DS News, Global

Why Travel firms should to be using digital dynamic creative

“We’d like to serve a different message on our digital advertising, depending on where the user is located, but we’d also like to change the image to be more relevant to the users interests as well, in 4 creative format sizes. Is that possible within this production budget?”


“Will it take a long time?”

“Good news! Nope! And it’s likely going to be 4x more engaging as well!”

A little background

The reason it’s a good thing? Digital dynamic advertising.

With the design forethought, this type of creative approach is SUPER useful for simplifying travel marketing campaigns, especially complex DMO (Destination Marketing Organisation) Co-Op campaigns. But more on that later.

So what is it?

In short, it’s presenting the right message, to the right person at the right time, using data targeting. The advantage is that a design is produced that can have all its elements changed, on the fly, based on various data criteria or triggers. So it means design once, but have many 1000’s of variations based on some data triggers.

This may not be new news for some, but it has some advantages specific to travel marketing.

First, a quick explanation of the data triggers. The things that will influence the adverts that get dynamically built.


Travel Retail is a great example for this. As travellers enter the airport, marketers can target users’ mobile phone locations and serve advertising as they are checking their phones. Perfume, duty free and luggage retailers, with outlets in differing airport terminals, can tailor their messages and catch the users at the right time with an offer message!

It’s also great for Hotel groups, identifying users who are currently near the location of a specific hotel. As the user browses sites on their phone, they are served a creative showing the image of their nearest hotel with its name and address, if they click, it will take them to book that hotel. The adverts are created dynamically, because the platform has a list of all the hotel locations, names, click outs and images. So when the user appears near a hotel in the list, the platform builds a creative for that specific hotel, for that specific user. Overlay contextual data, the fact the user is reading a page called “The Top 6 Hotels in Manchester” and it ceases to be advertising and becomes the right message, to the right person, at the right time. But more on contextual targeting later.

Feed based

Using weather is the go-to illustration. It’s raining where the user is, as they pick up their mobile phone to check their train times, they see an advert showing a sunny beach and a “Don’t worry! Soon you can be here!” message. If it’s sunny where the user is, we can opt not to serve an advert at all, or we can show, “What a wonderful day! Head for the beach!” messaging.

But it’s not just weather, there are feeds available from lots of places, including your own CRM, all can drive the dynamic creative. Abandoned baskets, viewing a specific piece of content on your website, all the usual suspects.


Many travel marketers want to target specific age or demographic groups with differing messages. A DMO can have one set of creative designs for their ADVENTURE CAMPAIGN, but change the imagery and the message depending on the end user demographic. The same creative ‘master’ can be used to display a high-octane, bungee jump image and price led messaging to a younger demographic, and a more relaxed road trip style adventure message for an older demographic. Within the same Adventure Campaign creative style, they can dynamically control the message based on demographics, without needing to design each and every creative.


One of the key benefits of dynamic advertising for tourism marketers, is the ability to design once and control the message to multiple interest groups at the right time. DMOs have a diverse set of niche interest groups that all need to be informed about the experiences they can have in the DMO destination. However, it’s time consuming to design, sign off and build creative that speaks directly to all of these passionate interest groups. Dynamic solves the problem in two ways. It simplifies the design, sign off and build phase and utilises targeting strategies to serve the correct creative to the right people, building the creative on the fly.

As long as the initial design for the creative (the creative master) has been thoughtfully designed, to allow any image or message to be displayed within its overall design, the system will generate all the variations of creative, without the need for a designer to create them all or for you to have to sign them all off! This reduces studio time and therefore, reduces production spend, leaving more budget on distribution of the media. This process also saves time for the marketing professionals at DMOs, as they only need to sign off on one creative master and provide their preferred imagery or messaging


This works in a similar way, but without pre-selecting an audience to trigger the advertising. In contextual, if a DMO wants to advertise their cycling, paddle-boarding, horse riding, green-laning, fishing, diving, cooking, rock climbing, bouldering, running, camping, trail walking, wild swimming experiences, they can use dynamic to “read” the content of a page the user is reading and serve a relevant creative message. A user reading a page about Shimano bike gears, can be served a creative with the SPRING CAMPAIGN look and feel, but tailor the image to Cycling Holidays in Scotland, the same SPRING CAMPAIGN creative would display to a user reading about fishing reels, but the image/message would change to promote Fishing Breaks in Scotland, using the same “creative master”, on the fly.

So you can see how DMOs can get all their niche messaging across to the right audiences without having to design 100’s of creatives, something that would have taken a huge amount of time, but is SUPER engaging because its right message, right person, right time.

A quick illustration

A DMO has an above the line, SPRING CAMPAIGN, with consistent design, look and feel, both online and offline, they want everything to be consistent. But they also want to promote 20 niche experiences to support their partners and stimulate direct response. With digital behavioural targeting, marketeers can find users who exhibit the online behaviours of say, “a Wildlife Enthusiast”, and then dynamically control the “creative master” message to show a wildlife image/message and a click out to their wildlife content, using the SPRING CAMPAIGN vernacular. Similarly, the same SPRING CAMPAIGN creative can be dynamically changed for “in-market for rock climbing holidays” with associated image/message and so on and so forth. Crucially, all of this can sit within the Spring Campaign design and messaging and can be adopted for the 20+ niche passion points/interest groups, without the need to design every single creative for each of the differing sizes.

DMO Co-Op Campaigns

DMOs (both national and regional) often run Co-Op campaigns with partners, tour operators and hotels. Dynamic is a brilliant way to simplify these campaigns. Consider the example where a national DMO runs a large, above the line, digital campaign, generating many millions of exposures and 100,000s of digital engagements. These are great leads for the partners, hotels and operators, the users have engaged and shown an interest in the destination.

Dynamic allows the DMO to run a follow up campaign with their partners, retargeting all engaged and interested users. Designing and building the creative once and dynamically adjusting the messaging for each partner dynamically, means many millions of creatives can be served for many partners. This often bolsters the relationship between DMO and partner organisations, enabling an advanced, digital Co-Op campaign that would have previously been unthinkable due to the time pressures the project would exert on them.

Take aways

  1. Dynamic creative allows DMOs to get high engagement with their niche interest groups, without the increased production costs of designing 100’s of individual ads
  2. DMOs can actively support their operators, partners and member organisations by opening up Co-Op retargeting campaigns to them, that may otherwise be too time consuming to manage.
  3. Overlaying targeting closes in on those niche target audiences, ensuring no wastage of media spend