Industry Report: Update Online Travel Advertising Landscape

Posted by WhatRunsWhere on July 31, 2015
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The US Travel e-Commerce sales reached $122 billion in 2014, a 10% increase from 2013. This year, the U.S. Travel Industry is projected to spend $4.85 billion in digital ads. It’s clear the industry is growing rapidly and is forecasted to continue this way. With the wide variety of travel platforms, apps and e-Commerce sites available the growth in this market comes at no surprise.

So what does this mean for brands in the industry? On one hand, this brings a lot of  new opportunities to grab the attention of these consumers. But with it is also the challenge of building a display advertising strategy that will allow brands to stand out among the competition.

So what are some industry trends that top brands are employing to reach their consumers?

Audio and Visual Content

This is a trend that was a hot topic at Performance Marketing Insights. Industry leaders discussed the inspirational content being developed on social platforms as a major innovation in the travel industry. With so many consumers willing to share their personal experiences, using suggested branded hashtags or their own, it’s even easier for brands to tap into the hot trend of audio and visual focused campaigns. We’ve even seen brands like Loews Hotel and Resorts build an ad campaign, called #TravelForReal, that solely uses content from Instagram users that have stayed at their hotels.

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                                                     Loews Hotel and Resorts Display Ads uncovered by WhatRunsWhere

This visual story-telling strategy, as you’ll see, is also used by Airbnb. Their ads, website and other digital properties are full of awe-inspiring images with evocative captions that build a connection with the viewer.  Instead of focusing on selling prices or deals, advertisers focus on telling the story of an intriguing experience that invites viewers to make it theirs.

Generations Personalization

Another trend in the industry is developing campaigns that personally connect with two of today’s most digitally active generations. The first being millennials; they are looking for a personalized and extremely convenient experience (Skift). Brands tapping into this generation should ensure a strategy with multiple points of engagement including an app, easy to use website, and social platforms.

The other digitally active demographic travel brands should tap into is the baby boomer generation. This may come as a surprise, however, this generation makes up 33% of internet users, so trust us when we say they are digitally active (Gonzalo)! Another reason this demographic is attractive to the travel industry is that they are the wealthiest generation with disposable income to spend on travelling – so start building those campaigns!

Increase in mobile travel bookings


With the rise of mobile comes consumers’ increased expectation for convenience in everything they do including booking travel. In fact mobile bookings are said to be the biggest source of activity and growth happening in the global travel industry (Rafat Ali, Skift). If your questioning the value of advertising in the mobile space for the travel niche look no further than these stats.

  • Rise of mobile has increased popularity in same-day bookings. Not surprisingly, mobile is the king of same-day hotel booking; 7 out of 10 same day bookings are through smartphones
  • 1 in 4 hotel bookings will come from a mobile device in 2015
  • And perhaps the most enticing stat for advertisers in this niche: 71% of consumers who saw an ad on their smartphone took action compared to 63% on desktops

These stats make it clear that mobile is definitely a channel advertisers in the travel niche need to incorporate into their strategy to succeed in today’s digital age.

How can travel brands leverage these trends to build an effective display ad strategy in the mobile and desktop space? WhatRunsWhere went on a journey to find out!

In December 2014 we investigated the desktop and mobile-web display advertising landscape of four leading online travel brands: Airbnb,, Bookit and Travelzoo.

We dive back into the Online Travel advertising landscape to see if their strategies have soared to new heights. See who was able to maintain their status as the loudest advertiser or if the Share of Voice pie has changed.

If you’re ready to fly into the online travel advertising landscape to discover whose dominating then download the report now!



Topics: Digital Advertising, Reports, Performance Marketing Insights, Competitive Intelligence, Insights & Analysis, Advertising, Data Driven Marketing


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