In the hotly contested TV advertising wars, 18 online travel brands spent an estimated $624.7 million on national television advertising in the U.S. in 2014.
The biggest spending brand was Germany-based Trivago at $108.5 million as it tried to build its brand in the U.S. Trivago edged out the U.S. TV ad spend of Expedia.com at $105.8 million.
But Expedia Inc. companies, namely Trivago ($108.5 million), Expedia.com ($105.8 million), Hotwire ($92 million) and Hotels.com ($50.2 million) accounted for 57 percent, or $356.5 million, of total online travel TV spend in the U.S. in 2014.
The spending estimates come from iSpot.tv, which tracks “paid TV media and related earned digital activity across social, search & video,” the company says.
Using iSpot.tv data, AdAge reported that Trivago spent the 7th most, or $64.3 million, of any brand — not just travel brands — on U.S. TV advertising in 2014 on a single ad. Trivago was the only travel company in AdAge’s top 10 list.
“In terms of airings, however, Expedia led the category with more than 41,000 followed by Hotwire (39,600) and Trivago (36,700), reflecting a strategy by Trivago to spend,” an iSpot.tv spokesperson says.
When comparing some of the big-spenders among the top online travel TV advertising spenders in 2014 in the U.S., including Trivago, Expedia and Booking.com, the Expedia brand was the most effective in grabbing digital share of voice (video views, social shares, tweets and comments etc.).
The Expedia brand’s ad spending accounted for 17 percent of the online travel category advertising spend, and generated 39 percent of all digital activity, according to iSpot.tv, with its spokesperson saying “Expedia wins cross-screen engagements.”
Booking.com is ‘The Other Winner’
The iSpot.tv spokesperson characterizes Booking.com, a unit of the Priceline Group, as “the other winner in digital” in terms of the impact of its TV advertising. Booking.com, which accounted for 9.8 percent (around $61.2 million) of total online travel category spend in U.S. TV advertising, and “generated 17 percent of digital activity with just shy of one million earned video views online and healthy search and social numbers,” the spokesperson says.
Trivago, meanwhile, accounted for an 18 percent share of online travel advertising spend on U.S. TV, “but generated only 7.8 percent of digital actions (video views, social shares, tweets, comments etc.),” the iSpot.tv spokesperson says.
“Clearly Expedia as a brand crushed it compared to the outlay,” the iSpot.tv spokesperson says. “Booking.com did well, though. If you add up the digital share of voice for those Expedia brands [Expedia, Trivago, Hotwire and Hotels.com] it’s 58 percent of all digital activity, roughly in line with spend.”
The following iSpot.tv chart depicts the digital impact of the Expedia brand’s TV advertising:
The following iSpot.tv chart breaks down the national airings of 18 online travel brands in 2014:
The iSpot.tv spokesperson couldn’t readily assess how the $624.7 million in national TV spending in 2014 compared with online travel brands’ spending in 2013 because some of iSpot.tv’s methodology has changed.