How Hawaiian Airlines Uses Video Marketing To Drive Bookings

How to use video marketing and paid search to drive engagement and conversion.

How Hawaiian Airlines Uses Video Marketing To Drive Bookings

If you take a look at most airline video content out across the web on social channels and websites you’ll notice that videos have been created for advertising purposes, focusing primarily on generating brand awareness and search advertising. There must be a reason why this type of content, aimed high in the sales funnel, works so well. What’s the secret sauce? Why awareness video content? This article dives in further using a recent Hawaiian Airlines video marketing campaign and available data from YouTube to tell the true story on why airlines spend so much time and money creating video for awareness.

The Airline

Hawaiian Airlines is based in Honolulu, Hawaii and is one of the oldest Airlines in the world with service first beginning in 1929. Hawaiian serves routes to and from the Hawaiian Islands and Mainland USA, Asia and Australia. The airline is known for its modern aircraft, fine customer experience and warm and engaging marketing. For major video projects and campaigns, Hawaiian Airlines works with their agency partner Cole & Weber. Small video projects and social video is run in-house by a video production and digital content team.





The Campaign

For this article we choose a recent campaign the airline ran that was focused on social video tied to paid search advertising with the goal of getting the airline’s name in front of as many people as possible and using retargeting on YouTube to place video ads as the follow up piece of content driving purchases or in this case bookings.

This particular campaign was focused on families and others considering travel from the West Coast to Hawaii during the summer months. Hawaiian Airlines has traditionally relied on paid search ads to drive flight bookings, which as proved to work very well. With this campaign they decided to take it a step further and use a new cross-channel approach with search ads as the first point in the conversation and then follow up with a targeted video.

Sorting and creating the target audience for the campaign was an easy task since Hawaiian Airlines has an extensive amount of search campaign data form past paid ad campaigns they could use. To narrow down the targets, Hawaiian looked at the keywords that had worked best on search in the past and leveraged them again, pulling those same keywords into the YouTube portion of the campaign. By developing a targeted audience, the ads and follow up videos were only served to people who had already shown an interest in the brand or traveling to Hawaii.

Once the audience was set, next came the creative and asset construction. The campaign setup and build required the Hawaiian Airlines marketing team set up a typical search campaign, focusing on branded keywords like “Hawaiian Airlines” and non-branded keywords like “Flights to Hawaii.” Next, they worked with agency partners to create a set of 15-second and 30-second video ads designed specifically for YouTube. A call-to-action was placed within the video which invited people to click-through to “See Fares.” Upon click the people were then directed to a landing page of flight and pricing options where they could make a selection and ultimately book their travel.





The Results

The results from this campaign speak for themselves. The campaign ran for 30-days and during that period they increased flight bookings by almost 200% while at the same time reducing cost per acquisition by 70% compared to other campaigns they were running without video simultaneously. Source: Hawaiian Airlines YouTube Analytics Data, June 2018.

The Takeaways

Whether your goal is to drive bookings, sell products or convert leads, this campaign example from Hawaiian Airlines teaches us a few important lessons on how to create real business results using video. Here are a few takeaways you can pull and use in your own campaigns:

  • Use a Simple Call-To-Action: Create a CTA and landing page that align with your creative and marketing goals. Don’t come in too strong with language like “Buy Now” or “Book Today” because most likely the consumer is not that comfortable yet and will not be willing to take the next step.  Instead,  try something more inviting and softer, like  “Shop Now” or “View Details,” etc.
  • A/B Test Campaigns Side-by-Side: To understand how your campaign is performing compared to your other marketing activities, consider running two or more campaigns at the same time. Maybe one with video the other without it. See how they both perform relevant to each other.
  • Use Video as The Push: Video is a powerful asset, use it wisely. Experiment with video at different touch points. Maybe a text ad or banner ad is the first touch and then like Hawaiian in the above campaign, come in with video at the second touch and aim for a home run.

In conclusion, it’s easy to see why airlines invest so much money creating one type of video content. While the content is aimed at generating awareness, its paired with other assets to create a smooth path into engagement and ultimately booking (conversion). Hawaiian is succeeding with video marketing because their vision for video is not just to create a video, but to strategically include it in the marketing mix at the right touch point, at the right time to create ultimate effect, conversion.




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