Pathmatics Blog

Inside Data on the Top 7 Travel Advertisers, from Royal Caribbean Cruises to Hilton

April 14 2017
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The travel industry spent more than $78 million on digital advertising in February 2017, with the top seven advertisers spending about 34 percent of the industry’s total outlay.

Cruise advertising activities picked up significantly in February for both Carnival Cruise, the top travel spender, and Royal Caribbean Cruises, the fifth highest spender. This trend is reflected in 2016 spend data, as well.

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Carnival Cruise Line spend, Jan. 1, 2016 – Feb. 28, 2017

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Royal Caribbean Cruises spend, Jan. 1, 2016 – Feb. 28, 2017

How did both major cruise lines spend their money in February?


Carnival and Royal Caribbean Spend Big on Video

About $6.8 million of Carnival’s $7.3 million advertising spend went to desktop and mobile video advertising in February. In fact, four of the top ten travel industry ads, based on spend, were Carnival video advertisements. For the travel industry as a whole, YouTube took nearly 17 percent of the industry’s spend share, with Carnival contributing more than $5.7 million to YouTube from its top four video advertisements alone.  

View Carnival’s top advertisement below, which cost $2.3 million.

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Watch the Video

Following Carnival’s video preference, Royal Caribbean spent roughly $2.1 million of its $2.7 million on desktop and mobile video advertising. Royal Caribbean and Carnival made up 50 percent of the top ten advertisements, all of them video. Both cruise lines spent $6.5 million on their top video advertisements combined.

View Royal Caribbean’s top video advertisement below, which cost more than $792,000.

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Watch the Video

By analyzing the spend trends of top competitors at their peak advertising seasons, like cruise lines in February, you can pinpoint the strategies these top companies feel are worth the most time and resources. Then, you can use these takeaways to adjust your advertising strategies and beat the competition.

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Read on for deeper insights into the spend data of the top seven travel advertisers, including advertising spend and impressions, for February 2017. 

1. Carnival Cruise Line

Carnival Cruise Line spent $7.3 million all told on digital advertising, about 9 percent of all money spent by travel brands in this period. Spending occurred across desktop, mobile, video and content channels. The company garnered 456 million impressions for its budget, about 5 percent of all impressions generated by travel advertisers.

Carnival Cruise Line used $7.2 million of its budget on direct spend. This indicates a preference for direct spend over indirect. This resulted in 402 million impressions across channels from direct, or about 88 percent of total impressions garnered by the company during this period.

Total Spend Total Impressions Direct Spend Direct Impressions
$7,341,700 455,979,500 $7,150,300 401,701,500
 
 

2. Expedia

Expedia spent $5.8 million all told on digital ads, about 7 percent of all money spent by all travel advertisers in this timeframe. Spending took place across desktop, mobile, video and content channels. The company generated 915 million impressions for its budget, just about 11 percent of total impressions generated by advertisers. 

Expedia used $3.2 million of its total budget on direct. This indicates a preference for direct spend over indirect. The company produced 213 million impressions across all channels from direct, or about 23 percent of all impressions garnered by the company in this period.

Total Spend Total Impressions Direct Spend Direct Impressions
$5,828,800 915,179,500 $3,235,100 213,091,400
 
 

3. Disney Theme Parks & Resorts

Disney Theme Parks & Resorts spent $4 million all told on digital ads, roughly 5 percent of all money spent by all advertisers in this period. Spending occurred across desktop, mobile, video and content channels. The company garnered 236 million impressions for its ad spend, approximately 3 percent of all impressions generated by advertisers.

Disney Theme Parks & Resorts used $3.7 million of its ad spend on direct spend. This indicates a preference for direct spend over indirect. The company produced 162 million impressions across channels from direct, or about 69 percent of total impressions generated by the company in this period.

Total Spend Total Impressions Direct Spend Direct Impressions
$4,018,400 236,467,000 $3,712,300 162,304,200
 
 

4. Next-Vacation.com

Next-Vacation.com spent $2.9 million in total on digital advertising, roughly 4 percent of total ad spend from travel companies during this period. Spending was allocated across desktop, mobile, video and content channels. The company generated 297 million impressions for its budget, approximately 3 percent of total impressions generated by travel advertisers.

Next-Vacation.com used $2.8 million of its ad spend on direct. This indicates a strong preference for direct spend over indirect. The company garnered 236 million impressions across channels from direct, or about 79 percent of total impressions generated by the company during this period.

Total Spend Total Impressions Direct Spend Direct Impressions
$2,938,900 297,146,600 $2,767,500 236,050,200
 
 

5. Royal Caribbean Cruises

Royal Caribbean Cruises spent $2.7 million all told on digital advertising, approximately 3 percent of all advertising dollars spent during this period. Spending was allocated across desktop, mobile, video and content channels. The company tallied 243 million impressions for its money, about 3 percent of total impressions generated by travel advertisers.

Royal Caribbean Cruises used $2.3 million of its total budget on direct spend. This indicates a preference for direct spend over indirect. The company generated 127 million impressions across all channels from direct, or about 52 percent of total impressions garnered by the company during this period.

Total Spend Total Impressions Direct Spend Direct Impressions
$2,698,800 243,031,800 $2,323,000 126,792,900

 

6. United Airlines

United Air Lines spent $2.1 million all told on digital ads, approximately 3 percent of all money spent by travel brands in this timeframe. Spending was spread across desktop, mobile, video and content channels. The company produced 120 million impressions for its money, just about 1 percent of all impressions generated by travel advertisers.

United Air Lines used $1.9 million of its ad spend on direct. This indicates a preference for direct spend over indirect. The company produced 73 million impressions across channels from direct, or about 61 percent of total impressions garnered by the company in this timeframe.

Total Spend Total Impressions Direct Spend Direct Impressions
$2,064,900 120,195,700 $1,904,500 72,993,300

 

7. Hilton Worldwide

Hilton Worldwide spent $1.9 million in total on digital ads, roughly 2 percent of all travel advertising dollars spent in this period. Spending occurred across desktop, mobile, video and content channels. The company tallied 224 million impressions for its ad spend, just about 3 percent of all impressions generated by the industry.

Hilton Worldwide used $1.4 million of its total budget on direct. This indicates a preference for direct spend over indirect. The company generated 74 million impressions across channels from direct, or about 33 percent of total impressions garnered by the company in this timeframe.

Total Spend Total Impressions Direct Spend Direct Impressions
$1,949,800 224,333,400 $1,379,600 74,301,900

 

How Do I Use This Data?

During Carnival’s big spend period this year, the cruise line appeared to take two separate approaches: one targeting young singles and couples, and one targeting families. Royal Caribbean’s persona was more personality-driven, aimed at the thrill seeker. They also touted a limited time deal – 60 percent off a second guest and $200 to spend at sea. 

Having this level of transparency allows you to tap into your competitors’ goals and target audiences as you vie for attention in the travel industry. Is your target audience more of a thrill-seeker or a family fun vacationer? Once you’ve determined who you’re going after, you can drill deeper into where your competition saw the most success in terms of impressions and build a placement strategy around these insights.

**All trademarks & copyrights property of their respective owners. Image Credit: Pixabay.
Source: Pathmatics US Desktop, Mobile, and Video Data, February 1st, 2017 - February 28th, 2017.


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About Author

Jordan Kramer

An out-of-the-box thinker with a love for disruptive ideas, Jordan's background spans PR and events for the wedding & hospitality industry in Los Angeles and Scottsdale and also launching one of America's most unique food trucks. She jumped from the food start-up scene to the tech start-up scene in 2013 to join one of the most unique companies in ad tech. Jordan is a graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication.

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