Findings from The 2020 Report on Travel Advertising in North America

Take advantage of emerging technologies to see huge growth in 2020.

February 11, 2020

North America is a powerhouse when it comes to advertising, and travel is no exception. In State of the Industry: The 2020 Report on Travel Advertising in North America you will discover:

  • Which digital marketing channels are influencing travelers along the path to purchase
  • How ad spend is allocated across channels by vertical, region, and size of advertiser
  • How data and real-time intent signals impact travel marketer strategies
  • Emerging technologies that could enhance the way travel marketers connect with their audience

Travel marketers can use these to benchmark themselves against their competitive set, leverage learnings from other brands across the industry, allocate budget more effectively, and stay ahead of evolving trends. Here are some of our key findings:

Marketers Respond to the Always-On Traveler

Marketers stated that the most significant benefits of an always-on approach are I won’t miss a moment when a traveler starts planning and researching their next trip (44%), I can continuously test, learn, and more accurately optimize my digital marketing (41%), and I get to see an ongoing view of performance, month over month, year over year (41%). Travel brands are keen on integrating always-on campaigns with seasonal campaigns and promotions to elevate their marketing strategies. They understand that this approach will give them better consumer insights that they could then utilize to fine-tune their techniques. It’s crucial for travel marketers to adopt an always-on approach to successfully leverage their brand. The strategy doesn’t just increase customer engagement but builds long-term relationships with current consumers and prospects.

An always-on strategy allows you to reach travelers the moment they start dreaming about their next trip. By using what you know about their travel intent, you can engage them with more relevant messaging as they narrow options. Not only will they be more likely to choose you when it comes time to book, but when running seasonal campaigns, the traveler is already aware of your brand and you will be a solid part of their consideration set.

Emerging Technologies will see Huge Growth in 2020

To say the travel industry is evolving would be a gross understatement. Travel is one of the fastest growing and fastest changing industries, and there’s a ton of potential for travel marketers to tap into that growth to meet their business goals. By leveraging emerging technology like interactive video, machine-learned and automated audience development, and chatbots, there’s no end to what marketers can do. - Noreen Henry, Chief Revenue Officer, Sojern.

Looking towards the future, travel marketers plan to use interactive video (50%), machine learning (44%), and messaging apps or SMS (41%) within the next five years. Interactive video may see the largest year-over-year jump, because it adds a dynamic element to marketing strategies on both social media and CTV, thus improving customer interaction and retention for the brand.

Travel Marketers are Shifting Budget to CTV

At present, 11% of video ad budgets are allocated to CTV for 2020. Travel marketers have found it to be a highly effective channel to reach and engage their audiences. The main motivations include: targeting viewers across multiple streaming devices, apps, or channels (65%), granular targeting (36%), and ease of producing professional video content without the high cost (34%).

“Consumers adapt a lot more quickly than we as an industry tend to shift our paid media mix over time. For example, you should be running advanced TV in 2020 based on where consumers spend their time. When you look at the number of people cutting the cord, and the adaption of OTT devices, it only makes sense. That thinking around the correlation of consumer adoption of new media as it applies to paid spending is a drum I’ve been beating this year. In other words, consumer behavior should align with how you change your mix of media YoY and how you adapt your message to reach your target audience in a relevant way.” - Jessica Schultz, Senior Vice President of Media Strategy, MMGY.

For insights into effective digital channels, ad spend, the impact of data and real-time intent signals on strategies, and emerging technologies and trends in the region download the full report.

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