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A Golden Opportunity: Helping Visit California draw more UK travellers to the state

A Golden Opportunity: Helping Visit California draw more UK travellers to the state

“Our campaign with Skyscanner showed the real value of metasearch, from inspiring undecided travellers to exceeding our booking targets. The partnership played a big role in helping drive Visit California’s post-pandemic recovery.”

Acelya Sal, Account Director, Black Diamond (Visit California Rep. UK & IE)

  • We told UK travellers about the amazing experiences possible in California to encourage them to book their next big trip to the Golden State.

  • As an awareness and conversion campaign, we engaged travellers across the funnel, from the dreaming to planning to booking stages.

  • The campaign helped change perceptions by positioning California as the ultimate destination for every type of traveller.

The impact
  • We reached 4.5 million travellers across the UK, boosting flight searches and bookings by 279% and 211% from the previous year.

  • It demonstrated the value of metasearch in inspiring undecided travellers to discover a destination, find out more and book a trip.


Making the Golden State shine

Visit California’s mission is to encourage travel to and within California, promoting the state as a premier tourist destination to domestic and global travellers.

From the mountains to the beaches, the redwoods to the deserts, the big cities to unique rural communities, it inspires travellers to come and play in the Golden State.

But in early 2022, things were a little different. The pandemic had dramatically reduced visitor numbers and California was no exception. That’s when Visit California approached us to help drive post-pandemic recovery from the UK.

Opening the playground gates

This campaign wasn’t just about awareness. We were using the whole funnel to reach, engage and convert as many travellers as possible – encouraging them to book a visit through the gateway cities of San Diego, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

We were speaking to a broad audience, across multiple age groups, with disposable income who had a range of travel motivations, from wellness and outdoor adventure to culture and cuisine.







Hero ads on our homepage and display banners on search result pages for competitor destinations drove travellers to our hub where they could discover more about California’s road trips, great outdoors and food scene.


Inspiring and influencing

Millions of people come to Skyscanner every day – around 60 million a month – without a destination in mind, looking to be inspired about where to go next.

For destinations, it’s a great opportunity for them to tell their story and change how people think and feel. Using our platforms, brands can share their messages with travellers at every part of the user journey and influence their decisions.

What’s more, our performance ads are powered by the latest tech and traveller search data to reach as many travellers as possible, at exactly the right moments.

We also have the ability to surface flights and the functionality for people to quickly compare airfares – easily converting browsing into booking.



Destination spotlight ads on our ‘Everywhere’ search took users to sponsored results pages like this one, encouraging them to find and book their preferred flight to either Los Angeles, San Diego or San Francisco.


California convertin'

Upper funnel ad placements on our homepage, social channels, newsletter and display banners took users to our hub page where we’d split our content into three themes, each one linked to a gateway city from which to start:

  • ‘Take the open road: A 10-day road trip in California’ – Los Angeles
  • ‘Into the wild: Exploring the great outdoors in California’ – San Diego
  • ‘From farm to fork: A food lover’s guide to California’ – San Francisco

Simultaneously, lower funnel brand banners took travellers to a sponsored results page to search for flights and, ultimately, redirect to a partner airline to book.



Our content articles were infused with ideas, tips and advice to help travellers choose their ultimate California adventure.


Tailored support

Campaigns on Skyscanner benefit from tailored, flexible account management support to make each advertising dollar stretch as far as possible.

We continually optimise our campaigns so they’re as engaging and effective as they can be – to generate the highest ROI for our partners.

And Visit California was no different.

We monitored which placements really resonated – and with which traveller demographics – and put more budget behind these. Similarly, we found out what wasn’t working as well and adjusted these to boost performance.

We also shared reports throughout the campaign and had regular catch-ups to keep the team in-the-know and up to date with ongoing metrics, including the latest industry travel trends, traveller behaviour and market insight captured from our forward-looking search and redirect data.



“We’re really happy with how well the campaign performed. As well as seeing a significant uplift in awareness and flight bookings, it’s great knowing more and more people are discovering the joys of California and all the great state offers.”

Acelya Sal, Account Director, Black Diamond (Visit California Rep. UK & IE)

The campaign performed really well, exceeding brand engagement metrics and generating a return on ad spend of 8,842%.

We reached over 4.5 million users across the UK, increasing flight searches by 279% and flight bookings by 211% compared to the same period in 2021.

Performance and engagement across our ad placements and content was strong, with people spending twice the reading time on our articles than average pages.


If you're interested in advertising on Skyscanner, please get in touch below.

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