Travel advertising set to rebound but Australia still lags behind

Travel advertising spend will grow by 36% in 2022 but it won’t be until the following year that it will exceed pre-pandemic levels, according to a new study.

Publicis Groupe agency Zenith forecast the travel sector will grow by almost a quarter this year before accelerating next year and outstripping 2019 in 2023.

However, Australia will continue to stutter, with total travel ad spend expected to decline 4% between 2019 and 2023.

Of the 13 major markets analysed in the report, only Canada, Spain and France will have a slower rate of growth.

Globally, while the 24% growth in 2021 will be twice as fast as the overall ad market, it will still lag behind other sectors, the Business Intelligence report said.

With travel one of the first industries to be hit by COVID-19 and one of the last to recover, ad spend this year will be a third less than 2019. The overall ad market is tipped to be 7% ahead of pre-pandemic levels.

Zenith said digital will continue to be the dominant media channel for travel marketers, attracting 63% of ad dollars in 2020 and set to rise 6% each year until 2023.

In Australia, travel brands will be spending 61% of their budgets on digital advertising in 2023, up from 54% in 2019.

Zenith global chief strategy officer Ben Lukawski said: “Travel was one of the earliest sectors to embrace digital as booking went online. Post-COVID, the best-performing brands will complete this transformation by making the total experience digital, from reducing form filling to contactless entry, removing nearly all possible friction from the experience.”

Zenith said travel marketers will move away from print – traditionally a major advertising channel compared to other sectors – but out-of-home will recover from its slump in 2020 and grow at an average rate of 6% a year between 2019 and 2023.

“As travel begins to recover from the unprecedented drop in demand in 2020, brands are rebuilding their relationships with consumers, using digital technology to guide them at every stage,” Zenith head of forecasting Jonathan Barnard said.

“Online video in particular will play a key role in creating emotional connections with consumers, inviting them to take their first step on their digital journey.”


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