Although some Americans struggle to take their earned vacation time, travel advertising is alive and well across every medium imaginable. And while the tourism industry adapts to new mediums like social media, it also continues to expand its reach across traditional media like television, both locally and nationally.
Taking Travel to Social
Like many others, the travel advertising industry has found its place on social media, using influencers to tell its stories. AdWeek’s recent Travel Marketing Report detailed several cities—and a state—that use Snapchat to reach travelers with behind-the-scenes looks at destinations, celebrity takeovers, and trip ideas.
The report also featured the Osmanns, the couple behind the #followmeto hashtag on Instagram. The couple’s travels, documented as a photo series on Instagram, gave way to work with retailers—Macy’s and Beringer Vineyards—and even led to a 20-minute travel television show on Channel One Russia.
Television Is Still a Destination for Tourism
Television advertising is still an audience-friendly medium for brands, with tourism and travel channels contributing to a friendly environment for the industry. Kenyan newspaper The Star recently reported on a local television channel devoted entirely to the tourism industry called Tourism and Wildlife Television. It is the only locally owned tourism channel on the Pan African Network Group, with its CEO, Joe Kaylo, calling it a place to showcase new industry trends and products and services.
Local stations play an important role in travel marketing by allowing both national and local brands to reach potential travelers. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, the average summer vacation travel distance is only 284 miles one way, meaning many Americans stay relatively close to home when traveling. In this regard, local businesses especially can benefit from the opportunity local stations offer to reach travelers through a trusted medium.
Travel Brands Spend Big Bucks
Travel advertising spend isn’t slowing down—in fact, it increased this year over last. According to travel research site Skift, the top-10 travel brand advertisers spent 33 percent more on advertising from January to March this year than during the same period in 2015. Southwest Airline’s Q1 television budget rose from $30.8 million in 2015 to $51.4 million this year, and seven of those top-10 brands spent over $20 million on television ads in the first quarter alone. Southwest was the only airline in the group, with online travel agencies making up the category with the most spots. No hotels made the list.
The travel industry is still big business, so it should come as no surprise that travel advertising is, too. New mediums like social media provide unique opportunities to reach travelers, but television and other traditional mediums are still valuable, effective, and commonly used.