Skift Take

As the U.S. enters its most expensive election cycle, tourism marketers are going to need to get creative to stay on top of the minds of targeted audiences.

Advertising costs on TV and other mediums are to going to go up this fall as the America’s presidential campaign swings into full gear – and that will impact tourism marketers, too.

“History shows that [the election] doesn’t impact the volume of travel, but it definitely impacts the advertising purchase,” said Brad Dean, Discover Puerto Rico CEO and president.

“The answer for all of us is that advertising from August through November is going to be more expensive,” said Martha Sheridan, Meet Boston CEO and president.

Both Dean and Sheridan spoke to Skift this week at IPW, the travel trade conference in Los Angeles.

The 2024 election cycle features campaigns for the presidential, Congressional, state and local races. Political advertising for this cycle is forecasted to reach a record $12 billion, according to Insider Intelligence. That would be up 28% from the 2020 election cycle.

Advertising rates on broadcast TV, radio and other traditional advertising mediums are not only going to rise but political advertisers are going to take up slots, especially in swing states like Ohio and Michigan in the coming months. 

“There’s sometimes you just can’t buy advertising,” said Dean. “We’ve seen some markets where the rate of advertising can double or triple year over year.”

The Impact on Tourism Marketing

In the coming months, TV, radio and out-of-home advertising is going to be cluttered with election advertising, making it harder for tourism marketers to get their message across. “There’s gonna be a lot of noise between now and November,” said Jay Salyers, senior vice president of special projects at Miles Partnership, a travel marketing consultancy.

Tourism marketers don’t stop advertising, they are just shift more of their spend from traditional to digital and social media. “It doesn’t mean you stop advertising. It just means you adapt your strategy because the price goes up two or three times, but the payoff isn’t quite as good,” said Dean.

To reach travelers during this cluttered time, advertising on travel websites like booking platforms will be a safer bet instead of media that is going to be inundated with news coverage of the elections, said Salyers.


The Daily Newsletter

Our daily coverage of the global travel industry. Written by editors and analysts from across Skift’s brands.

Have a confidential tip for Skift? Get in touch

Tags: advertising, destination markeing, destination marketing organizations, tourism

Photo credit: Joshua Earle on Unpslash Joshua Earle / Unsplash

Up Next

Loading next stories