August 20, 2019

Best Practices for Travel Marketing Creative

What if as a marketer you knew that “these deals are our way of giving thanks” would engage thousands more customers than “you’ll love this trip?” Would it change how your travel marketing creative was developed?

More importantly, what if you knew why it performed better?

Today, travel industry marketing leaders are explicitly tasked with driving business growth. It’s a complex objective that includes analyzing disparate data points, building a positive team culture and understanding the value of new technologies and vendors. But often, when it comes to the contribution of individual campaigns, revenue contribution can come down to just a few words. 

Both the above phrases may appear to be effective copy, yet they are quite different in terms of construction and, ultimately, effectiveness The first evokes a sense of Gratitude, while the second attempts to encourage Excitement. Gratitude has been shown to be a top performing emotion for travel industry marketing creative.

Persado Analytics has shown that customers feel more emotionally connected to — and therefore engage more with — messages that stimulate a feeling of Gratitude than those that convey Excitement. 

Travel marketing leaders need every competitive advantage they can get in a digital landscape where customers can switch from one website to the next looking for the best options for planes, cruises, hotels and amenities. Persado research has shown that emotional connection contributes to roughly 60% of a message’s success and the right emotional words can make or break a campaign’s performance.

How used AI to improve marketing creative and increase engagement 

Product descriptions, CTAs, formatting elements and positioning are also important pieces to the puzzle. It is imperative that marketing leaders pinpoint the precise words and phrases that work for each element of a marketing message. A Persado analysis of more than 300 million messages provides travel industry marketing leaders with a definitive list of travel marketing creative best practices to expand business through customer engagement and conversions. Here are the key takeaways and insights

Web Pages and Banners

For web pages, functional language (the call-to-action) is the most important element. AI can help marketing teams get more creative with their CTAs, which often wind up being “learn more” when drafted by humans alone.  


Formatting, which includes stylistic elements such as bold or italicized fonts and emojis, is critical to attracting engagement on the crowded Facebook platform. Emotions ranked a close second — harnessing the precise emotional language helps a brand sound more relatable. 

Direct Mail

Emotional and functional language are the top two elements in direct mail campaigns. Descriptive language ranked third. Make sure the product offer and description are written to optimize engagement.


The contribution of elements for display ads is the most equally spread out of any channel. Functional and emotional are the top two, but descriptive and formatting aren’t far behind. Positioning (the placement of the ads) ranks fifth but still contributes 10.83% to message effectiveness.


Emotion contributes most to engagement with email subject lines and ranks second behind Functional in email body copy. 


Between January 2016 and February 2019, Persado ran a series of experiments to discover the most impactful emotions, descriptions and CTAs across four major industries: travel, retail & eCommerce, technology and financial services. In total, Persado completed over 8,149 language explorations, including more than 300 million message permutations, reaching 2.4B impressions across six channels. The results are based on an amalgamation of what works best across all major channels and can help marketers to make the right appeal to the right customer. Note: Numbers in graphs reflect averages across numerous experiments. Percentages may not add up to 100%. 

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