By Martin Kelly, Editor, Travel Trends

7-travelNEW evidence suggests travel in general – airlines and hotels in particular – are bumping their overall online ad spend to shift empty seats and beds while other industries pull back on marketing. Accommodation has experienced the sharpest increase with online display ad spend more than doubling in the nine months to March 31.

Interactive Advertising Bureau of Australia research shows that the accommodation industry invested A$2.2m on display ads for the March quarter, compared with just over A$1m for the July 2008 quarter. Display ad spend for ‘flights’ was up about 10% – A$3.34m in the March quarter compared with A$2.99m last July. Car hire also experienced good growth while ‘holiday packages/agents’ fell.

The IAB says no industry breakout figures are available for Search ad spend, though it seems reasonable to assume that the overall trend has continued. In general terms the IAB research showed that Search was strong, classifieds weak, display ok. The IAB estimates Australian businesses invested A$440m in online advertising during the March quarter – 14% more than the previous year.

Search and Directories, now the biggest category, was up 23% (A$225m), Display 16% (A$110m), while the classified sector fell 1% to A$105m. Encouraging results but the picture’s not so pretty when comparing March with the December quarter, revealing a 5% overall drop.

Paul Fisher, CEO of IAB Australia, commented: “Much will be made of the decline in revenues from Q4, but it’s important to note that historically Q1 online advertising revenues are always either flat or lower than Q4 in the online advertising industry.”

And he warned: “Continued economic pressure on some of the key advertising industry sectors notably automotive, financial services, travel, and in the classifieds sector real estate, employment and automotive, resulted in these sectors dampening the previous rate of growth.

“However, the industry is well placed to continue its strong, double digit growth for many quarters to come, especially when the Australian advertising industry begins its recovery from the current downturn.”

Travel Trends: May 11, 2009

Online travel sites are one of the best markets for utilizing an interactive advertising agency that understand consumer behavior and excels at both paid and organic search as well as other forms of internet marketing.


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