Travel Advertising: Where to Next?

Travel Advertising guide

2022 is the year of the goat.

No, not the Chinese Zodiac, but the latest trend in travel: GOAT, or the “Greatest Of All Trips.”

Basically, it goes like this. After more than two years of global pandemic and restricted travel, people everywhere are just itching to get away again. And after such a long hiatus, consumers are not content with modest vacations. Rather, 65% of survey respondents said they would “go big” with their travel plans this year, and book their extravagant dream vacation.

This is exciting news for travel marketers. The game is on again!

Digital Ad Spend in the Travel Industry: Flying higher

Compared to other verticals, like Retail and Consumer Packaged Goods, digital ad spend in the Travel sector remains low. However, it’s slowly creeping up again, forecast to reach $4.05 billion in 2022, and $4.54 billion in 2023 in the US. 

To be sure, this is well below the 2019 figure of $6.09 billion, but much higher than the $2.99 billion that was spent in 2020, during the height of COVID travel restrictions.

What does Outbrain data say about the travel industry?

While spend might be lower compared to 2019, Outbrain’s network has seen impressive growth in the travel sector, indicating that the industry is coming back with a vengeance. Outbrain data shows 133% increase in active travel marketers this year compared to 2020, and a greater number of travel campaigns in the first half of 2022 than all of 2021. 

Travel marketers in the US are running 155% more campaigns since 2020, and the international market is booming too.

Outbrain data from Australia shows an increase of 589% in travel campaigns, and Germany is seeing a 205% increase in spend for travel marketers this year compared to the start of the pandemic. Based on these trends, Outbrain is hopeful for travel to return to pre-pandemic levels in the near future.

Alongside the growth of travel marketing campaigns is the consumer appetite to get away on vacation, and to experience the “GOAT” trip.  

In just the first half of 2022, Outbrain saw almost as many clicks on content from travel campaigns as in all of 2020. Some of the top once-in-a-lifetime destinations that consumers are interested in include the Maldives, Spain, Greece, Thailand, Japan, and Australia.

Consumers still have concerns about travel, namely continued health and safety issues, rising costs and gas prices, and travel disruptions and delays. These are all probably part of the reason why the travel sector has not yet completely returned to pre-pandemic levels.  Content on Outbrain’s network mentioning travel delays garnered a 600% increase in page views from May to June. On the other hand, interest in air travel doesn’t seem to be impacted: click through rates related to air travel on the Outbrain network increased 84% in the past 30 days compared to the prior month.

If the Super Bowl commercial lineup this year is anything to go by, then the Outbrain data forecast is correct! Travel advertisers made a strong comeback, buying some of the most coveted advertising spots of the year. Check out the hugely popular 2022 Super Bowl ad by featuring Idris Elba:

Need more inspiration for your travel advertising strategy? Check out this roundup of actionable content around the travel vertical to get your campaigns moving.

Native Advertising Travel Campaign Tips

How do you plan your vacations? Let’s take a guess. You visit travel websites, read blogs and articles (“Top 10 Things to Do in Peru”), create an outline for your perfect itinerary, and then have some fun putting in different dates and destinations on travel booking websites to see how much it will all cost.

This is what’s known as “discovery”. When consumers are browsing online, reading and researching, they are in discovery mode, and are open to learning about new products, services and deals. 

Here’s a fascinating stat for you: 44% of experiences that internet users have with travel content start with no destination in mind. That means, nearly half of travel consumers browsing online don’t even know where they plan to have their vacation! For travel marketers, this is an incredible opportunity to grab consumer attention when they are looking for new discoveries and experiences. Native advertising is a great way to do this, because it is specially designed to attract potential customers when they are in this discovery mode. So be sure to check out our Native Advertising Travel Campaign Tips.

Best Native Ad Examples

Considering native ads for your travel campaign? Take a look at our annual roundup of best native ad examples from around the web – there are some travel ads there to inspire you too.

5 Success-Driven Push Notifications for Travel App Users

Travel apps are growing in popularity, despite the effects of the pandemic. In May to August 2021, there were over 1.1 billion downloads of travel and navigation apps, with Google Maps, Uber and taking the top three positions.


If we’re talking about apps, then we need to talk about push notifications. Push notifications are an effective marketing tool, increasing app retention rates by 3-10X. Given the high app usage among travel consumers, travel marketers should definitely consider upping their push notifications game. Take a look at our tactics for engaging travel app users with push notifications along their vacation-planning journey.

How Travel Brands Can Boost Business With Native Ads This Summer

Yes, content marketing is still king, but the difference today is that content takes many more forms than it once did. Travel brands don’t have to resort to boring keyword-stuffed blog posts; those days are long over. According to HubSpot, the main content types that marketers use today are videos, blogs, images and infographics. For travel consumers, engaging the senses by creating an immersive content experience is even more important, and you can definitely gain exposure and reach of your travel content with native ads. 

Why not leverage native advertising at key periods in the year leading up to the big vacation season? Read this article about using native ads to boost your travel business before the summer holidays. 

The Quick Content Marketing Kit for Travel Brands Looking to Stand Out

Brand awareness is hard. Standing out is a challenge. Content is one of the key tools travel brands can use to differentiate themselves from their competitors. Take a look at how Iceland achieved nearly €140 million in extra revenue with their “Inspired by Iceland” content campaign following the infamous eruption of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano in 2010. 

Learn some quick tips to maximize the impact of your travel-related content.

Best Practices for Gen Z Vacation Advertising Campaigns

Travel is a popular activity across all consumer age groups. Baby boomers in the post-retirement phase of life have the free time and budget to enjoy travel, while Gen Z have the young adventurous spirit, even if their budgets are lower…

According to a survey reported by Statista, 83% of Europeans aged 55 and older intend to go on a short vacation domestically or in Europe in the next six months, compared to 68% for Gen Z.

Gen Z loves to vacay though, spending an average of 29 days on vacation, coming in second only to Millenials who spend an average of 35 days a year vacationing.

And speaking of Gen Z, spring break is a great reason for travel businesses in the US to increase their marketing activities and ad spend, especially online where Gen Z spends at least 8 hours every day!

Take a look at these best practices to get more from your spring break advertising campaigns. And use them to inspire all major vacation periods, and the upcoming holiday season!

Travel Native Advertising Campaigns: Case by Case

Discover how native advertising has helped travel brands boost awareness, drive conversions and increase revenue.

VisitDenmark: 3000% increase in landing page visits

VisitDenmark used native video to promote travel to Odense, home of Hans Christian Andersen.

Take me there

Switzerland Tourism: 75% viewability rates

Switzerland Tourism relaunched post-pandemic activities with in-article native ads to boost engagement.

Check me in

Transavia Airlines: 20% lower Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) than other channels

Transavia Airlines identified and acquired new audiences with Outbrain native traffic.

Destination: native!

Expand your travel marketing strategy with native advertising.

Launch your Campaign!

Create full funnel campaigns that drive real business results.

Start Now