Spark Foundry and Sojern partners with the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi

The partnership targets mainly to drive tourism into the Emirate and results in the development of a client-side travel Demand Side Platform (DSP)

Sojern, a provider of digital marketing solutions for the travel industry with clients such as Marriott International, Accor and Trivago, today announced a partnership with the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi). While DCT Abu Dhabi has been working with Spark Foundry and Sojern since December 2017, this new partnership sees it incorporating Sojern’s real-time travel audience targeting capabilities directly into its ad-buying system, or DSP (Demand Side Platform), offering it increased transparency and control over its digital marketing campaigns. A test run in the final quarter of 2019 proved that Sojern’s hyper-targeted programmatic ads, which were delivered during key decision-making moments to audiences with travel intent, resulted in increased bookings and conversions and reduced traveller acquisition cost.

How the technology works
Over the past decade, Sojern has built a network of global data partnerships that provide access to billions of real-time travel-intent signals. These intent signals are analysed using proprietary data-science methodology to better understand travellers’ booking behaviour along their path to purchase. This information is then used to target personalised marketing messages at every stage of the funnel, in this case supporting brand campaigns used to promote Abu Dhabi as a tourist destination, as well as direct response campaigns that drive direct bookings and conversions to key Abu Dhabi attractions.

By bringing new traffic to DCT Abu Dhabi’s marketing funnel through the use of advanced algorithms that identify new audiences, Sojern engages prospects based on specific travel intent signals, driving incremental bookings and increasing conversions with hyper-relevant customised messaging. Sojern also identifies potential customers who are not only evaluating Abu Dhabi as a destination, but who are also evaluating potential competing destinations. Based on this, ads are tailored to help the emirate stand out as a must-visit city. Any past customers who are considering booking with competitors are identified by combining first-party data with Sojern data. These people are then served relevant promotional offers in order to keep them loyal to Abu Dhabi.

Easily monitor performance, spend and total return
Saeed Rashed Al Saeed, Destination Marketing Director at the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi said, “Sojern and Spark Foundry have helped us access the level of transparency and control we have always wanted. Now, by managing our digital marketing campaigns within our own DSP, coupled with Sojern’s rich dataset for audience targeting, it enables us to monitor campaign performance, daily ad spend and total return on our campaign investments with more ease. Our tailored solution allows us to respond even faster to the ever-changing  dynamics of the travel market and keeps us at the forefront of that change.”

Javier Bravo, Group Digital Director at Spark Foundry added, “This hybrid partnership showcases the benefits of  advertisers, agencies and technology providers becoming more agile and adopting a test-and-learn approach that helps brands arrive at the best custom solutions. The client’s needs should form the basis of any and all technology solutions, and we have absolutely achieved that here. We have taken an entirely unique and customised approach for the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi, and we look forward to working with them to successfully drive tourism to the emirate well into the future.”

Chris Blaine, VP of EMEA at Sojern commented, “This innovative partnership is a great example of a forward-thinking Destination Marketing Organisation embracing the ever-changing programmatic environment and collaborating to create a custom solution that successfully drives the best results for its brand. By working together in a flexible and transparent way, we are able to increase tourism to Abu Dhabi and create stronger and more meaningful relationships with the city’s customers. We are delighted to partner with DCT Abu Dhabi and Spark Foundry to encourage travellers to enjoy warm hospitality, family-friendly attractions, rich culture and impressive archaeological and historical sites in one of the safest and most modern cities in the world.”