Sojern, a leading provider of digital marketing solutions for travel, published the second edition of its report, The Future of Travel Advertising: 2020 State of the Industry Report about Travel Marketing Trends. The research, which was fielded and hosted by Dynata, surveyed more than 1,100 global travel marketers across 26 countries who shared key challenges marketers face, how they overcame them, and their strategies for the coming year.
In its second edition, the 2020 report highlights the impact of emerging trends and technologies on the future of travel advertising and covers a cross-section of topics including budget allocation, investments in digital video and personalization, technology adoption, media channel effectiveness, and what the future looks like for travel marketers.
Almost half (45%) of marketing dollars are spent on digital ads. Out of which, 28% is spent on social media channels and the remaining budget is distributed between paid search (17%), OTAs (12%), mobile advertising (10%), and other marketing channels.
Moreover, small and medium advertisers spend more on digital compared to other companies, while large advertisers are keen on investing in the latest marketing trends such as CTV. This spread of spend highlights the increasingly competitive digital advertising space. Travel marketers must keep up with the fastpaced advertising and technology landscape to stay relevant, which a third (29%) of travel marketers cite as one of their biggest challenges.
A similar number find it difficult to target travelers during a specific point along their path to purchase and proving ROI for their digital advertising strategies. By being dynamic, diverse, and data-driven, travel marketers can navigate through the densely fragmented ecosystem of travel advertising. Marketers are embracing this, planning to allocate even more to a multi-channel marketing strategy while experimenting with new ways to reach travelers. The top five areas marketers plan to increase their spend are: social (39%), paid search (32%), mobile (30%), video (24%), and testing and innovation (21%).
Key findings of Travel Marketing Trends survey include:
An Always-On Approach is Smart Marketing
Today’s travel marketers are adjusting their strategies to reach always-on, always-searching travelers—finding new ways to activate the data available to present the most relevant offer at the right time. Almost half (47%) of travel marketers maintain a continuous digital presence, in order to capture the always searching and booking traveler.
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%).
CTV Connects Marketers with Travelers
More than one-third of travel marketers (38%) plan on investing in CTV in 2020. 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%).
Bringing Programmatic In-House
With growing privacy concerns and new regulations, 48% of large advertisers (those with an annual budget of $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 remains a challenge.
“Our teams at Sojern pore over travel marketing minutiae daily so we can see the latest best practices and constantly evolve our recommendations. Marketing is changing quickly and our customers around the globe always ask us, ‘What should we be doing to stay ahead of our competitors? How do we improve our results?’ This report is intended to help answer those questions by providing benchmarking data and key learnings from across the industry,” said Jackie Lamping, Sojern Vice President of Marketing.