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If you’re heading to the latest stop on Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour, you will likely need to book a flight and hotel. Expedia Group recently unveiled new data highlighting how its advertising tools enhance visibility for travel partners on their sites and can augment partner revenue during popular cultural events.

This sponsored content was created in collaboration with a Skift partner.

Is Taylor Swift the most important person in travel? Skift posed this question in a recent article, reporting that U.S. cities lucky enough to get a slot on Swift’s Eras Tour have seen monthly hotel room revenues up over 7 percent on average, according to analysts at Bernstein. 

Travel marketers know that popular cultural events like the Eras Tour, the Super Bowl, Wimbledon, and Formula 1 racing can significantly boost revenue — but how can they ensure they’re maximizing the potential of these events to increase visibility and capture demand?

SkiftX spoke with Jennifer Andre, vice president of business development at Expedia Group Media Solutions, to gain insight into how travel marketers can take advantage of the latest event tourism trends, also known as tour tourism. 

“Combining travel with events has returned after the pandemic,” Andre said. “One of our recent surveys tells us 70 percent of customers are more likely to travel to a concert outside of their own town, with 40 percent saying they’d travel to a concert as an excuse to visit a place. Of course, if travelers are going to an event, they’ll likely need a way to get there and a place to stay — that’s where our partner advertising solutions come in.” 

Leveraging TravelAds and Flight Sponsored Listings

Expedia Group’s TravelAds and Flight Sponsored Listings are strategically designed for performance marketing, capturing travelers’ attention precisely when deciding to book rather than merely for brand awareness. TravelAds offer targeted advertising solutions for lodging, while Flight Sponsored Listings are tailored for airline seat bookings. 

“These tools secure premium spots in our search algorithms, ensuring partners can prominently position their offerings at the crucial decision-making moment,” Andre said. “For instance, a hotel located near a concert venue in Singapore can be featured at the top of search results and include messaging that directly appeals to potential concert-goers.” 

This targeting leverages real-time search data, enabling hotels and airlines to pinpoint and attract the right travelers based on their search behaviors. Similarly, Flight Sponsored Listings provide airlines the chance to target specific origin and destination points relevant to events. 

According to Andre, properties running a TravelAds campaign see 90 percent more visibility and 120 percent more bookings versus non-enrolled properties, on average, globally.1

“What sets our approach apart is the comprehensive use of first-party data, allowing for highly targeted advertising that meets travelers exactly where they are in their booking journey, with the right message at the right time, leading to effective conversions,” Andre said. “This focus on first-party data is a cornerstone of our strategy, offering a unique advantage in reaching and engaging travelers effectively.” 

Impactful Event Tourism Moments From 2023

Local markets saw a significant boost in their economies from Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour, including her homecoming stop in Nashville in May 2023. According to Andre, Nashville hotels that ran TravelAds campaigns in Nashville during this time saw an average boost of 5 percent in both revenue and bookings compared to hotels in the city that didn’t use TravelAds. 

During last summer’s Wimbledon tennis tournament in London, some hotels using TravelAds saw an average boost of almost 30 percent compared to other hotels in the area. 

“Wimbledon attracts a vast audience, offering a prime opportunity for local businesses,” Andre said. “For instance, Imperial London Hotels in the surrounding area of Wimbledon leveraged TravelAds to capitalize on this event, resulting in a 30 percent increase in their room bookings through Expedia.”2

Hotels in U.S. cities with major sporting events are also benefiting. During the 2023 Super Bowl, hotels using TravelAds in Phoenix saw an average boost in revenue of just over 15 percent over the weekend. This year, hotels in Las Vegas saw an average 5 percent boost in revenue during Super Bowl 2024 when enrolled in TravelAds over that weekend. 

How Travel Marketers Can Get In On the Action

Andre says travel marketers can maximize the use of Expedia Group’s tools to capture demand during these high-profile events or whenever it makes the most sense for their business.

“The first step is to base decisions on solid data and real-time travel intent,” Andre said. “Partners can utilize our expertise to identify and bridge gaps between search interest and actual bookings,” Andre said. “This approach allows us to pinpoint when and where to intervene — whether it’s targeting remote workers for longer stays or capturing demand from last-minute bookers.” 

With the shift to a cookieless world, Expedia Group’s first-party data ensures that partners can still effectively reach their target audience at the right moment in their purchase journey without needing to revamp ad campaigns or marketing strategies.

“For instance, our TravelAds tool features an automated bidding tool powered by artificial intelligence, ideal for smaller hotels lacking extensive marketing resources,” Andre said. “By automating the bidding process, this tool ensures optimal spend for maximum market exposure without the risk of over- or under-investing. It’s a great way for hotel partners to drive incremental room nights and revenue.” 

For airline partners, Expedia Group uses its data to proactively assist them in selling seats on particular routes, making it a strategic tool for filling flights, gaining a competitive edge in the market, and boosting visibility during important seasonal moments. 

For example, Etihad Airways leveraged Flight Sponsored Listings to entice American tourists with winter getaways to Abu Dhabi and the Maldives. Using the tool, Etihad saw bookings from the U.S. to both destination airports increase by almost 5 percent, totaling just over a 30 percent boost in gross bookings.3

“Partnering on Flight Sponsored Listings means tapping into over 300 million average monthly flight searches on Expedia,” Andre said. “Airlines can secure a premium position in search results and use custom copy to encourage travelers to book.” 

What’s Next for Event Tourism? 

Event and tour tourism is set to continue into 2024. According to recent Expedia Group data, travel searches increased by over 250 percent year-over-year when stops along the Asian and Australian legs of Taylor Swift’s 2024 Eras Tour were announced. Similarly, when the 2024 European tour dates were announced, travel searches for May to August 2024 increased by nearly 65 percent for cities with corresponding tour stops.

“We’re excited to continue working with our partners during 2024’s biggest cultural moments — from major world music tours to global sporting events  — to offer them our full suite of advertising options and to elevate their listing when they need it the most,” Andre said. 

To learn more about Expedia Group’s portfolio of advertising solutions for hotels, airlines, destination marketing organizations, car rentals, cruise, and more, click here.

This content was created collaboratively by Expedia Group and Skift’s branded content studio, SkiftX

  1. 1st Party Expedia Group Booking Data. POS Brand: Expedia Group Global. Dates: July 2021 – July 2022. ↩︎
  2. Stays at Imperial Hotels, London UK, between July 3-16 2023. ↩︎
  3. Flights booked from Oct 1, 2023 – Feb 23, 2024 compared to Oct 1, 2022 – Feb 23, 2023. ↩︎

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Tags: booking, cultural tourism, events, expedia group, SkiftX Creative Studio, SkiftX Showcase: OTAs, SkiftX Showcase: Technology, travel marketing

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