Connected TV

Travel is Back on Track with Connected TV

MNTN and WBR Discuss the Post-COVID Boom for Travel Brands

Travel is Back on Track with Connected TV

4 Min Read

The last few years have been a wild and memorable time for everyone. While every business was affected in some unforeseen way, no vertical was likely impacted more than that travel. Lockdowns and quarantines sent everyone, including the jetsetters and sightseers, into their homes, as the travel industry struggled to stay afloat, and it seemed like the industry would never recover.

What a difference a few years make. Today the travel industry is white-hot, with summer travel reaching $95 billion and 7 in 10 Americans planning leisure trips this year. To help travel brands navigate this exciting—and lucrative—post-COVID wave, MNTN and Worldwide Business Research interviewed senior travel marketers to see what they’re strategies they’re using to find success.

Tim Edmundson, Director of Content & Research at MNTN, recently joined WBR to discuss the findings and give actionable insights to travel brands looking to maximize this opportunity. If you missed it, a full webinar recording can be found here—or you can keep reading for a high-level recap of just a few of the best practices Edmundson shared.

Consumer Behaviors Have Changed Forever

The COVID years forever changed a lot of our behaviors as both marketers and consumers. Technology and trends accelerated by about five years on the timeline, and quarantines and isolation resulted in the widescale adoption of emerging technologies. Edmundson pointed to the example of online ordering. “Online ordering is where the trend line was going, but COVID fast-tracked it. eCommerce habits are locked in now, and they’re not going anywhere,” he noted. “The same goes for streaming TV. It’s on-demand. It’s high-quality. The ad experience is better and more minimal. A lot more people changed their TV viewing habits in the last two years, and that’s great news for travel marketers.”

Edmundson explained that travel marketing works best when it’s giving an audio-visual experience—showcasing stunning vistas and scenery—rather than static images or text ads. That’s a feature that linear TV can deliver—but it might feel like a step backward for digitally-minded marketers. “There’s a certain prestige to TV,” admitted Edmundson. “But we live in a digital world, and the travel industry got used to measurement and tracking of ads. Linear TV can’t provide that. But CTV can.”

CTV is Bigger Than Ever for Travel Brands

It’s that marriage of linear TV’s storytelling and digital marketing’s targeting and measurement causing travel brands to double down on CTV. In our polling with WBR, we found that travel marketers are drawn to the platform and are learning to rely on it heavily. Respondents told us that they’re already seeing success from leveraging CTV, and have even bigger plans for it in 2023:

  • 66% say CTV ads play a significant role in their travel marketing strategy over the next 12 months
  • 70% say they current run CTV ads to reach travel customers – compared to 61% that run linear
  • 82% say they can effectively tie success and specific goals (revenue, website visits, etc.) back to their CTV ads

“If you’re a travel brand, CTV is a great avenue for immersing people in your message and displaying your value,” said Edmundson. He pointed to the fact that 86% of customers interested in travel watch CTV, and 77% watch ad-supported channels, meaning there’s a built-in audience for travel brands—and CTV’s targeting capabilities finds them. “CTV’s audience-first approach reaches the right audience,” said Edmundson, and that means less wasted media impressions. 

“Media buys aren’t connected to specific programming; they’re made based on what the audience watches,” said Edmundson. The result is no guesswork on when and what your target demographic is watching—the ad always finds its intended recipient, based on the audience segments you choose.

CTV in Action: The Campspot Success Story

As an example of CTV’s success for travel brands, Edmundson pointed to an MNTN case study featuring Campspot. The brand, a premier travel booking site for campgrounds, RV resorts, glamping, and more, was looking to run a campaign for the peak summer travel season. Their goal? Build brand awareness as a new challenger brand while holding themselves to high ROAS goals. Campspot had their work cut out for them. Besides being a new brand, COVID and rising gas prices were negatively affecting them and increasing the pressure to “catch up.”

The Campspot team quickly zeroed in on CTV, and MNTN’s Performance TV platform, to help them reach their objectives. Together, Campspot and MNTN ran multiple campaigns—including prospecting and retargeting ads—to find and convert their target audiences. 

The result? The brand outperformed its aggressive goals on every level:

You can read more of Campspot’s experience here.

It’s Not the End of the Line Yet

Edmundson covered a lot more in his discussion with WBR, including stats on how senior travel marketers are updating their ad strategies, ways brands can use Connected TV to stay one step ahead in a competitive market, and what new tactics and tools have emerged post-COVID.  Click here to watch the full recording of Have Ad, Will Travel: Why CTV is The Window to the World for Jetsetters.