In the travel business they used to call them “recession chops.” It’s a slang term for the skill set that comes with decreased consumer spending, increased costs and a need to maintain if not increase market share. As this economy looks to be headed for a tough couple of years, “recession chops” won’t be enough. Even though digital marketing has increased tremendously this year, and in any year-to-year comparison, it’s time to go harder. Digital marketing holds the key to gaining market share, increasing customer value and increasing incremental revenue. Digital marketing is the 2012 version of “recession chops.”
Let’s first salute the travel category for grasping the initial opportunity. Kantar Media research released in October shows that shows total ad spend is up by 10% from last year in the travel category. A media breakdown reveals that paid search and display advertisements dominate the category as advertisers direct ad budgets away from traditional media and into the Internet.
And that’s not even the really good news. An analysis of the top ten digital advertisers in the travel category during the first two quarters of 2011 shows a total investment level of $275.5 million and an increase by almost one-third compared to a year ago. And it’s not just online booking sites that lead the rise. Some travel companies (airlines and hotels) have increased their digital media budgets by more than 500% this year.