A rough guide to attribution marketing in travel

NB: This is a guest article by Jon Baron, co-founder and chief revenue officer at TagMan.

It’s been said by many that to make attribution marketing worthwhile you need a fixed idea about how your individual channels contribute to a lead or a sale.

This is more important than ever in the travel, tourism and hospitality sector. But many believe that it’s not technically or practically possible without this data.

This is a common misunderstanding and simply not true. If you’re thinking about attribution, it helps to be armed with the facts.

So, let’s look at some of these in more detail.

The basics

Attribution isn’t just about taking action based on how channels contribute. It’s about learning how they contribute in the first place.

The starting point of attribution is tracking where and when each channel appears in the path to conversion. Once you’ve started this learning process you begin to understand the role each one plays.

At this stage of the process, the majority of last clicks come from affiliates, display retargeting, email and branded paid and natural search. No real surprise there.

Brand display and generic paid and natural search do tend to feature higher up the chain.

Applying the most basic form of attribution and using the last-click model. Deduplication ensures that it is applied accurately and you’re not paying twice on commissions.

It means that only the channel that really delivered the last click gets the credit and, therefore, the financial reward (already, you can save up to 25% on commission fees).

Attribution enables you to gauge the success of a channel. Not just as a deliverer of last clicks, but also as a contributor to the entire customer journey.


Think of it this way. Imagine a simple online purchase from the large European tour operating brand TUI. A reader on the giant Daily Mail website sees a display banner for TUI and she thinks about summer holidays.

She visits TUI and other sites and deciding to make a booking types TUI into Google, and makes a purchase. The paid brand search ad will get all the commission. This clearly gives misleading data on which advertising expenditure truly drove revenue.

So, campaigns that rarely deliver last clicks but feature heavily in many customers’ journeys on their way to buying start to be seen in a different light. In fact, it might be that spending all that money on campaigns that feature even when hardly anything else does would deliver more.

Attribution does provide the information you need to shift marketing spend. Now you’re beginning to see figures to make a case for the true contribution of all the digital marketing activity you engage in.

This might enable you to shift spend to channels you see are delivering more, which is transformative in itself. Here’s a flavour of some real client stories showing how attribution has transformed their marketing strategy:

A client stopped sending direct mail to their core customer base. Why?

Because they tracked unique URLs from the catalogue and found they were wasting money. Their core customers already know to come to the website.

So, attribution is real. Being proactive helps you learn very important lessons before you even have to think about radically changing your approach.

Above all, don’t be put off exploring what can be a very effective, let alone lucrative approach to marketing, just because you think you’re not ready or don’t have the resources to apply it.

NB: This is a guest article by Jon Baron, co-founder and chief revenue officer at TagMan.

NB2: Marketing plan image via Shutterstock.

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About the Writer :: Viewpoints

A founding principle of tnooz was a diversity of viewpoints from across the spectrum. Viewpoints are articles by guest contributors from around the travel and hospitality industries. The views expressed are the views and opinions of the author and do not reflect or represent the views of his employer, tnooz, its writers, or partners.



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  1. Cleo Kirkland

    Hi Jon,

    I’ve heard great things about TagMan from a few industry friends. Out of curiosity, though, what are some others tools/programs that you’d recommend for attribution modeling? More importantly, what are some tools that you’d recommend IN ADDITION to TagMan, to get those most out of its use?




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