This is Skift’s digital travel marketing roundup, a weekly review of the most important digital marketing trends, marketing technology, and ad campaigns making headlines this week with travel marketers.
This week’s top story offers new insights into the delicate balancing act advertisers currently must weigh between investments in tried-and-true traditional formats like TV, and newer, but supposedly more effective, digital formats. According to the Wall Street Journal, citing updated forecasts from eMarketer, marketers are increasingly moving the huge budgets once reserved for TV into the digital realm. However, the spending on these digital campaigns is often less than what was spent on traditional advertising, causing some head scratching as to why.
As Ad Spending Moves from TV to Digital, Investment Lags
The Wall Street Journal reported this week (paywall) on new digital ad spending forecasts by eMarketer, which point to some intriguing trends for those who manage ad budgets. According to the forecasts, marketers across all industries are shifting more advertising dollars away from TV to digital formats like video. But as dollars shift, the budgets are curiously getting smaller. The reason for the decrease is unclear, but many believe advertisers are hesitant to spend as much on digital formats due to ongoing concerns about advertising fraud, measurement and more fragmented audiences.
Digital Advertising’s Effectiveness Dilemma
Also related to the WSJ story above is this article from Hospitality Net, which takes a closer look at the ad fraud concerns many believe are holding back investment from travel advertisers. According to the article’s infographic, 50% of ads online are never actually “viewable” by potential customers, leading to what the article’s author claims is $6 billion a year in wasted marketing dollars.
Expedia Enables Customers to Book Travel with Loyalty Points
As Skift has reported previously, loyalty marketing is in the midst of a dramatic shift. The most recent salvo in the marketing war for traveler loyalty is a new program from Expedia, which is encouraging the site’s visitors to book travel using the company’s own loyalty point system. As traditional consumer travel brands like hotels and airlines continue to devalue their own programs, and consumers get more mercenary about how they earn rewards, don’t be surprised if other unexpected players like Expedia launch their own loyalty offerings.
Debate Continues Over Value of Social Media Influencers
Love them or hate them, but travel marketers’ continued embrace of social media influencers shows no signs of slowing down. This post provides yet another laundry list of the benefits of working with such individuals to create marketing campaigns. The larger question, however, is how should marketers measure the ROI of such campaigns, an issue that needs careful consideration, and strong alignment with tangible business goals to measure effectiveness.
The ongoing question: Are “travel” social media influencers the same as everyday influencers who don’t claim a speciality.
New Study Emphasizes Importance of Email Marketing
Formats like TV and social media tend to get a lot of marketers’ and the media’s attention, but as a new study reminds us, email campaigns can be among the most personalized and effective of any marketing channel, particularly for travel brands. The study, commissioned by marketing software firm Silverpop, an IBM company, reported that email campaigns sent by brands in the “Lodging, travel agencies and services” category had a higher open rate at 56% than any other industry studied.
UK Travel Brands are Improving Mobile Sites, Says New Survey
Digital travel shoppers are spending more time shopping for (and increasingly, buying) travel products using mobile devices. Despite this shift, many travel companies struggle to provide mobile-optimized websites and booking tools to meet the demand. According to a new survey however, many travel brands, at least in the UK, are finally catching up. Online travel agency players like Booking.com and hotel chain Marriott earned high marks from mobile users for their mobile website experiences, a good sign given the increasingly mobile-dominated future of travel purchases.
Carlson Wagonlit Launches New Meetings App Targeting Small, Midsize Meetings
Following on the heels of the UK mobile website news above, corporate travel firm Carlson Wagonlit this week launched a new mobile app designed to cater to attendees of small and midsize meetings. Given the massive amount of time, money and personal capital spent on corporate events and meetings, Carlson’s move seems like great opportunity to drive some much-needed innovation in this space.