Last year, several travel brands bet big on the Super Bowl with Turkish Airlines, Expedia and Booking.com splurging on national in-game ads in an effort to boost market share.
This year, however, the landscape looks different. As consumers grapple with rising prices on everyday essentials, leisure travel is facing a slowdown. Most players in the category are foregoing a nearly $7 million Super Bowl media buy in favor of a more measured marketing approach to the Big Game. To date, only one travel brand—Booking.com—has confirmed an ad buy in the Feb. 12 game, and Turkish and Expedia have confirmed they are out. While more travel brands could still jump in, experts are suggesting the investment might not be worth the cost this year.
“It doesn’t make for an efficient spend for most travel brands,” said Craig Compagnone, president and chief operating officer of travel marketing firm MMGY Global, specifying the hefty price tag associated with a 30-second spot. “There is a travel industry now more focused on segmentation and driving very specific markets because of the softness in leisure demand.”
Of course, not buying national airtime in the Feb. 12 game on Fox doesn’t mean travel brands are pulling back on overall advertising—quite the contrary. Most data reveals that media spend remains on the rise, following the pandemic plummets of 2020 and early 2021. In November, travel advertisers spent 30% more than in November 2021 on U.S media bookings, including TV, digital, OTT, out-of-home, print and radio, according to ad spend data compiled by Standard Media Index. The jump represents the best year on record since 2017, and follows a 9% year-over-year gain in October.