Tourism Marketing: Tracking Actions

Woman being photographed in front of hundreds of hot air balloons.

You’ve taken the time to brainstorm, strategize, and build your digital campaign. You’re now able to see how people are interacting with your ads. But what about the campaigns that drive traffic to your website? Ever curious about what actions users who clicked on ads are taking?

Tracking actions, such as button clicks or form submission, on your website can inform you a lot about web visitors. It signals an activation of interest in your services or products. To track actions, you will want to have a Google Tag Manager account. Tags are segments of code that you can configure and track actions like button clicks. With tags, you can track how many times a button for Australia trips is clicked or see how far down on a Travel Package page a user scrolls down.

This article will focus on how to track a form in Google Tag Manager and how to monitor the tracking in Google Analytics.

Form Tracking in Google Analytics

Step 1: Create new tag

  • Under Tag Configuration, select Google Analytics: Universal Analytics tag type
  • Track Type: Event
  • Event Tracking Parameters: Here you will create how Google will identify the tag. What you put into these fields will be how to find this tag in Analytics, so make sure it is clear what you are tracking.

  • Under Google Analytics Settings, select your Google Analytics Tracking Variable.
    • If you don’t have one set up in Tag Manager, select New Variable on the drop-down list. Name the variable “Google Analytics Tracking ID” and add the tracking code to the Tracking ID field. To find the tracking code, open a new tab and go to Analytics, Admin Settings, Property Settings, Tracking Info, and select Tracking Code.

Step 2: Create new trigger

  • Select Form Submission as the trigger
  • Select Some Forms
  • Here is where you determine how the trigger will fire. For form submissions, there are a few ways to accomplish this. One way is to find the form ID within the web page code.
    • Open a new tab and navigate to the page that has the form you want to track. Right click on the form and click on Inspect. This will open up the site code. You want to search for where the code refers to the form. It should be encompassed within a <form> section.
    • Look for id = “contact_form ” or class = “contact-form” that falls within the <form> section
    • Copy the text within the “ ”

    • Set the trigger to fire whenever the Form ID contains “contact_form”

  • If you don’t see any Form variables, you will need to enable variables in the list of built-in variables. To do so, click on Variables on the left sidebar, click on the Configure button under the Built-In Variables section, and select the variables you would like to turn on.

Step 3: Testing the Tag

  • Go back to the Tag Manager Dashboard
  • Click on the Preview button on the top right – this puts your browser into Debug Mode

  • Open the web page with the form you want to track in a new tab
    • A second window should pop up on the bottom half of the web page. If not, then there is an issue with the way the Analytics tag was set up.
  • Test the tag by filling out the form and checking to see if the tag moves from the Not Fired section to the Tags Fired section

Step 4: Publish

  • After testing successfully, click on the Publish button (next to the Preview button) and write a description of the tag. Now tracking is live on the form!

Step 5. Create Goal in Analytics

  • In Analytics, click on the Admin Settings button (looks like a gear switch) on the bottom left sidebar
  • Select the correct Account, Property, and View where you want to create and track the goal. Under View, click on the Goals option.

  • Create a new Goal
    • Select Custom
    • Name your Goal
    • Select Event as your Goal Type
    • Goal Details is where you add the details for the tag you created. It is case sensitive so make sure that you input the exact information on the tag to the goal.
      • Keep the Event Value as Conversion turned on

Step 6. Monitoring After Tag is Live

  • Under Behavior, click on Events > Overview
  • Here you can monitor your new tag. Click on Event Label to identify the form and see how often the form is submitted.

Tourism Marketing: How To Find Qualified Audiences

View of sunset and plane wing from plane window.

You dove into the data and you read the industry reports. You talked to existing customers and got their feedback. It’s clear that you’ve done the research into determining who to market your travel destination services to. This now begs the question: how do you target these individuals digitally?


Digital marketing platforms, such as Google and Facebook, make it easy to target ads to your ideal audiences. This guide is designed to explain the targeting options available and how to acquire qualified customers through strategic targeting.


Google Audience Targeting

As of 2019, Google controls about 75% of search share on the internet. For those using Google Ads, paid ads convert 50% better than organic search results. It’s safe to say that Google Ads is a powerful platform for targeting ads and reaching the right people at the right time. 


Google has spent many years improving and adding features to Ads, and its targeting options are no exception. Allowing for more options than just demographics, Google Ads can also help hone on interests and behaviors of potential customers.


Search Network

  • Affinity Audiences: What the user’s interests and habits are. This option focuses on patterns and behaviors of the user, such as noticing when someone travels a lot for work. Tourism-specific options include:
    • Business Travelers
    • Travel Buffs


  • In-Market Audiences: What users are actively researching or planning. Adding this audience option allows for your ads to potentially be shown to those seeking related services. Possible audiences for tourism agencies to focus on that fall under in-market include:
    • Air Travel
    • Bus & Rail Travel
    • Car Rental
    • Cruises
    • Hotel & Accommodations (include or exclude vacation rentals)
    • Trips by Destination (this option allows for you to break down by country, region, and major city)


  • Remarketing: How the user has interacted with your business. This option focuses on retargeting those who have already visited your website or have had some contact with your brand.


Display and Video Network

In addition to the audience options available on the Search Network, display and video ads also have the following option:

  • Custom Intent Audiences: Similar to in-market audiences, custom intent allows for you to compile a list of keywords related to your industry, brand, and services. These keywords can include ones you are not bidding on, as well as your paid keywords. 


Linked Sources

If your website is set up on Google Analytics, this can be another valuable source for remarketing audiences. When selecting the remarketing option in Ads, you can choose to select the audience from your Ads source or your Analytics source, therefore pulling from a pool of organic or paid traffic users.


Facebook Audience Targeting

With 2.5 billion monthly active users worldwide, Facebook is an almost unlimited source of potential customers. Similar to Google Ads, Facebook Ads allow you to target users based on demographics, such as age, location, and gender. However, it offers its own unique targeting options that provide you the opportunity to reach qualified prospects from another angle.


Custom Audiences

I consider this to be one of their best features for targeting. Facebook allows you to upload your customer lists directly and target based on personal information, like email addresses and phone numbers. With custom audiences built in Facebook, you can retarget existing customers, exclude existing subscribers when running campaigns for new subscribers, and expand your reach by including a custom audience.


Lookalike Audiences

An option only available thanks to Facebook’s matching algorithm, a lookalike audience is built off a custom audience and finds users that are most similar to it. Simple to set up, Facebook will give you the option to adjust the “broadness” of the audience from a range of 1% to 10%. The lower the percentage, the more strict the lookalike audience will be identifying similar users. The higher, the broader and wider the audience will be.

Detailed Targeting

Facebook Ads have the advantage to better target users based on personal information since Facebook provides users a platform to follow, create and share personal content. Detailed targeting can include a user’s job title, company, what pages they follow, life events, behavior, and more. Here you can create an audience based on the personas you uncovered in your research.


Suggestions for targeting travelers using this option can include:

  • Followers of Facebook pages of competitors
  • Those who recently returned from traveling
  • Followers of travel-related Facebook pages



And there you have it! Now you can take the next step of reaching a more qualified audience by using any of these targeting options available through Google Ads and Facebook Ads.

Tourism Marketing: Getting Started with Data

Kayakers on an alpine lake surrounded by rocky mountains.

When vetting a new digital marketing scope, it’s common practice for us to always start by conducting research. It’s one thing to sit down and identify what the goals and objectives are of a campaign. It’s another to identify and develop personas of existing consumers in order to target a likely-to-convert audience. When faced with a scope specific to the tourism industry, we want to focus on understanding those who are currently paying to travel and visit specific destinations. This understanding of existing consumers can help expand into uncovering new markets of opportunity based on similar behavior and demographics.


So how can one uncover and support these markets with data? You analyze data sources you have access to, draw insights from existing audiences and develop strategies geared towards reaching these personas. 


Don’t Sleep on Descriptive Statistics


First things first – let’s look at the basics of data analysis. If you’ve ever taken a statistics course, there’s a good chance that you are familiar with what descriptive statistics are. If it’s been a hot minute, then here’s a quick rundown on what exactly descriptive statistics are.


As the name implies, a descriptive statistic is a single term that quantitatively describes, or summarizes, a piece of data. The plural form of descriptive statistics refers to the process of analyzing those statistics to learn about a  sample of data. The most common descriptive statistics derived from raw data include: mean, median, mode, count and standard deviation. 


When it comes to analyzing data, using descriptive statistics can really help paint a quick picture of the sample data. For example, say we have a data set on the demographics of those who have worked with a US tourism agency in the past five years. By getting descriptive statistics of certain fields, such as age or gender, we can see quickly what characteristics stand out and whether they appear to be a population more susceptible to using tourism agency services.


Where to Find Data Sources

Next, how do we find the right data sources? If you have access to your agency’s database, then great! You’re ready to dive into the data through a program of your choice.


If you don’t have access to internal data, then this next step may be a bit of a challenge. Depending on the industry, this can be either a very easy or a very difficult thing to accomplish. Data privacy is a concern that everyone is invested in and isn’t always available to the public, which can make it hard to find raw information on the industry. 


Thankfully, a lot of industries already do the work for you and often release reports that are available for the public to peruse. Statista is a great source for data across a number of industries, including tourism in the United States. These reports can get you started on the right path of identifying audiences in the industry.


Other sources for public data sets include: 

  • Census data. This can be a great place to start if you’re researching opportunities within the United States population.
  • US Government data. Covering a wide range of industries, this website contains a ton of data to analyze.



Use Your Digital Sources: Paid Search + Social Media

If you are using Google Analytics on your website, then you already have access to a valuable pool of data. Ranging from information on the audience of web visitors to specific actions taken on web pages, the amount of insights you can draw from this data source is incredible. If linked correctly, Analytics can help you dive further into your Google Ads campaign data. This allows you to understand where and how web visitors are being driven to your website.


The amount of data available in Analytics can quickly have you lose track of time going through each tab on the sidebar. To avoid getting overwhelmed, we prefer to connect this source with a data visualization tool, such as Google Data Studio or Tableau. These types of tools provide a better overview and allow for quick analysis.


Another valuable source of data falls under the realm of social media. If you have a Facebook or Instagram business account for your organization, then you have access to Insights. In the platform itself, you have the ability to browse data about your followers. From this source, you can see how your followers engage with your page, followers’ reactions to posts, where they are from, and more. As with Analytics data, you can take this data one step further and connect it with a data visualization tool. 



Data Visualization

Considering that our agency uses Google Suite programs, it’s no surprise that Google Data Studio is our data viz tool of choice. What’s great about Data Studio is its ability to seamlessly connect with a number of internal and external sources of data and blend sources painlessly. 



With this tool, you can build visually appealing and insightful reports that can answer questions about your existing audience quickly. Consider the following image. We can quickly see a snapshot of where our followers are, thus prompting us to consider expanding our efforts to these markets.  



Still not convinced? Try for yourself using one of our simple web traffic report templates.

Step 1. Go to this template report .

Step 2. Click on the Duplicate icon on the top right and on the pop up, select Copy Report.

Step 3. Select any graph and under the Data tab on the right side panel, click on the [Sample] Google Analytics data source, and click on the Create New Data Source at the bottom to connect to your Analytics data.