AMERICAS. Travel data analyst ForwardKeys and its longstanding partner PSI Advertising are combining to present a session at the Summit of the Americas next week (6 April) which will give insights into the travel recovery of the region and the opportunities to target native audiences with OOH advertising. The Moodie Davitt Report’s Senior Business Editor Mark Lane caught up with ForwardKeys VP Insights Olivier Ponti and PSI Advertising Managing Director Ben Milne ahead of the event to find out more about the power of combining rich travel data with targeted advertising. Sign up for the event via the link at the foot of this feature.
Q&A 1: PSI Advertising Managing Director Ben Milne
The Moodie Davitt Report: What stands out for you about ForwardKeys as a travel data analytics company?
Ben Milne: PSI has been on a long journey to develop a global intelligence platform that will provide our clients with increasing levels of insight on what people think, do and feel when navigating the media landscape. The need to work with partners who are able to provide accurate, scalable and up to date data has never been more vital in demystifying the way that diverse audiences travel the world.
ForwardKeys is a partner that is constantly pushing the boundaries of what is possible in travel intelligence and audience understanding. Their flexible and collaborative nature means that they offer market leading products and services that are customised to PSI’s challenges and which has resulted in a successful four-year partnership.
“We know that shorter booking lead times mean that global travel media campaigns need to be planned in increasingly agile ways. This data gives us the ability to help our clients achieve this”
How do you see the data being generated by ForwardKeys being useful in the context of out-of-home advertising and generating opportunities and targets for the PSI business?
ForwardKeys’ data gives us a view on what we can expect in terms of the recovery in audiences in the airport environment and in travel. This is useful in the context of OOH advertising as it highlights which countries, cities, airports and even terminals are going to be most valuable to reach the growing travel audience. It helps inform our targeting choices and investment strategies.
It also helps us understand which origin/destination pairs and nationalities of travellers are viable and valuable in terms of media opportunities throughout the entire global travel corridor including at OOH touchpoints in the origin and destination markets.
Can you give some examples of how you might apply OOH advertising to the thriving and emerging locations identified in ForwardKeys’ data?
We have been using our insights derived from ForwardKeys’ data to help inform our clients when and where to be engaging with specific audience segments travelling to and from LATAM, North America and the Caribbean.
From DMOs ready to reengage with travellers from specific origin markets, to disruptor banks looking to reach C-suites travelling intra-regionally in LATAM, the insights allow us to help a number of brands across verticals to optimise their media selection in a more effective way.
We know that shorter booking lead times mean that global travel media campaigns need to be planned in increasingly agile ways. This data gives us the ability to help our clients achieve this.
Are the targets for your advertising services and assets airport locations? Do these locations not already have exclusive airport advertising projects in place? Or are we also talking about non-airport opportunities, perhaps in other locations where tourists gather?
Both, as an agency that specialises in building the most valuable engagements for brands to connect to a travelling audience, we look at what touchpoints are most valuable across what we call the entire global travel corridor.
Clearly airport media is incredibly important and we work with all the concessionaires across airports globally to secure the best solutions for the brands we work with. At the same time we are working with media owners in markets to continue the engagement with audiences we target with downtown OOH and other key moments during their journey be that hotel wifi, inflight solutions or programmatic travel targeting.
What’s your view on the long-term prospects of OOH advertising in travel-related and tourism locations, and the role data can play in making it effective for your advertising clients?
Whilst the pandemic has impacted the OOH advertising and travel industries in an unprecedented manner it is all a result of the artificial reduction in audience numbers driven by stay-at-home regulations and the like. There is a growing body of evidence that supports the data that clearly demonstrates that pent-up demand is not wishful thinking but in fact an absolute human reality.
For example, as soon as regulation-easing measures were announced in the UK and a timeline on travel was established we could clearly see a spike in forward bookings. This highlights one of the most important roles data has to play in recovery – pinpointing and predicting where to focus as we navigate the nuances of recovery that will be driven by vaccine rollout and specificity of country level and international border regulations.
Human beings however are social animals and whilst there will be trepidation for some and although the re-emergence of travel will happen relatively slowly, I have no reason to believe that the pandemic has driven any lasting change in real human desire or behaviour to travel.
I have no doubt that the sector will rebound stronger than before. In terms of data, it clearly has a huge role to play in terms of predicting and guiding how and when to reconnect to audiences which in turn will make our campaigns more effective by ensuring investment matches audience and intent.
Alongside this there is a role for data to drive better, more relevant creative executions, fuelling things like dynamic creative optimisation in OOH, as you will see in the United case study in our session with ForwardKeys at the Summit of the Americas.
Can you tell us about something you are keen to see take off in the Americas in terms of advertising?
This is a difficult one to answer as each market in the America’s is quite different and there are a different set of challenges. The work the OAAA and Geopath are doing in the US for example is fantastic at driving forward the cutting edge in OOH, especially in the areas of regulation and measurement.
In less developed markets there are more fundamental challenges to crack still like standardisation and audience measurement. One uniform challenge being addressed across the Americas right now is the issue of how to ensure successful implementation of automation and programmatic technologies to bring the benefits that these can deliver to brands looking to access audiences in different ways in the medium.
We are very excited about the potential that this area has to grow – there is a lot of noise out there in this arena but so far the work hasn’t quite lived up to the hype, although it is getting there. I would expect at some point we will be seeing headlines like “202X is the year of programmatic OOH” as we did with mobile a decade ago – it’s definitely one to watch.
What interests does PSI currently have in the Americas market, and why do you see it as a key market for OOH advertising going forward?
The Americas is a really important market for a number of brands that we work with. It encapsulates some of the largest markets in the world in terms of both land mass and population size – both of which have quite a specific influence on the way the market operates in OOH and travel and consequently how we approach them.
A new political dynamic in North America is something we are keen to watch develop as the US wrestles with the growing scale and importance of China on the world stage and seeks to assert/re-assert its dominance and what impact that will have on domestic and international OOH.
We saw a clear trend in our US headquartered clients in 2020 to temporarily pause spending outside the US whilst maintaining and often increasing spend in their domestic market. Meanwhile we definitely see headroom in the LATAM markets for global brands as they seek alternative growth engines which may offer more stability than some other markets. The competition between Brazil and India to be ‘the next China’ is one to watch over the next five years.
Q&A 2: ForwardKeys VP Insights Olivier Ponti
The Moodie Davitt Report: Why do you think the data you produce is useful to an out-of-home advertising expert such as PSI?
Olivier Ponti: Effective advertising is all about making content that resonates with the target audience and can be seen by the right person at the right time. Our Traveller Statistics data does exactly that. It can tell travel retailers, brands and media agencies who to expect, from which country, at which airport terminal, at what time.
Not only can you zero in on the perfect product match but also it allows you to adapt your language, and even strengthen your OOH campaign by having an activation or pop-up on site.
“The pandemic can be seen both negatively and positively. What we once knew, does not apply anymore. It’s time for travel organisations and businesses to think outside the box and replace intuition with data”
Based on your data, are there any particular markets that you think currently have the most potential for PSI, and do these markets include locations in the Americas?
Our data has been consistently showing positive growth in tickets issued for Mexico and the Dominican Republic out of the US airports of Dallas, Miami and Philadelphia. Perhaps those are some locations for an exciting new OOH campaign for the likes of PSI.
What can we expect from your joint presentation with PSI at the Summit of the Americas?
We hope to leave our audience optimistic and allow them to take away new business ideas that soon become actions. In our presentation not only will we be revealing new pockets of opportunities in domestic US travel but also regional travel, particularly to the Caribbean.
Yes, we have a global pandemic, which is absolutely challenging, but we also can see improvements made by some governments and airlines in terms of seat capacity and travel restrictions.
What three things would you share as “hot tips” to travel retailers and brands looking at the Americas for new business opportunities?
The pandemic can be seen both negatively and positively. What we once knew, does not apply anymore. It’s time for travel organisations and businesses to think outside the box and replace intuition with data. That’s tip one.
Tip two is that the passenger profile is evolving just like the crisis. For instance, did you know that solo travellers are now travelling more frequently to the Dominican Republic, not honeymooners? Or that in the Maldives a growing number of families flying in business class or first class are landing from Russia and the UAE? Are you equipped for these changes?
Lastly, ask yourself, is your outdoor advertising located in the right place for the right audience?
When looking at your data at ForwardKeys for this presentation on the Americas, did anything take you by surprise?
During the research phase of this presentation, I was impressed by the continued resilience of Florida. From turbulent national elections, the rampage of COVID-19 through the US, and travel restrictions – Florida has held on to its position as the top domestic leisure haven. Miami is still doing well for international departures too.
Is there anything new and exciting, in terms of product development, at ForwardKeys that could be useful for the travel retail sector?
At ForwardKeys we never sit on our hands. The industry and our clients expect only the best and non-stop innovation, and as such we have just added a new feature to Traveller Statistics, allowing clients to see short-term forecasts as well as look as far ahead as ten years via the long-term forecasts. I am sure this will have many travel retailers curious to see what’s on the cards for them now and post-pandemic.
Ben Milne and Olivier Ponti will be present a joint Knowledge Hub session at the Summit of the Americas next week. The session – titled Embracing travel recovery in the Americas: The power of data in understanding and driving demand – takes place on Tuesday 6 April at 14:00 EST. You can register for the event here.
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