They are letting you in on a secret that only the locals know about, that summer hasn’t stopped yet in Myrtle Beach. They are still experiencing sandcastles and sunshine, and you can too.

2. Renaissance Hotels

travel banner ads

Renaissance Hotels caught my eye for the opposite reason of Myrtle Beach. Visually, the large black square with orange writing stands out on almost any web page. Unless you’re a zombie, you can’t help but look at it. But the message violates a cardinal rule of advertising copy – don’t ask a yes-or-no question, unless you know for sure that the answer will work in your favor. Have I got 15 seconds? Nope. Nor do most people.

3. Colombia Tourism

travel banner ads

Admittedly, this ad did not come to me directly but through a colleague. It was just too interesting not to include in the mix. Go ahead, read the madness. Does it get my attention? Yes. Because Colombia is Magical Realism is perhaps the most bizarre headline I’ve ever read. And there again is that yes-or-no question; although in this case, Colombia answers it for you, and the answer makes even less sense than the question.

Winner of Battle of the Banner Ads: Travel Edition – Myrtle Beach Tourism