Skift Take

Watch out for the quiet ones. Choice didn't run any U.S. national TV ads in 2021 and Virgin Voyages was absent during the first seven months of last year. Yet both brands surged to leadership positions in 2022.

You couldn’t find a Choice Hotels national TV ad in the U.S. in all of 2021 and for the first three-and-a-half months of 2022, but then the Maryland-based franchisor surged past every other travel brand — not just hotels — to capture the top share of voice for the first seven months of the year.

That’s the word from TV measurement and analytics firm iSpot.tv, which estimated that Choice Hotels commanded a 7.19 percent share of voice among travel brands by TV ad impressions, which is when a user views an ad.

Choice, according to an iSpot.tv report, edged out Connecticut-based online travel agency Priceline (6.99 percent) and its Amsterdam-headquartered sister company Booking.com (6.97 percent).

“From January 1 to July 31, travel industry TV and impressions were up 61.1 percent year-over-year, while estimated national TV ad spend more than doubled [130.3 percent] to $608.6 million,” iSpot.tv stated.

Here were the top 10 most-seen travel brands on U.S. national TV in the first seven months of 2022 in share of voice as measured by impressions, according to iSpot.tv.

January 1 to July 31, 2022. *SOV means share of voice. Source: iSpot.tv

Here’s iSpot.tv’s estimates on travel ad spend among the top 10 travel brands as measured by TV ad impressions during the first seven months of 2022:

BrandSpend
Choice Hotels$23.0M
Priceline$22.5M
Booking.com$39.9M
Expedia$48.1M
Disney Resorts$27.9M*
Trivago$19.0M
Royal Caribbean$41.3M
Vrbo$31.1M
Airbnb$52.0M
Celebrity Cruises$11.6M

*Represents media value since Disney does not pay full price on Disney networks

As can be seen, iSpot.tv estimated that Airbnb was the biggest spender at $52 million among the top 10, but came in ninth in terms of share of impressions during the first seven months of 2022.

“Advertisers take a variety of approaches to TV depending on their goals and the price of the programming they want to focus on, so ad impressions and spend won’t always correlate,” said Tyler Bobin, an iSpot.tv senior analyst. “For instance, a large portion of Airbnb’s impressions were during premium programming with top programs being men’s college basketball (6.79 percent of ad impressions), NFL (4.7 percent), NBA (4.6 percent), American Idol (2.9 percent), This Is Us (2.4 percent) and The Bachelor (2.3 percent).”

Bobin said major broadcast networks air these programs, sometimes in prime time, and they come with a higher cost, but the goal is to reach “large, engaged audiences who are less likely to interrupt advertising.”

With Choice catapulting to the top share of voice among travel brands in the first seven months of the year, its ad called “Always a Reason to Book” generated 47.7 percent of Choice’s TV ad impressions from April 20, when Choice dove in with its first ad U.S. national TV ad since 2020 through July 31, 2022.

Among the other standouts in the first seven months of 2022 were online travel websites and cruise lines.

Booking Holdings’ brands, Priceline (18.3 percent) and Booking.com (18.25 percent), basically a dead heat, dominated the online travel agency sector in the first seven months of 2022 in terms of share of national TV ad impressions in the U.S., according to iSpot.tv estimates. Booking Holdings views Booking.com as its lead brand, and has been working hard for several years to increase its share of U.S. travel bookings.

Booking.com focused on primetime airings, which generated almost one-third (31 percent) of its ad impressions during the period, according to iSpot.tv.

Overall, among travel industry advertisers in the U.S., Fox News (6.18 percent) command the the highest share of TV ad impressions, followed by NBC (5.99 percent), and CNN (4.85 percent).

Source: iSpot.tv

The National Basketball Association (1.44 percent), National Football League (1.37 percent), and the TV series Friends (1.36 percent) were the top three programs when measured by TV ad impressions during the first seven months of 2022, iSpot.tv stated.

Source: iSpot.tv

After not sailing in 2020 when the pandemic created havoc, cruise lines came soaring back with TV advertising in the first seven months of 2022, although their spending was heaviest in the first three months. Royal Caribbean (24.98 percent), Celebrity Cruises (20.46 percent), and Virgin Voyages (15.93 percent) were the leaders in share of U.S. national TV ad impressions from January 1 to July 31, 2002, iSpot.tv found.

Like Choice Hotels, Virgin Voyages ran no U.S. national TV ads in the first seven months of 2021, but it snagged the number three share of ad impressions January 1 to July 31, 2022 by running the most airings among any cruise line. Virgin Voyages focused on cable networks, which accounted for nearly all (97.1 percent) of its ad impressions.

Among airlines, Southwest (41.76 percent) and Delta Air Lines (32.54 percent) were the top two generators of ad impressions during the first seven months of 2022, according to iSpot.tv estimates, and Turkish Airlines was a distant third (5.17 percent).

Turkish Airlines focused its ads on airings during sports programming — it received more than half of its ad impressions during the February 13 U.S. Super Bowl during both the English and Spanish language broadcasts.

Southwest focused its U.S. national TV ads on syndicated programs rather than new shows and events, iSpot.tv said.

The Most-Admired Ads

The most-likable U.S. national TV ads from travel companies during the first seven months of the year, according to Ace Metrix creative assessment surveys, were Walt Disney World’s “Feel the Magic,” Royal Caribbean’s Rise to the Vacation — the Year of Yes, and Sandals’ Celebrating 40 Years — Drinks.

Free Daily Newsletter

Sign up for the most popular Skift daily download of news, happening, and headlines in the travel world

Tags: advertising, booking.com, choice hotels, coronavirus recovery, delta air lines, disney, expedia, fox news, nba, nfl, priceline, royal caribbean, sales and marketing, sandals, southwest airlines, turkish airlines, virgin voyages

Photo credit: A screenshot from the Choice Hotels 'Always Ready to Book' TV ad