December 1, 2023

Travel Leads the Way in Digital Ad Spend Growth

By Jay Bemis | Advertising Systems Inc.
Black Friday, Shop Local Saturday and Cyber Monday, move over: Travel Tuesday is becoming an equal among the key players in Cyber Week madness.

For holiday shoppers, this week’s Travel Tuesday was a timely opportunity to book 2024 trips and find great savings on flights, hotels and cruises, whether for themselves or others on their holiday shopping lists.

But for marketers, it also was a time to marvel at the rebound that the travel industry has made since the COVID-19 pandemic — and the dollars that the industry is now planning to spend on digital advertising in the years ahead.

Travel’s digital ad spending is projected to grow to $7.9 billion in 2024 and roughly $8.8 billion in 2025 — the latter figure nearly doubling the $4.8 billion that travel companies spent on digital ads in 2021.

What Is Travel Tuesday?

Travel Tuesday actually made its debut as part of Cyber Week in 2016, designed to fall the day after Cyber Monday. But the commemorative day particularly has gained popularity the past couple of years as pandemic-weary Americans have started flocking to the nation’s airports and roadways again.

Travel Tuesday 2023 has featured such flight deals as Hawaiian Airlines offering one-way flights to Hawaii from California for as low as $94, such hotel-stay bargains as 20-percent-off (via, and such sea-time ventures as up to 40% off cruises with $500 in onboard credit from MSC Cruises — all deals that have been cited by Condé Nast Traveler this past week.

And, though Tuesday has passed, there’s still time to jump aboard some still-lingering Travel Tuesday deals, such as Princess Cruises offering up to 50%-off cruise fares and 50%-off deposits on voyages 45 days or less, through Dec. 12, according to Condé Nast.

“It’s time to plan that much-needed 2024 trip while prices are still as low as they’ll be for the next year,” the publication said.

It added, with a tinge of Cyber Week marketing excitement and foreseen opportunity: “Snap up these jaw-dropping Travel Tuesday opportunities before they’re gone — some of which are from Readers’ Choice Award–winning hotels and cruise lines.”

Why Travel Leads the Way in Digital-Ad Growth 

There’s reason for Condé Nast and other marketers nationwide to be optimistic about the travel industry’s post-pandemic rebound and its projected digital-ad spending in years ahead. As noted earlier, that spending is projected to grow to $7.9 billion in 2024 and nearly $8.8 billion in 2025, compared to $4.8 billion actually spent in ‘21, all according to a recent eMarketer report.

“Travel’s ad spending collapse in 2020 opened the door for a massive rebound that’s still ongoing,” eMarketer said. “Among the 10 industries we track, travel is by far the smallest, but it’s set to lead the pack in growth for the third year in a row.”

Travel’s ad spending growth for 2023 will be 14.3% by end of year, totaling almost $6.8 billion and topping such larger industries as retail at 12.2%, health care/pharma at 10.8%, automotive at 10% and entertainment at 7.9%, according to eMarketer’s forecasts.

The forecast also noted that travel favors search ads over display advertising, planning to spend $3.92 billion of its collective $6.8 billion ad spend in ’23 on search marketing.

“Consumers continue to lean into experiences over goods, and marketers continue to respond,” eMarketer said of the country’s contemporary yearn to travel.

“Despite the high cost of travel in 2023 and jittery economic sentiments, US consumers are in line to spend on travel at record levels this year. Travel service providers have responded to this demand by upping their ad spending more quickly than any other industry.”

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