Why bad weather may spell good news for marketers

Why bad weather may spell good news for marketers
Heading up the group’s media business, The Travel People, Alessandra oversees non e-commerce revenues for the group. With over a decade of experience in digital marketing, Alessandra has previously held roles at eBay Advertising and Vodafone, with a focus on mobile and data-driven product development.

Freezing temperatures, snow, storms and flooding – welcome to winter.

Adverse weather can cause chaos for businesses. But for marketers, these weather ‘spikes’ can in fact be golden opportunities to cash in on the nation’s collective weather woes.

When the weather takes a turn for a worse, it’s no surprise that many of us will start searching for winter essentials – from coats to umbrellas. But it also creates a ‘travel trigger’, as people look to escape the cold outdoors.

This is an obvious marketing opportunity for airlines and hotels to grab with both hands – but beyond that, the travel trigger is also a lucrative shopping window for other brands to jump through.

Data from lastminute.com shows that on the day of Storm Clodagh in November 2015 (the third biggest storm to tear the UK apart last year) searches for international flights shot up by 42%.

Having the agility to flex ad strategies in real-time is key when it comes to maximising budgets and boosting ROI

Rome and Barcelona topped the list, with more than a 70% rise in searches, as people looked for a sunnier climate not too far from home. But searches for Las Vegas also shot up by 54% as the nation looked to splurge on a long-haul trip.

‘Wintery mood’

But mindset is just as important as what’s happening outside our windows – people can feel in a ‘wintery’ mood even if winter hasn’t quite hit yet. UK searches for flights to Europe shot up by 61% on 23rd August 2015 as the Met Office predicted a washout for the Bank Holiday weekend – with searches for international flights rising by 42%.

And when the clocks went back last autumn, searches for international flights on lastminute.com shot up by a fifth (22%) overnight, as the dark evenings returned and people looked to treat themselves to city breaks and holidays.

Topping the list of destinations was New York with a 43% rise in searches, followed by Milan, Amsterdam, Barcelona and Las Vegas.

Catching consumers in the right mindset is key. When it comes to travel we know that people are ready and willing to treat themselves on experiences and everything they need to make them memorable.

That’s why brands across all sectors can really reap the benefits of reacting to external factors like the weather.

Be flexible and creative 

Whether you’re advertising shoes, cameras, a bank account or beauty products, there’s an opportunity to capitalise on people’s passion points by building a little creativity and flexibility into campaigns.

Wouldn’t it be a prime opportunity to serve someone an ad for some flip flops as they book their holiday to Ibiza; an ad for travel insurance as people browse for trips to the French Alps; or a video on the best photography spots in Morocco?

Targeting consumers based on factors like weather triggers will only help to improve the performance of advertising campaigns, by giving people genuinely helpful information, products and services at the time that they need it. With an uncertain 2017 ahead, getting the most bang for your marketing buck will be even more important.

And having the agility to flex ad strategies in real-time is key when it comes to maximising budgets and boosting ROI.

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