Online travel giants increased marketing spend in 2021

Marketing spend by major online travel agencies skyrocketed in 2021, to coincide with the easing of travel restrictions in their core markets.

The amounts spent on various forms of advertising activities are not at the same levels as in 2019, it is understandable, but tried and trusted methods are back in fashion.

Reserve creditsoperator of the Booking.com, Kayak, Agoda and Priceline brands, spent $3.8 billion on marketing in 2021, compared to $2.2 billion during the 2020 pandemic.

The company revealed that a record $4.98 billion was used for its marketing strategy in 2019.

In the last quarter of 2021, traditionally one of the quarters of a calendar year, Booking Holdings spent some $974 million on marketing, a significant jump from $386 million in the corresponding quarter of 2020.

Its closest comparable competitor in the field of online travel agencies, Expedia Groupalso increased its marketing spend in 2021.

In fact, it topped Booking Holdings by around $300 million during the year to $4.1 billion, a 66% increase over the previous 12 months ($2.5 billion in 2020 ).

The group, which counts Vrbo, Expedia, Trivago and Travelocity in its portfolio of brands, also hit a company record of $6 billion in marketing spend in 2019.

Travel Marketing Priorities and Competition

The two giants of the online travel industry in the Western Hemisphere have been singled out in recent months by campaigners for a more sustainable travel industry, with figures like Jeremy Sampson of The Travel Foundation saying their marketing budgets could be better spent in green initiatives.

At this point, Expedia Group and Booking Holdings don’t seem to show any signs of heeding that advice, given the marked increases in their advertising spend in 2021.

Elsewhere, AirbnbEfforts to capture the early stages of the recovery period in 2021 have seen it spend a record amount on marketing.

The accommodation and business brand reached $1.9 billion in the 12-month period, up from £1.2 billion in 2020 and $1.6 billion in 2019.

Airbnb has battled against the strategies of its peers at Booking Holdings and Expedia Group, eschewing the performance marketing tactics they favor on Google, but its brand advertising efforts elsewhere — particularly in mainstream media. public and YouTube – are not negligible either.

Trip.com Groupoperator of the Ctrip, Skyscanner and Trip.com brands, saw its marketing spend in 2021 increase 12% year-over-year to $772 million.

The Shanghai, China-based company, which has seen a solid increase in travel in its domestic business but international restrictions remain an obstacle to a full recovery, is still far behind its $1.3 billion marketing figure in 2019.

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