Key Trends from Sojern’s 2020 State of the Travel Industry Report

January 29, 2020

Travel marketers know that testing trending ad channels, along with continued investment in the formats that perform, will help them stand out in a crowded marketplace and increase their return on investment. They look at each coming year with a strategic game plan, determining which channels to invest in, how they should allocate their budget, and where to effectively engage their audiences. 

Sojern surveyed more than 1,100 global travel marketers to share key challenges marketers face, how they overcome them, and their strategies for the coming year. This report also highlights the impact of emerging trends and technologies on the future of travel advertising.

Here are some of the key trends we discovered:

An Always-On Approach is Smart Marketing

One of the ways in which marketers are testing and learning is within an always-on approach. Almost half (47%) of travel marketers maintain a continuous digital presence, in order to capture the always searching and booking traveler. Travelers conduct research throughout the year, use more than one device to do so, and are often planning multiple trips at once. Smart marketers are using data from an always-on approach to discern where they are in their path to purchase.

The top benefit of an always-on marketing strategy is the ability to continuously test, learn, and more accurately optimize their digital marketing (43%). It is fundamental to developing a data-driven approach, because marketers won’t miss a moment (39%) and can see an ongoing view of performance (39%). This steady stream of campaign learnings helps marketers establish better performance baselines, and intelligently segment a portion of always-on budget to test assumptions.

CTV Connects Marketers with Travelers

Where consumers go, advertisers go. And today, consumers are cutting the cord on linear TV—making CTV one of the largest opportunities for advertisers to reach new audiences and enhance the effectiveness of their video ad campaigns. While travel marketers are only allocating 5% of their ad spend to CTV this year, 36% plan to invest more on CTV in the next five years. 

The motivation to shift budget to CTV is largely influenced because marketers can target viewers across multiple streaming devices, apps, or channels (56%). As more OTT devices are adopted, they offer the opportunity to interact and inspire travelers through their path to purchase, showing video on the platforms they prefer (Roku, Amazon Fire Stick, Apple TV, etc.). And, as media inventory increases, the channel becomes more cost effective and accessible to even the smallest marketing budgets. 

Why Bringing Programmatic In-House Appeals

With growing privacy concerns and new regulations, 48% of large advertisers (those with an annual budget or $1 million or more) are looking to bring programmatic in-house and 34% already have in-house capabilities. This is a direct result of marketers wanting more control over their data (51%), improved ROI (46%), and the ability to react to campaign insights faster (44%). However, securing the necessary buy-in and budget, becoming experts in the data, and hiring the right talent all remain a challenge. 

To address this shift in business models—and alleviate some of the challenges travel marketers experience when bringing programmatic in-house—many ad tech partners are exploring hybrid solutions for travel marketers and their agencies. 

The key will be to test and innovate, having the patience to try various solutions—with or without an agency—to gain both the desired transparency and control, while also not investing an entire annual budget without a definitive outcome. 

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


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About Ryleigh Hazen

Ryleigh is Sojern's Associate Content Manager. She has an incurable passion for content creation. When not in the office Ryleigh enjoys reading a good book, cooking, and walking her dogs.

Ryleigh Hazen About the author

Ryleigh is Sojern's Associate Content Manager. She has an incurable passion for content creation. When not in the office Ryleigh enjoys reading a good book, cooking, and walking her dogs.