Travel Advertising in the Age of Coronavirus
June 1, 2020 | Article written by Tamar Elmaliach
What to Promote Where This Summer
It’s no secret by now that COVID-19 has sent the economy reeling, and the travel industry has been particularly hard hit. When all is said and done, the industry is expected to lose $820 billion.
According to a report from Influencer Marketing Hub, web traffic to travel sites has decreased by half, and ad spend among industry players is down 60%.
With the summer travel season effectively canceled, perhaps it’s time to remind consumers what they’ve been missing — not by offering the same standard fare of package offers and flight deals, of course, but by pivoting content strategy and ad placement entirely. With the right focus, it’s possible to keep your brand top of mind while riding out the pandemic.
Content is King
With flights grounded and stay-at-home orders in place, what in the world is there to advertise to travelers? Plenty, as it turns out!
Major players in the travel industry have temporarily retooled their content strategies to take advantage of a (quite literally) captive audience
With all that has moved online — business meetings, schooling, and even a wedding or two — is it any surprise that travel experiences have followed suit?
TripAdvisor’s tour company, Viator, is keeping the quarantined masses busy with over 100 virtual experiences, including interactive cooking classes and livestream walking tours. Airbnb, meanwhile, is supporting its hosts who offer such online experiences as pasta making, wine tasting, and even forest bathing.
Advertising your virtual services allows you to speak to travelers’ needs now, engaging with customers in a meaningful way and avoiding the tone deaf feel of carrying on with advertising as usual.
While virtual experiences offer a new product to customers during the pandemic, a second advertising strategy banks on future wanderlust by urging travelers to purchase gift cards.
Marriot, for instance, is offering a 20% discount on gift cards purchased now to be used later in the summer. A small coalition of hotels is even offering travel bonds, where each $100 gift card that a guest purchase grows to a value of $150 after 60 days.
It seems the plan is working: BlackHawk network found that e-gift sales are already up 44% this year. With a focus on the future, advertising gift cards in the age of Coronavirus provides a way for the travel industry to generate both revenue and brand awareness.
It’s not only time to shake up what you advertise; it’s where, as well. With everyone stuck at home, media consumption habits are changing, and advertisers will need to pay attention to reach the same volume of potential customers.
Tweak social strategy
Unsurprisingly, media consumption is up, with news sites and the CDC website leading the charge. Social media sites, however, have also seen a large uptick in traffic, with Facebook and Instagram both experiencing a 40% jump in usage in mid-March.
As consumers seek out information on Coronavirus, 34% of respondents to Influencer Marketing Hub’s survey have shifted time spent on social media from Instagram to Twitter. Meanwhile Social Media Today reports that Facebook has become the leading social media platform for news during COVID-19.
With a spike in usage, social media is clearly having a moment that advertisers should bank on. Knowing exactly which platforms deserve your attention will help you make the most of your ad spend during this challenging time.
Double down on CTV and OTT
Nothing says “stay-at-home order” like a weekend-long binge of Tiger King, and that’s exactly what people are doing during the quarantine.
Americans spent 85% more time streaming video on TV this March than in the previous year, according to Nielsen. And, by mid-April, Netflix reported a record-high quarterly jump in subscribers, more than doubling its increase in revenue from a year prior.
If there’s any worry that these numbers won’t stick, the Coronavirus has also influenced hardware purchasing habits. According to a survey from Business Insider, 12% of US respondents have purchased a Roku streaming device in response to the pandemic.
These purchases ensure that, even if viewing drops as quarantine ends, the CTV space will be impacted for the long term. Securing ad placement among the major streaming services is a smart move, both for now and the future.
The travel industry will, no doubt, take years to recover from this pandemic, but there are bright spots within the advertising landscape. To learn more about advertising trends in the age of Coronavirus, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.