The journey business got here to a screeching halt final yr as shoppers stayed indoors in the course of the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Journey, nevertheless, is bouncing again, and whereas the delta variant might doubtlessly derail that restoration, it hasn’t stopped airways from encouraging of us to fly.

“We undoubtedly noticed by COVID that youthful audiences had been touring sooner,” stated Natalie Bowman, managing director of selling and promoting for Alaska Airways.

Seattle-based Alaska Airways – the fifth largest airline in the US, which serves greater than 120 locations within the US, Mexico, Canada and Costa Rica – modified its digital promoting technique and media combine final yr partially to succeed in these youthful vacationers, Bowman stated.

The technique contains extra programmatic buys to allow extra precision-based promoting, primarily by digital video on paid social channels similar to YouTube, Fb and Instagram, with an even bigger push into rising advert platforms similar to TikTok. Linked TV may also play a bigger function within the airline’s digital video technique subsequent yr.

Programmatic now accounts for 15% of the airline’s general media spend, a bigger share of the general price range after the corporate paused most of its conventional “above the road” promoting in the course of the pandemic, Bowman stated.

The West Coast airline additionally included machine studying and first-party knowledge into its technique in the course of the pandemic to focus on campaigns. The corporate teamed with Google in Could of final yr to develop a “predictive buyer lifetime worth mannequin” through the Google Advertising Platform to raised goal audiences, Bowman stated.

Throughout the lull in journey, the airline additionally constructed a advertising knowledge warehouse utilizing Google Cloud, which tied collectively its first-party knowledge throughout CRM, media and web site analytics. Alaska Airways labored on the undertaking with Adswerve, a Google Advertising Platform companion.

Machine studying helped the airline predict which media investments would ship long-term worth and higher focus its advertising efforts.

“We’ve been utilizing [machine learning] to assist us drive larger high quality audiences and we’re seeing nice outcomes with that,” Bowman stated. Alaska Airways operationalized these predictive fashions throughout its funding with Google. Subsequent, it plans to increase these learnings to the remainder of its media shopping for, together with programmatic and Fb.

Social journey push

Again in December, the airline tapped media company Mekanism to provide you with a approach to get folks enthusiastic about touring once more. That led to Alaska Airline’s “Security Dance” marketing campaign – a play on the Eighties Males With out Hats hit tune – that included precise staff dancing in a hangar.

The adverts – that are nonetheless operating on Fb and YouTube and ran in San Francisco in the course of the Olympics – promote its Next-Level Care security protocols round well being and cleanliness, similar to carrying masks and training social distancing.

In Alaska Airline’s subsequent advert marketing campaign, which launched on Tuesday, it payments itself because the “Official Airline of Rescheduled Occasions” to advertise a fare sale with one-way flights as little as $39.

The adverts – that are operating on Fb, Instagram and TikTok – encourage vacationers to make up for canceled weddings, honeymoons and holidays, based mostly on the perception that almost half of vacationers in the US canceled their summer season holidays in 2020 because of the pandemic, in line with ValuePenguin.

Plus, leisure journey is seeing a resurgence greater than enterprise journey, Bowman stated.

“Within the spring we began to see bigger group journey … individuals are rescheduling their weddings or doing their ladies’ journeys or guys’ journeys that had been delayed,” she stated. “We knew there was nonetheless this urge for food for journey that folks nonetheless needed to have these actions and occasions, whether or not it is reconnecting with household or they only need to go have enjoyable.”

The rescheduled occasions idea got here out of Mekanism’s “Security Dance” marketing campaign in December, however Alaska Airways held the marketing campaign for months because the pandemic dragged on.

“I cherished the concept of it – it is such an ideal encapsulation of what everybody’s going by with so many rescheduled occasions, however we needed to put a pin in it – December was a bit of too quickly,” Bowman stated. “August felt like the proper time to mix these concepts.”

And if the delta variant forces vacationers to cancel or reschedule, Bowman stated the airline eradicated change charges for fares bought on or after Could 1.