Travel marketers to pour more ad dollars into digital: Where are they spending?

Travel marketers in Asia Pacific (72%) are planning to increase digital ad spend this year. In particular, about 60% of travel marketers in the region plan on increasing digital ad spend on Facebook and Instagram, followed by programmatic display, mobile and video.

According to Sojern’s 2019 Report on Travel Advertising which surveyed more than 600 individuals worldwide, two-thirds of travel marketers globally plan to increase their spend on digital advertising, with majority of them intending to spend more on social this year. About 46% of those surveyed also plan to allocate more to video ads this year. Meanwhile, the remaining one-third intend to increase spending on TV, print, radio or out of home media.

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When it comes to verticals, marketers from cruise (77%), airline (74%) and destination marketing organisations (73%) represent the highest percent who plan to spend more on digital this year. This is more or less similar to 2018, where digital dominated ad spend among travel marketers among the mix of platforms such as print, TV, radio and out of home.

Meanwhile, Facebook and Instagram are cited as the most popular social platforms for targeting new audiences, driving reach and brand awareness and personalising messages and promotional offers, among others. More than half of travel marketers surveyed intend to use Facebook Dynamic Ads for Travel and Facebook Stories in 2019. While, Snapchat ads and Pinterest ads may not currently be as popular, with only a quarter of travel marketers using them last year, they are still seen as "valuable additions" and one third of marketers intend to use them in 2019, Sojern said.


What's next for travel marketers?

Data allows travel marketers to advertise with quality over quantity by precisely targeting travelers based on their preferences, trip motivation, and where they are on their path to purchase, instead of general demographic data.

About 61% of travel marketers leverage and activate data to note the ability to target travelers based on intent and/or where they are in the path to purchase. Meanwhile, 60% use it to gain better visibility into traveller behaviour across websites and apps. Also, 59% use data to understand where they are winning or losing customers across the path to purchase.

Sojern's survey predicts higher investments in emerging technologies in 2019, with one-third of travel marketers surveyed intending to use streaming audio, chatbots and voice search. On the other hand, only a quarter of travel marketers do not anticipate investing in AR and VR until 2020 or beyond, signalling that the technology needs to further advance before marketers are willing to invest.

While the term "disruption" has become a buzzword today, Sojern's survey said that true disruption occurs only when new technology or businesses emerge to dramatically change the status quo.

In this case, four in 10 travel marketers cited Facebook and Instagram, Amazon and Google Ads as the top platforms likely to disrupt the industry in the next five years.

(Photo courtesy: 123RF)