Topics & themes

Research on advertising’s larger topics and themes from audience attention to measuring effectiveness.

Sector report: Travel

Our ancestors travelled by foot, their successors took to the seas, then came the railroad and eventually we took to the skies. Whether we’re going on holiday, migrating in search of new homes or embarking on gap years, it is clear humans have an innate curiosity. We have a desire to explore that has kept us moving throughout history, crossing frontiers and discovering new environments.

Taking time off is what most of us look forward to the most, with Google searches for flights and holidays peaking in the first week of January according to Google Trends. However the travel sector has faced its share of challenges in recent times, with Brexit negotiations dominating the headlines and airlines filing for bankruptcy, more Britons are leaning towards holidays closer to home. In fact, almost half of Britons (23.9 million) took a staycation in the last 12 months.

Travel editorial is a key part of newsbrands across all platforms and readers still rely on newsbrands for inspiration and ideas. According to the latest TGI Clickstream survey, a quarter of 18-34s say that newspapers and magazine articles on holiday and travel influence their choice of holiday.

We know that newspapers are highly effective in the media mix: Benchmarketing’s analysis of econometric models shows that adding print newsbrands to a travel campaign increases effectiveness by three times.

Analysis of RAMetrics data shows that, from a creative perspective, travel ads could be involving readers a whole lot more, they are less impactful (61% ad recall) than ads across all categories (70% ad recall) and as a result they score below average across all brand measures. However, understandably, not everyone is in the market for a holiday at all times, so how about those are?

When noticed, print ads for travel score particularly well for likeability (46% vs 39% for all ad across all categories), they are more appealing (48% vs 38% for all ad across all categories) and more interesting (50% vs 40% for all ad across all categories) – recognisers are also more likely to think that the brand has taken a fresh approach (51% vs 43% for all ad across all categories).

Lumen eye-tracking shows that readers’ viewing is biased towards right-hand pages of a spread and adverts on the right are seen more: 94% see full-page ads on right-hand pages, 89% view when on left-hand page. RAMetrics confirms these findings for travel advertisers, with some exceptions, such as ad recall where both sides come out equally strong (59%). Taking a closer look at some brand metrics, ads on the right-hand side are more likely to be recognised by readers (familiarity: 33% vs 37% for right-hand side ads) and tend to be more engaging (fresh approach: 29% vs 32% for right-hand side ads).

Image-based advertising tends to have more of an emotional impact, whereas price-based advertising is more effective at prompting action. For the travel sector, price-based ads are more common than image-based ads, despite image-based ads being more impactful (61% vs 54% for price-based ads). Image based ads demand more attention (25% vs 17% for price-based ads) and score higher for familiarity (38% vs 26% for price-based ads). Readers also find them more interesting (33% vs 23% for price-based ads), easier to understand (41% vs 36% for price-based ads) and are more likely to recommend the brand/product advertised (27% vs 17% for price-based ads).

So what about different income groups? How do readers earning below £30,000 per annum (low-earners) and readers earning above £30,000 per annum (high-earners), respond to travel ads in newspapers? It turns out that both groups are equally likely to notice the ads (ad recall: 62%), however, high-earners score significantly better across brand and action measures, they are more likely to pay attention (46% vs 32% for low-earners) and more likely to be familiar with the brand or product being advertised (64% vs 51% for low-earners).

When it comes to age, young people (18-34s) score significantly higher than the over 35s across all brand measures, especially when it comes to having an emotional response (81% vs 21% for 35+). They’re more likely to recognise the branding (51% vs 46% for 35+), and they like the ads more too (68% vs 42% for 35+).

Next let’s take a look at how young peoples’ responses to travel advertising in print stack up against their responses to print ads in other categories. When compared against all the category averages, travel print ads have lower impact (76% recall) than ads across all categories (83% recall) for 18-34s.

However they score significantly higher across all brand metrics. They provide the reader with new information (76% vs 61% for all ad across all categories) and evoke emotions (81% vs 41% for all ad across all categories). They even deliver on action; in fact 18-34s are more likely to recommend (60% vs 46% for all ad across all categories) and discuss the products and brands seen in the print travel ads (36% vs 24% for all ad across all categories).

Looking specifically at digital, it’s interesting to note that ads for the travel sector are just as noticeable as digital ads for other categories on newspaper sites. However they are less engaging and readers find them less appealing (11% vs 13% for all ad across all categories). Their strength lies in driving hard metrics which are more action orientated, such as encouraging visits to the advertiser (13% vs 7% for all ad across all categories) and encouraging consumers to look for more information (11% vs 8% for all ad across all categories).

View more RAMetrics insight

Download .PPTX (.33mb)Sector report: Travel

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