Big Data means big business but many in the media agency landscape are still at loss with how to make the most of these quick-moving dashboards with filters and real-time figures. Even more so if talking about applying travel intelligence to media buying campaigns, outdoor advertising, and social media marketing campaigns.

Gordon Clark, VP of Biz Development for Media was recently invited to present at the Global Outdoor Advertising Festival in London where he disclosed the current big picture scenario on the current travel recovery in the world and across the UK to a wide range of brands, advertising executives and media players. The objective was to demystify this concept of travel data and make it more actionable for media professionals.

Debunking travel data for media agencies

Let’s address the elephant in the room. Relevancy of the data. Who needs it? Travel data is very specific and the data from ForwardKeys is granular enough to break things down to consumer habits, preferences, and profiles. This means should you have a travel brand client or a tourism board, the data can help you craft the messaging for its next comms campaign, tagline, or even hashtag.

So according to the latest ticketing data from ForwardKeys, international travel has reached 62% of 2019 levels in Q2 – Europe and the Americas are leading the race to recover fastest. Global account managers will consider this when pitching to new clients or planning for budgets, live activations, and other promotions.

More excitingly for those agencies who specialise in designer brands or business travellers, finally business travel is rearing its head, at 10% of 2019 levels. (It was until recently at zero.) Which destinations are attracting the most business travel? Dominican Republic, Maldives, and Norway.

“Attracting investment is a priority and a duty for our country. We have already identified four master investment plans in different areas of the country, which involve a relaunch of sustainable tourism, innovation tourism, cultural tourism, and meeting tourism. The projects to be developed in the coming years are Costa del Ámbar, Miches and the relaunch of the Colonial City, and are contained in the Tourism Investment Guide for the DR,” said David Collado, Minister of Tourism of the Dominican Republic.

Did you expect those destinations? Probably not – but everything has changed since the pandemic and with most of APAC’s famous business hubs closed for business, new business hot spots abound.

Can you guess who are the most active business travellers in Q2? Israelis and at a staggering figure, up by 217% versus 2019 levels. This was followed by Nigeria (yes, an African nation) and Norway. Knowing this information, can you see how vital it is to know your audience better?

Use-case: The UK and outdoor advertising

Campaign planning around messaging and imagery aside, ForwardKeys airport data goes down to the terminal level on an hourly basis. So, if you have bought digital signage or any prime OOH billboards around the airport for your client, nailing the nationality, type of traveller and even their dwelling time at the airport if between transfers – is crucial.

Another good use for this data is knowing what type of brand ambassadors to use and when. Or if staging a pop-up which airport/terminal would have the best ROI for your brand or client.

Looking further at the data focusing on UK’s most resilient airports between April and September, spot the difference? It’s the smaller airports that are outperforming the Gatwick’s of the world! Another missed opportunity as most agencies invested heavily in the once big players, right?

Like it or not, the world has changed since the pandemic. Targeting, engaging, and converting consumers has taken a new direction as world borders open and close in the blink of an eye. But have faith, as quickly as people adapted to doing things online or via their smartphone, you’ll see the next adoption will be of travel big data in advertising campaigns. Social metrics, sentiment reports and focus groups have all been done and tested, this is the next big thing.


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