The Travel Resurgence is Here (And Advertisers Need to be Ready)

June 10, 2021

Following 12+ months of pandemic-induced lockdowns, restrictions are lifting in most places and vaccination rates are steady. With this in mind, and after enduring such a difficult time (not to mention staring at the same four walls for so long), people across the world are eager to travel again. Travel advertisers now have a major opportunity to seize this momentum—and a key way to do this is to refocus on the benefits of cross-platform TV.

The onset of COVID-19 forced travel brands to pivot and reexamine their campaigns, including their media budgets. Many travel-focused advertisers understandably felt a responsibility to pause or scale back campaigns out of respect for consumer sentiments. In fact, when TVSquared analyzed TV ad spend during the pandemic, travel was the top ad category to decrease its ad spend from March-June 2020, with the highest decrease occurring in March, when most lockdowns began. By the end of 2020, however, a slow-and-steady recovery had taken root, with TV ad spots coming back, increasing 26% in Q4’20, then 34% by Q’121 and another 53% in April and May 2021 alone.

Now, in mid-2021, this vertical is well-positioned to thrive as the desire to travel returns to pre-pandemic rates. In the U.S. alone, over 60% of adults are planning domestic trips this summer—mirroring levels prior to COVID-19. A recent eMarketer article also noted this enthusiasm, adding that marketers willing to offer discounts and incorporate local strategies will likely have an advantage throughout the year. This plays into why cross-platform TV is immensely valuable to travel advertisers. TV’s reach is unparalleled, across screens and platforms, allowing travel brands to target and engage with the “right” audiences (at the household, local and national levels) that will be most receptive to their offerings.

During TVSquared’s virtual summit, TV Transformed, TV’s integral role in travel advertisers’ media mix was echoed by Stephanie Trivass, Head of ATL Advertising at Secret Escapes, a member-based luxury travel provider. She explained that, in light of the global pandemic, the variation in the brand’s media mix has accelerated. Notably, Secret Escapes has leaned more into CTV for extending reach and driving business outcomes, while still utilizing linear. She stressed, “[Especially in light of the global pandemic], we’re hyper-aware that flexibility and adaptability are super important.”

Thankfully for travel advertisers, TV has evolved to be a medium that truly embraces both flexibility and adaptability, as brands are now empowered by the ability to optimize cross-platform TV campaigns in real time in order to maximize business growth in 2021 and beyond.

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