Findings From the 2020 State of the Industry Report

January 23, 2020

We know marketers working in every area of travel face unique challenges—from stressing over budget decisions to delivering personalized customer experiences, to keeping up with how quickly the digital marketing industry is changing. So, we gathered perspectives from more than 1,100 travel marketers across the globe in order to learn from each other in our state of the industry research. 

In The Future of Travel Advertising: The 2020 State of the Industry Report, 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 
  • The complexities of using data for ad targeting and the trend of bringing programmatic in-house 

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

SOTI 2020 Always-On TravelerToday’s travel marketers need a strategy capable of using digital signals and technology to anticipate which trip motivation reigns in the moment. Additionally, there has been a fundamental shift in the way that travelers plan trips—with demand for travel occurring 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. In our state of the industry report we found that marketers are responding to reflect the reality of this always-on, always-searching traveler—finding new ways to activate the data available to present the most relevant offer at the right time, with 47% maintaining a continuous digital presence. An always-on strategy puts data at the heart of the media plan. It takes a proactive approach, allowing marketers to use real-time travel intent signals to engage online travelers and dynamically segment audiences. 

Emerging Technologies will see Huge Growth in 2020

SOTI 2020 emerging tech

We asked travel marketers to choose emerging technologies they are keeping an eye on: those they are using, plan to use, and which channels may be losing steam. When shifting investment from 2019 to the future, there are three standouts: the rise of interactive video, machine learning, and chatbots. As a part of CTV, the interest in interactive video has rapidly grown above the channel itself, likely because this trend can be incorporated into social media marketing too, and furthers engagement and brand recall. 

Furthermore, it was interesting to see the strategy change with chatbots, as the technology can still be polarizing – some consumers love the ease and immediate interaction, not having to worry about calling during working hours. Others have difficult experiences because the technology still isn’t there to solve complex problems or understand cultural sensitivities and nuances. 

Travel Marketers are Shifting Budget to CTV

SOTI 2020 Shifting Budget to CTVTargeting viewers across multiple streaming devices, apps, or channels (56%) is the primary motivation for travel marketers to shift ad budget to CTV. Other drivers were granular targeting (35%) and ease of producing professional video content without the high cost (34%). A third of travel marketers (38%) plan on investing in this marketing channel in 2020.

“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 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.