Why TV Advertising is the Perfect Travel Companion

Having recently attended both the World Travel Market and Luxury Travel Fair to meet scores of fantastic exhibitors, we were struck by the enterprise, passion and creativity on show.

The union between TV and the travel industry is already well established of course, with Guerillascope alone representing over thirty brands that span airlines, cruises, tourist boards, resorts and travel insurance. Such companies succeed with TV because they appeal to our innate need for escape; to free ourselves from the drudgery of an often grey, concrete environment, the stresses of a pressurised job, and the monotony of day-to-day routines.

TV advertising is the perfect platform for businesses that deal in such aspirations. It permits advertisers to connect with viewers at an unmatchable level of depth, enabling the communication of stories brought to life by a potent multi-sensory concoction of sounds, visuals and words. Most of all, it compels viewers to engage and explore, with the dismantled barrier previously standing between television and online now distinguishing the former as the new point-of-sale medium.

Where We’re Going, What We’re Spending

According to research from Mintel, in the year ending October 2014, UK holidaymakers spent approximately £1,730 per adult on vacations. Overall, 49% of British holidaymakers spent at least £1,000 on getaways; 27% parted with a minimum of £2,000. Adults aged over 55 are the biggest spenders, with 35% dispensing with over £2,000, whilst 25-34s follow closely behind, with 31% spending in excess of the same amount.

Though ‘staycations’ have enjoyed a period of popularity over the past few years, overseas holidays are making a comeback, with economic growth, a downturn in the price of oil, low inflation and a robust Pound Sterling all catalysts in what has been a 7% drop in domestic holidays since their peak in 2009.

Package holidays abroad are enjoying a particular renaissance, with 60% of people who have taken one in the last year claiming to spend slightly more on higher quality experiences and extras. An additional 10% claim to actively seek luxury services and features. Of the people that did go on a domestic holiday in the last 12 months, 77% plan to do so again within the next year, with the cost of accommodation the most important factor in deciding their destination. 65% also believe that more should be done to improve the attractiveness of destinations outside of the London bubble.

The gradual recovery from 2008’s crash also now means that 28% of British holidaymakers are happy to pay extra to travel with brands they have a particular liking for, whilst 25% are open to upgrading to more premium products. 17% claim to be less influenced by discounts and special offers.

The Booking Journey

Across the travel industry in general, 76% of all holiday bookings were made via a laptop or desktop computer, with 14% emanating from a smartphone or tablet and 14% through the telephone. Of those bookings made via a laptop or desktop, the starting point of the transaction journey in 74% of cases was online research, though with 58% of UK adults claiming to multi-screen weekly, the role TV plays in instigating online brand interaction is becoming ever more clear.

Focusing on one specific area of the industry, 51% of all airline bookings made over the past year were made directly through the airline itself, with 61% of that figure coming through direct visits to websites, 24% from price comparison websites, 5% via the phone and just 4% through apps. Since 2010 airline bookings made in the UK have grown by approximately 18%, and are expected to grow by a further 15% over the next five years.

Mapping the TV Advertising Terrain

Whilst companies rooted in the travel industry naturally glean more interest as a result of their pleasure-laden offerings, we’re a savvy and hard to please population here in the UK; we want to trust the brands we’re using and be confident in the purchasing decisions we make. The onus is on businesses to stand out in a busy marketplace by getting both their creative and campaign strategy right.

Our own research shows that the winter months deliver the most search queries related to trips away, with the Christmas aftermath, January and February representing particularly fertile terrain amid a typically cold and wet backdrop, with another spike emanating in July as last-minute summer deals and prospective winter getaways slink into consideration.

The research also found that TV advertising campaigns positioned during the peak day parts (typically 17:30-23:00) provide the highest number of viewing figures and consequently a greater breadth of coverage. As we’ve discussed in our recent article on direct response TV, new research has found that spots scheduled in peak perform effectively as drivers of immediate response, with studies conducted by GroupM on behalf of Thinkbox also illustrating how website traffic tends to peak between 8pm and 10pm. Additionally, travel brands should upweight the majority of their airtime to weekdays, when TV viewers are more inclined to de-stress by engaging with brands, products and services that bring them self-gratification.

Ultimately, perhaps more than any other sector, TV advertising is made for the travel industry. It facilitates brands with the opportunity to create and share worlds that absorb television viewers and remove them from over-familiar surroundings. This quality is pivotal to triggering brand engagement; if a company is to succeed in building a rapport with potential customers that will eventually lead to sales, then it must accomplish the feat of demonstrating to a captive audience that theirs is a service or a product not only intrinsically linked, but vital to personal happiness.