Buckle Up Travel and Hospitality Brands: Four Key Insights to Help Your Advertising Campaigns Take Flight

By Tanzil Bukhari, Managing Director EMEA at DoubleVerify (https://doubleverify.com)

While every industry has been rocked by the pandemic, few have been more impacted than the travel and hospitality sector. Lockdowns and travel restrictions dropped hotel occupancies in Europe by 90 per cent and flights by 80 per cent in May 2020, compared with the previous year.

With vaccines rolling out, many are dreaming of attending live events or taking a much needed holiday either within the UK or abroad as restrictions are slowly lifting. In fact,TUI reported that bookings for foreign trips jumped 500 per cent overnight following the unveiling of the ‘out of lockdown’ roadmap earlier this year.

With recovery on the horizon, travel and hospitality brands are ramp- ing up media activity. However, to re-engage consumers, build and maintain their trust, and run their media campaigns at peak performance, brands must be conscious of how the advertising landscape has changed. Tanzil Bukhari, Managing Director EMEA at DoubleVerify provides four insights to help travel and hospitality brands drive the most performance and value from campaigns in the year ahead as they set out on the road to recovery.

1. EMBRACE CONSUMERS’ APPETITE FOR CON- TENT, BUT LOOK TO VIDEO AND DON’T RELY ON ONE CHANNEL

According to our global study, online content consumption has sky- rocketed with the average consumer spending an additional 3 hours 7 minutes each day viewing content during the pandemic, doubling overall digital content consumption versus the previous year.The most significant increases are across social media and connected TV (CTV), with nearly one in two (48%) spending more time on social platforms and 44 per cent using CTV devices more.

Travel and hospitality brands must therefore look towards these channels to find and engage their audiences. CTV and social are key in the travel sector, given they are a natural home for video content, which 65 per cent of consumers rely on when booking a trip.

2.TACKLE FRAUD TO PREVENT AD SPEND GOING DOWN THE DRAIN

Fraud continues to be a concern for digital advertisers, and worryingly, the travel and hospitality industry is a particular target.We found a 20 per cent higher post-bid fraud rate for travel and hospitality advertisers compared with all other major industries between January 2020 and January 2021, as highlighted in our new Hospitality and Travel Guide.

One of the biggest drivers of these fraud rates is bot fraud—which imitates legitimate traffic, inflating overall impression volumes. In fact, bots perpetrated more than two-thirds of the overall video fraud across travel and hospitality—the highest rate of all verticals.

To combat fraud, travel and hospitality brands cannot rely on premium media placements alone. An objective third party can help verify, detect and protect against all manner of fraud within their media buys such as identifying Sophisticated Invalid Traffic (SIVT). That way, brands can secure better ROI, see the wood from the trees and know how their campaign is actually performing—without fraud blurring the lines.

3.WHILE CONSUMERSARE OPENTO NEWADS, BRAND SUITABILITY NEEDS CONSIDERATION

Our global study also found that 44 per cent of consumers have tried a new brand due to spotting a relevant ad during the pandemic. However, while consumers are open to new experiences, brand safety and suitability has also transformed in the past year. Brands are demanding greater nuance in how they apply brand safety settings, and want to ensure they balance protection with their desire to scale.As a result, verification providers have increased the sophistication levels of their tools to offer greater granularity, and to give advertisers the opportunity to select the sites, apps, sections and even individual pages they are comfortable running ads on, thereby ensuring ads appear alongside relevant, safe, content.

Brand suitability is a significant concern for travel and hospitality brands as our data showed that compared with the average rate seen across other verticals, travel advertisers saw an 82 per cent higher brand suitability violation rate than other verticals between January 2020 and January 2021. Even with stringent brand safety and suitability settings in place, having strong protection is especially crucial for those brands that are catering to younger audiences and families. In particular, navigating the increase in inflammatory rhetoric and misinformation can be a mine- field when protecting your brand but it must be tackled to avoid long- term reputational damage and/or a loss in sales.

Nuanced brand suitability strategies are therefore more vital than ever to maintain brand equity while driving opportunities to connect with audiences. Implementing a best-practice brand suitability profile and leveraging brand safety tools, such as inclusion/exclusion lists, semantic category avoidance, custom brand categories, keyword lists and excep- tions can enable scale without sacrificing safety.They can even eliminate spend on blocked impressions: one well-known hospitality brand that leveraged DV’s programmatic solution saw an 80 per cent decrease in their overall block rate, saving around 15 per cent in media budget by avoiding non-brand safe inventory pre-bid.

4. BE PRIVACY-FRIENDLY BY CONSIDERING CONTEXTUAL TARGETING

As a result of a shifting regulatory landscape and heightened scrutiny on privacy practices, advertisers in all sectors—including travel and hospitality—are demanding a privacy-friendly approach to targeting and measurement.There are several solutions being advanced by ad tech providers—from cohorts to universal ad IDs.

One such solution is contextual targeting, which looks to place ads alongside relevant content rather than target based on individual preferences.With 69 per cent of consumers more likely to look at an ad if it is relevant to the content they’re reading. Contextual targeting may be a great way to reach consumers looking to book their next getaway.

With today’s semantic science technology, contextual targeting goes beyond keyword analysis, allowing brands to reach in-market audiences with timely and relevant ads. It does this by classifying the contextual meaning of content at the page level, and placing this into industry-standardised categories as well as seasonal, in-market and dynamic segments. For example, this enables a travel brand to choose from categories like “Summer Holidays,” “Travel Tips,” “Road Trips,” and much more—keeping ads relevant, without the need for consumer data.

With consumers looking ahead to the summer, both this and next year, it’s time for brands to meet the pent-up demand for travel and event content from new and existing audiences.These four insights will help travel and hospitality brands buckle up for safety as their advertising campaigns take off.