Accelerating Recovery through Travel Advertising

Christine Walker Scarce, Director, Product & Sales Marketing, Expedia Group Media Solutions
August 28, 2020
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As many of you know, over the last few months we’ve been producing a COVID-19 webinar series to help our advertising partners and the industry navigate the impacts of the global crisis and prepare for recovery. Through this webinar series, accompanying blog posts, and conversations our teams are having with partners, we have shared the latest data and insights to inform strategies and help our partners continue connecting with travelers in these changing times. To aid in these efforts, we are offering $25 million in advertising relief to help capture and drive demand to destinations and $10 million in credits for eligible TravelAds accounts. Both of these programs are part of the larger Expedia Group effort to support our partners and the industry, as travelers around the world are exploring and booking their next trip.

To support the industry and help our partners navigate this crisis, we are continuing to share relevant insights that are based in our first party Expedia Group data and custom user research. Our focus earlier in this series was on sharing our insights and perspective from industry leaders and experts – including a variety of destination marketing organizations around the world and consultants like eMarketer and MMGY.

Based on data from many sources: the green shoots we are seeing in traveler demand around the world, our travel shopper data, and recent conversations with many of our partners, we know that a large number of you are ready to welcome visitors again. Those who aren’t quite ready to welcome travelers back are ready to begin raising awareness and driving consideration.

So, for our final webinar in the series, we made some suggestions as to how you might begin attracting travel shoppers when the time is right. We shared the latest traveler data and relevant best practices, as well as how our product team has evolved our offerings to help advertisers connect with travelers in these times.

The week over week change in travel searches around the world by region continues to shift due to international restrictions and seasonal trends. We also see that, since the latter half of July, domestic travel searches are stronger week over week, globally.

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While the data continues to demonstrate variances week to week, what has remained relatively consistent is that most searches are for 0-21 days out, so travelers are continuing to make more last-minute decisions.

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We also continue to track the findings from our Expedia Group user research (as we have done in previous webinars) and we can see that people are coming to our sites to dream about and book travel. Currently, the majority of our site visitors fall into a category we define as “practical risk takers.” These folks want to travel and trust themselves to make good decisions – which highlights the importance of providing the right information to help travelers make those decisions. Our research indicates that health, cleanliness and deals are important to travelers these days and is the information they’re looking for.

Our recent traveler sentiment study echoes those findings, showing that nearly half of leisure travelers turn to an OTA for inspiration and more than 70% for planning. Nearly 9 in 10 leisure travelers would use an OTA to book travel in this environment. The study also found that travelers are looking to stay close to home and are more likely to travel by car than by plane. We know that travel shoppers are gravitating toward off the beaten path locales and experiences that will help them avoid big crowds. Also, bookers are eager to know more about what attractions and activities are open for business.

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So, what does this all mean for you?

The pent-up demand and traveler intent is there, and there are many ways to connect with travelers in the right way to capture that demand.

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For instance, we released a new product to help inspire travelers to dream about their next destination. Travel Spotlights encompasses a variety of flexible solutions wrapped in highly visual and interactive content – from flowing narratives in the form of articles, to suggested itineraries and engaging quizzes. In the recovery environment, this native advertising approach is a great way to educate travelers on the activities and experiences your destination offers.

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We also help advertisers join forces to showcase their unique offerings and extend their marketing budgets via Co-Op Campaigns. Especially during these trying times, these customized Co-Op Campaigns can make a bigger impact than one advertiser would alone. They provide a platform for hotels, destinations, airlines, and activities to share a great deal of information via a custom page while also offering up immediate booking options.

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Our hotel advertising partners are also capturing and driving demand with our sponsored listing solution, TravelAds. TravelAds Sponsored Listings is a proven search advertising program that helps hotels reach highly qualified travel shoppers, boost room night production, and drive incremental revenue, all without needing to reduce average daily rate. Using TravelAds, hotels can reach shoppers at multiple points along their path to purchase with customizable, sponsored listings that appear alongside hotel and package search results and on hotel infosite pages. Hotels that are using TravelAds these days are customizing the images to highlight open spaces and cleanliness and are adjusting their ad copy to reflect their health and hygiene measures.

To learn more, I encourage you to listen to one of the three regionally relevant webinars: Watch the webinar that features examples of recovery campaigns from travel marketers in Europe and the Middle East, the webinar that features examples of from travel marketers in Asia Pacific, or the webinar that features examples from North America. We’re here to help you plan your recovery, so if you’d like to know more about any of our exclusive data and suite of solutions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Picture of Christine Walker Scarce, Director, Product & Sales Marketing, Expedia Group Media Solutions
Christine Walker Scarce
Director, Product & Sales Marketing, Expedia Group Media Solutions
Christine Walker Scarce leads the product marketing team at Expedia Group Media Solutions, overseeing the go-to-market strategies for the digital advertising products and services across the Expedia Group portfolio of leading travel brands. Her team is responsible for everything from product planning and positioning to marketing strategy to deliver innovative media offerings and reporting for marketing partners. Christine previously spent seven years at Expedia.com as the senior manager for destination management, where she led product strategy for Expedia.com. With more than 20 years in the marketing industry, Christine has experience in e-commerce, merchandising and technology industries, having led product strategy and development previously at Vegas.com and T-Mobile. She is a graduate from the University of Houston and lives in Seattle with her family.
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