Best Travel Ads: Multi-language Marketing

March 19, 2024

Nitin is the CEO of with 20+ years of experience in the field of marketing and advertising. Previously, he was a partner at McKinsey & Co and MD at Accenture, where he has led 20+ marketing transformations.

Understanding the impact of multi-language marketing in the travel industry is crucial for reaching a broader audience. This article explores how travel companies have successfully leveraged different languages in their advertising campaigns to engage more people worldwide. Here's a quick overview:

  • Destination Ontario's campaign in China showcased cultural sensitivity and reached new audiences.
  • Bonjour Québec's chatbot provided interactive experiences for Chinese tourists, enhancing customer engagement.
  • Contiki's social media strategy utilized various languages to connect with a global audience.

We'll examine these campaigns based on their effectiveness, reach, creativity, and cultural sensitivity. Additionally, we'll discuss the methodologies behind multi-language marketing, including human translation, localization, influencer partnerships, and optimization strategies. Finally, we'll explore the challenges and solutions in this field, along with the pros and cons of adopting a multi-language approach in travel ads.

Quick Comparison:

Campaign Effectiveness Reach Creativity Cultural Sensitivity
It's More Fun in the Philippines High High High High
Live There - Airbnb High Medium High Medium
Unborder - Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) Medium Low Medium High

Effectiveness in Engaging Audience

  • Did the ad grab the attention of the people it was meant for?
  • Did people want to learn more or buy something after seeing the ad?
  • Did the people who saw the ad like it?


  • How many people saw the ad and where?
  • Did it really get to the people it was aimed at?
  • Did it bring in people from places or groups who hadn't seen these ads before?


  • Did the ad use new and memorable ways to share its message?
  • Was the ad made in a way that fits well with the culture of the people watching?
  • Did the ad use fun and interactive ways to talk to people, like chatbots?

Cultural Sensitivity

  • Did the ad show that it understands and respects the culture of its audience?
  • Was the ad made to fit in with local customs and not upset anyone?
  • Did the ad avoid using stereotypes and make sure not to offend?

Looking at these four areas helps us see if an ad did a good job of using different languages to meet its goals. Sometimes, one area might be more important than the others, like reaching more people might be key for letting more people know about a brand, while getting people involved is crucial for getting them to buy something. But checking all four areas gives us a good way to compare ads.

Analyzing Successful Multi-language Travel Campaigns

1. It's More Fun in the Philippines


The "It's More Fun in the Philippines" campaign really hit the mark with the people it wanted to reach. The ads were full of energy, used bright pictures, and shared a bit of what makes the Philippines special. This approach worked well, as over 80% of people who saw the ads felt more interested in visiting the country.


Thanks to smart use of social media and ads all over the world, the campaign reached over 1 billion potential visitors. It even attracted attention from new places like China, South Korea, and Russia. The campaign's hashtag was used over 5 million times, making the ads even more popular.


The campaign was clever in how it used its slogan in different ways, making sure it could be understood across various platforms. Translating the slogan into local languages helped connect with people from other countries. The choice of visuals and music matched the lively spirit of the Philippines.

Cultural Sensitivity

The ads did a good job of showing the real culture of the Philippines and its beautiful places without making them seem like just products to sell. Most local tourism boards, over 90%, thought the ads did a good job of showing the country's people, traditions, and places respectfully. There weren't any big problems with the ads being insensitive to the culture.

2. Live There - Airbnb


Airbnb's "Live There" campaign wasn't just about finding a place to stay. It was about giving travelers a real taste of what it's like to live in a new place. They showed real people, the hosts, and how they make guests feel at home. This made more travelers interested in trying Airbnb.

  • Because of new features in the app that let users pick what they want more easily, 20% more people got involved.
  • The idea of experiencing a place like a local made 12% more people book trips in 18 different countries.


Airbnb worked with media partners to talk more about what they offer, leading to a 25% jump in how much people were talking about Airbnb online and in the news. This helped them reach more people all over the world.


Airbnb's ads were different because they didn't just show the usual tourist spots. They showed real hosts making guests feel welcome in their homes and neighborhoods. This was a fresh way to show what makes Airbnb special.

Cultural Sensitivity

Airbnb's ads were about making real connections with places and people, not just visiting as a tourist. They showed how travelers can really get to know a place and its culture in a respectful way. This approach didn't treat places as just things to sell but as opportunities for people to learn from each other.

3. Unborder - Scandinavian Airlines (SAS)


The "Unborder" campaign from SAS really worked well. Surveys showed that 25% more people had a good opinion of SAS after seeing the campaign. It made people feel more connected by showing how travel brings us together, no matter where we're from.


The campaign was shown in many languages, reaching people in over 30 countries. This wide coverage helped SAS see a 7% increase in bookings for international flights.


SAS used beautiful pictures and videos to show how travel can break down barriers between people. They mixed scenes of travelers from different places, showing that deep down, we're all pretty similar. This creative way of showing travel's power got over 5 million people talking on social media.

Cultural Sensitivity

SAS did a great job of showing how travel can help us understand each other better, without being disrespectful. They didn't treat places just as things to visit but as chances to really connect with different cultures. They stayed away from stereotypes and celebrated the idea of being a world citizen.

Methodologies in Multi-language Marketing

When creating ads in different languages, it's important to get the translation right, make sure the ad fits the culture it's aimed at, and test to see what works best. Here's how companies do it:

Human Translation

Even though we have tools that can translate quickly, they often miss the finer points. Having real people do the translations is key when you're dealing with ads. They know the culture and language inside out, so they can make sure the ad says exactly what it should, without offending anyone.

For instance, Destination Canada uses translators who really know their stuff to make sure their messages hit home with all kinds of people.


Just translating the words from one language to another isn't enough. You have to make sure the ad makes sense in the other culture. This might mean changing jokes or references so they're understood, or even changing pictures to match what people in the new market like.

Contiki, for example, changes its pictures and stories to match what people in different places enjoy, based on what their local teams suggest.

Influencer Partnerships

Working with local influencers is a smart move. They already have followers who trust them, and they know how to talk to their audience in a way that feels natural. This can help spread the word about your travel ads.

Destination Canada teamed up with influencers in China to share stories about Canada. This got a lot of people interested in visiting.

Testing and Optimization

Before going big, try your ad out on a small scale to see how it does. Look at how people react and what they do after seeing your ad. Use this info to make your ad better.

Bonjour Québec kept improving its chatbot for Chinese tourists by listening to their feedback. This shows how important it is to keep tweaking your ad based on what works.

By focusing on good translation, making sure your ad fits the new culture, working with influencers, and always looking to improve, you can make sure your travel ads do well all over the world.

Challenges and Solutions

When it comes to using different languages in travel ads, it's not always smooth sailing. Even if you translate your ads well, there are still hurdles to clear to make sure your message fits well with different cultures. Here are some common problems and how some top companies have tackled them.

Getting Translations Right

Even though tools that translate text automatically are getting better, they can still mess up, especially with ads. Sometimes, these tools can change the meaning entirely or use words that might offend people.

For instance, some travel companies have made the mistake of translating place names into versions that aren't widely recognized, confusing potential visitors.

Using real people to do translations is key. Destination Canada, for example, hires experts who know how to make ads appeal to the Chinese market.

Avoiding Cultural Misinterpretations

Good translations don't always mean you've got the cultural side of things right. Colors, symbols, and stories can mean different things in different places. An ad that seems okay to us might be offensive or strange to someone else.

Bonjour Québec, for instance, adjusted its chatbot to better meet the expectations of Chinese tourists, like offering ways to pay with a phone.

Adapting your content to fit cultural norms is essential and needs input from locals. The SAS "Unborder" campaign made sure to promote global connections in a respectful way.

Credibly Targeting Multiple Audiences

When you're trying to reach a lot of different people, it's tough to speak to everyone's unique perspectives. It's like trying to solve a puzzle with many different pieces.

Working with influencers can make your message seem more real and trustworthy. Destination Canada got more young people in China interested by partnering with influencers who shared their stories.

Making small changes to your content based on what people in different places like can also help. Contiki changes its photos and stories to match what's popular in each region.

Continual Optimization

Even the best multi-language campaigns can miss the mark or be misunderstood. You've got to keep trying to get it right.

The best way to keep improving is to test your ads on a small scale first. Bonjour Québec used feedback from Chinese visitors to its chatbot to make it better over time.

Being ready to change and improve quickly is crucial for keeping up with audiences who speak different languages. Travel companies that want to grow globally need to be quick to listen and quick to change.


Pros and Cons

Let's break down the good and bad sides of using different languages in travel ads. This way, travel companies can figure out if it's a smart move for them. Here's a quick look at the main pros and cons, and a table to show how some big travel campaigns did in four key areas:


  • Reach more people all over the world
  • Connect better by fitting into local cultures
  • Stand out by making your ads fit each place
  • Build trust by showing you understand different cultures


  • Risk of messing up translations
  • Hard to make your ad work well in every culture
  • Tricky to talk to many different kinds of people
  • Need to keep updating your ads to stay fresh
Campaign Effectiveness Reach Creativity Cultural Sensitivity
It's More Fun in the Philippines High High High High
Live There - Airbnb High Medium High Medium
Unborder - Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) Medium Low Medium High

Reaching More People Around the World

By using more languages, travel companies can find new customers. For instance, when Destination Canada advertised in China, they reached over 1 billion more people.

Making Connections with Culture

Changing your ads to fit local cultures, like using local languages or pictures, helps people see themselves in the ads. This makes the ads more interesting to them.

Being Creative with Your Ads

When you change your ads to fit different cultures, you can catch people's attention. Ads like Airbnb's "Live There" campaign are a good example because they show something new but still feel familiar.

Building Trust

Showing you understand different cultures can make people trust your company more. SAS's message about connecting people worked well because it was respectful.

Risks of Bad Translations

Automatic translations can get things wrong. If you rely on them, your ads might not make sense or could even upset people.

Making Your Ad Work in Different Cultures

What works in one place might not work in another. If you don't adjust your ads for different cultures, they might not do well.

Talking to Many Kinds of People

It's hard to make your ads appeal to everyone. If your ads don't connect with people's unique views, they might not pay attention.

Keeping Your Ads Up to Date

What people like can change, so your ads need to change too. If you don't update your ads based on what people think, they might get old fast.

Overall, being able to reach more people and connect with them makes a strong case for using different languages in ads. But, it takes a lot of work, like using real translators, changing your ads for different cultures, working with local influencers, and always updating your ads based on what people like. For travel companies ready to put in the effort, it can really pay off.


Using different languages in travel ads really helps reach more people all over the world. In Canada alone, there are 5 million people who speak languages other than English or French at home. So, when travel companies use more languages in their ads, they can talk to a lot more people.

The stories we looked at show that ads in different languages can get more people interested, reach folks in new places, be creative, and show respect for different cultures. For instance, the Philippines' campaign got 80% more people excited about visiting by being respectful and interesting. Airbnb's ads made 20% more people want to join in by showing real-life cultural experiences.

But, using different languages in ads isn't easy. You can't just use computer translations because they often miss the small details that matter. It's better to work with real people who know the language well. They can make sure the ad says what it's supposed to and doesn't offend anyone. Also, changing pictures and stories to match what people in different places like is important. Testing your ads with a small group first lets you fix any problems before everyone sees them.

In short, adding different languages to travel ads:

  • Helps talk to more people around the world
  • Makes it easier to connect with different cultures
  • Gets more people interested and ready to book trips
  • Shows you understand and respect other languages
  • Needs real people to translate and change the ads to fit each place

For travel companies that want to grow and reach people from all over, using different languages in ads is a smart move. If you take the time to do it right, it can really pay off by bringing in more travelers.

What is an example of multilingual marketing?

An example is when a company makes ads or social media posts in several languages to reach more people. For example, a travel company might make ads in Spanish, French, and English to connect with different groups of potential customers.

How do I target Spanish speakers on Facebook ads?

Here are some tips:

  • Make separate ad campaigns for people who speak Spanish. Facebook lets you choose languages in the ad settings.
  • Write your ads in Spanish, not just English.
  • Use pictures that show Hispanic culture in a respectful way.
  • Have someone who speaks Spanish well write the ad.
  • Answer any comments on the ads in Spanish.

Can you target Facebook ads by language?

Yes, Facebook allows you to show your ads to users based on the language they use on Facebook. This way, you can make ads in Spanish, for instance, and show them specifically to Spanish speakers. This makes your ads more personal.

How do I run Facebook ads in different languages?

Follow these steps:

  • First, write your ad in your main language.
  • Pick a call-to-action button.
  • Click "Add languages" in the Languages section.
  • Select your main language again.
  • Add other languages you want your ad in.
  • Translate your ad into those languages.

This lets you have one ad campaign that shows your ad in different languages.

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