The U.S. Travel Advertising Marketplace: Industry Sizing and Trends 2015

The U.S. Travel Advertising Marketplace: Industry Sizing and Trends 2015 Published June 2014 Analysts: Tom Powell, Douglas Quinby


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Advertising has undergone a massive shift over the last 15 years. Multiple channels and new technologies offer travel companies unprecedented reach in their quest for new customers. Mobile, social, video and search are among the many ways brands are influencing consumers throughout the travel life cycle. Track the evolution of the online ad industry and learn how travel suppliers and intermediaries are allocating their ad dollars in this complex matrix of online and offline media.

FREE presentation deck and audio recording of the August 6, 2014 webinar with report purchase (download link is sent in your report purchase confirmation).

Phocuswright's The U.S. Travel Advertising Marketplace: Industry Sizing and Trends 2015 explores the impact of mobile and other new technologies on the travel advertising landscape. This groundbreaking report reveals the size of the travel advertising market in the U.S. and examines the trends, practices and budget allocations of U.S. travel industry advertising spending from 2011 to 2015.

The report examines:

  • How various segments within the travel industry (airline, cruise, DMO, hotel, OTA and other) are allocating their advertising dollars
  • How much is spent on traditional offline channels (e.g., TV, print, out-of-home and radio) vs. online (e.g., search, video, social, referral, metasearch, display)
  • How mobile and the rise in digital ad spend will impact the advertising landscape over the next two years
  • Allocation by device, such as desktop, smartphone and tablet
  • Trends in general search, metasearch, social, online video, and more
  • How advertisers are dealing with the attribution dilemma
  • The role of Big Data and programmatic tactics

Purchase The U.S. Travel Advertising Marketplace: Industry Sizing and Trends 2015 for more analysis on travel advertising spend.

Amadeus IT Group S.A.
California Travel and Tourism Commission
Expedia Media Solutions
The Florida Keys and Key West Tourist Council
Google Inc.
Greater Ft. Lauderdale CVB
Northstar Travel Media LLC

37 Pages

Section 1 – Introduction
Study Background
Key Findings
Quick Views
Glossary of Terms

Section 2 – U.S. Travel Ad Spend
The Rise of Digital
Offline Ad Spend Dynamics

Section 3 – Online Ad Spend Dynamics
Search Rules
Mobile Continues Its Ascent
Social Is Surging, but Still Needs to Prove Itself
Video's Unrealized Potential
Last-Click Still Dominates Attribution
Convergence of Attribution, Big Data, Programmatic and Viewability

Section 4 – Ad Budget Management And Spending
Ad Budgeting Across Devices

Partners and Sponsors


Respondents by Functional Area and Role

Respondents – Travel Sellers and DMOs/Agencies by 2012 Revenue

U.S. Travel Industry Gross Bookings and Advertising Spending, 2011-2015

Annual Ad Spend Budget Change, 2013 vs. 2012 and 2014 vs. 2013

Percent of Revenue Spent on Advertising by Industry Segment, 2013

U.S. Ad Spend by Segment, 2011-2015

Sources of Information Used in Shopping Phase by U.S. Travelers

U.S. Ad Spend by Channel, 2011-2015

U.S. Offline Ad Spend by Channel, 2011 vs. 2015

U.S. Offline Ad Spend by Segment, 2013

U.S. Online Ad Spend by Channel, 2011-2015

Effectiveness of Different Channels in Driving Brand and Leads

Devices Used During Trip Planning Life Cycle, U.S. Travelers

U.S. Online Travel Ad Spend by Device, 2013

Use/Outlook for Spend on Social Ad Technologies

Effectiveness of Various Social Advertising Channels in Terms of ROI

Attribution Models Used

Use of and Outlook for Using Ad Strategies and Technologies

Effectiveness of Ad Strategies and Technologies

Challenges in Managing Online Travel Advertising

Managing Ad Budgets for Desktop/Laptop, Tablets and Smartphones, by Company Revenue

Phocuswright conducted this study using three key research activities:

  1. A quantitative industry survey
  2. Executive interviews
  3. A review of public financial reports

Industry Survey
Phocuswright fielded a quantitative online industry survey to domestic travel advertisers through the following organizations: Destination Marketing Association International, eCornell, HSMAI Foundation, Travel Weekly and The BTN Group. The survey was fielded between October 2013 and December 2013 and received 234 qualified respondents.

The respondents represent a significant and diverse cross-section of travel industry advertisers, including airlines, hotels, online travel agencies, destination marketing organizations and others: three in five respondents were in a marketing or sales role (see Figure 1); nine out of 10 respondents were in a management role; 42% had consumer ad spend of at least US$500,000 per year; 69% had at least $1 million in gross travel sales per year; and 38% had at least $10 million in gross travel sales per year. Travel supplier and retailer respondents reported higher average revenue, with 50% of those respondents saying 2012 revenue was at least $10 million (see Figure 2). Just 23% of DMOs and ad agencies combined reported 2012 revenue of $10 million or more.

Executive Interviews
To gain further insight into the travel advertising market, Phocuswright conducted 50 confidential, executive-level interviews directly for this study. Multiple stakeholders throughout the travel ad marketplace value chain were interviewed, including:

  1. Travel suppliers: airlines, hotels, cruise lines, car rental, and tour operators
  2. Intermediaries: OTAs, DMOs
  3. Publishers: search, social media, OTAs, ad networks, online and offline travel media
  4. Advertising technology vendors, agencies and service providers

Third-Party Data
Phocuswright analyzed relevant public company filings of travel advertisers, intermediaries and publishers for the purposes of sizing and forecasting the travel ad marketplace.

Phocuswright also reviewed third-party travel and advertising industry sources for market sizing and validation. These sources included the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), the Outdoor Advertising Association of America, BIA/Kelsey, Kantar Media, the U.S. Economic Census and Advertising Age.

Sizing projections are the result of aggregations of the industry survey data, executive interviews and public company filings. Throughout this analysis, all figures are in U.S. dollars unless otherwise stated. Totals in charts may not always add to 100% due to rounding or other reasons, as indicated.

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CA $1,258 • £700 • €803
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