For hotel marketers, Facebook continues to be the most effective advertising platform for targeting new audiences and driving brand awareness, according to research from travel industry ad platform Sojern.
In its "2019 Report on Travel Advertising for Hotel Marketers," released in June, Sojern surveyed hotel marketers worldwide across six segments: international luxury hotel chains, international mid-tier chains, hotel groups, independent properties, inns and homeshares. One poll asked how Facebook is most effective in their marketing strategies. For targeting new audiences, 35% of inns, 32% of hotel groups and 27% of international luxury and mid-tier chains said Facebook was most effective.
Facebook was most effective for 29% of independent properties at driving reach and brand awareness, vs. 25% of international luxury hotel chains.
Sojern also asked marketers about their social media ad budgets in 2018 vs. 2019. Three-quarters of respondents said they used Facebook ads in 2018, compared with 63% who said they would this year. This dip could be attributed to marketers who plan on spending more on other Facebook ad formats: 43% percent said they used Facebook dynamic ads for travel in 2018, vs. 54% who said they planned on using them this year, and 39% said they used Facebook Stories last year, compared with 46% who planned to do so in 2019.
Across all six hotel segments, Facebook ads were the most popular social channel last year, per Sojern. In another poll on the digital channels that travel marketers worldwide believe work best for branding and direct-response advertising, 69% of respondents said they use Facebook and Instagram for branding, and 58% said they use these platforms for direct-response ads.
Respondents also said they planned on using more video ads on Facebook and Instagram this year. Digital video and social were growth areas for travel marketers in general, and that growth of digital video budgets is driven by social platforms, according to our forecasts.
“We use paid social for our travel clients to drive those lower-funnel metrics,” said Doug Grumet, senior vice president of media at AMP Agency, for our "US Travel Digital Ad Spending 2019" report. “Can we improve our cost-per-acquisition or our cost-per-lead, whatever it might be? But then, can we use things like video within Snapchat, Instagram or Facebook to tell a more expansive story or create a connotation or perception of an experience? We see travel brands using social as more of a full-funnel tactic, as opposed to ‘I'm going to rely upon it solely to drive lower-funnel or solely to drive upper-funnel.’”
In our report, we noted that growth in the travel industry is slightly outpacing other verticals due to increased competition and a strong economy. Our latest forecasts show that US travel advertisers will increase their digital ad spending by 21.4% to $10.86 billion this year.
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