Travel industry’s digital ad spend in cruise control

Nielsen Ad Intel has released the latest data on the travel industry’s digital ad spend in Australia for October.

As fears mount over the Omicron Coronavirus variant, new travel restrictions have begun appearing around the world. But despite this, the travel industry continues to recover.

In fact, digital impressions are up by almost 40% in October compared to the previous month.

“With almost 40% more impressions detected across digital advertising in October compared to the previous month, we are seeing a renewed focus on domestic tourism with brands promoting regional and coastal getaways,” Rose Lopreiato, Ad Intel commercial lead at Nielsen, told Mumbrella.

The report shows $8.5 million reported in total digital travel estimated ad spend during the month of October 2021 (including display, video and social).

This figure covers: accommodation, air charter, airlines, airports, passenger shipping line/cruise, tourist authorities, train services, travel agents-service/tour, and vehicle rentals.

The total ad spend figures across the  top three categories were:

  • Passenger Shipping Line/Cruise – $2.1 million
  • Tourist Authorities – $1.7 million
  • Travel Agents-Service/Tour – $1.7 million

Broken down further, here is how the percentage splits by the top advertisers within each of these categories.

Passenger shipping lines/cruises 


Travel ad spend - Passenger Shipping Lines

Source: Nielsen



Tourist authorities


Travel ad spend - Tourist Authorities

Source: Nielsen


Tourism & Events Queensland

Between the period of 3 October, 2021 to 30 October, 2021 (the week prior to and after NSW’s “Freedom Day”) digital marketing intelligence platform, Pathmatics found ad spend for travel and tourism, including companies such as Airbnb, Tourism and Events Queensland and, increased by 103%.

Leanne Coddington, Tourism and Events Queensland chief executive officer, said: “We have been looking closely at how to take the next step to evolve our message towards more purposeful travel – where we show people that travelling in Queensland is good for their soul and can be good for the world as well.”

“The time is right as we emerge from COVID restrictions and seek to reconnect with friends, family and our environment, and we look to simplify things and enjoy moments with those we love.

Sunshine Coast Regional Council

“When we compare the year ending June 2021 against the year ending June 2019, domestic visitor numbers declined by 7%, and if we add in the loss of international travel, the region suffered a 13.9% decline in overall visitor numbers,” Visit Sunshine Coast chair David Ryan said at their recent AGM.

“It shows just how tough the year was for the tourism industry. The hardest hit were our international markets, as well as our primary interstate markets of NSW and Victoria that remained closed for much of the period.

“Of our sectors, business travel was the hardest hit with a 40.8% decline. The loss of corporate and conference travel particularly affected mid-week performance and yield.

“But there were some highlights in the region’s tourism performance during the period. One of these was that despite the unprecedented disruption of COVID-19, for the year ending June 2021, the Sunshine Coast achieved a new record of $2.8 billion in domestic overnight visitor expenditure. This was a 24.5% increase year on year and a 7.7% increase compared to 2019.

“So despite this hugely challenging environment, Sunshine Coast was able to get on with the job at hand and from a performance point of view, we finished the 2021 financial year as the most resilient tourism region in Queensland – and one of the best performing regions across Australia.”

SA Tourism Commission

The South Australian Tourism Commission (SATC) appointed Erik de Roos as executive director of marketing back in June, following Brent Hill’s resignation.

A month earlier, the SATC named Carat Adelaide in its media account following a pitch process against the incumbent, GroupM’s Wavemaker (WPP AUNZ).

Dentsu-owned Carat now handles the traditional, digital and performance media for SATC’s 2021/22 domestic marketing campaign.

Travel agents


Travel ad spend - Travel Agents

Source: Nielsen

Top Advertisers – October 2021: 

There is already less than 3% availability heading into the holiday season on the Sunshine Coast and even less at Lennox Head, according to Stayz. The Mornington Peninsula has up to 12 per capacity.

Air BnB

Thrive PR + Communications (Thrive) was appointed as the sole PR agency for Airbnb in Australia and New Zealand in October.

Strategic and creative direction for Airbnb is now led out of Thrive Sydney and the team is bolstered with specialist support across locations including Melbourne, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Perth, and Auckland.

Flight Centre

Flight Centre Travel Group is anticipating some of its biggest years of growth once Australia’s vaccination rollout gains momentum, travel restrictions ease and international borders re-open.

With travel industry leaders forecasting unprecedented demand for both domestic and international travel as the world moves into a phase of post-COVID management, Flight Centre’s general manager (Australia) Kelly Spencer said the excitement is returning. “We’re preparing for the demand for travel to return with a vengeance.”

Back in August, FCTG appointed its new global chief marketing officer, Darren ‘Daz’ Wright.

An internal move, Wright is now responsible for the leisure division, including the global Flight Centre brand and Travel Associates, taking over what was a newly-created role.


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