Where is the Travel & Hospitality Industry Today?

April 20, 2022

Travel and hospitality industry demand has roared back, with some airlines reporting the highest ticket sales in their history. According to TSA data, US passenger traffic has averaged about 89% of the pre-pandemic levels since mid-February. Some airlines have even reported the highest ticket sales in their history. There’s only one problem…

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While demand is up, so are airfares, gas prices, potentially room rates, and car rental rates. All the while a staffing shortage continues to plague many businesses. Jet fuel prices have skyrocketed by more than 30% in the last month, a cost many carriers have decided to pass on to their customers, with average fares climbing by as much as 100% compared to 2021. According to ABC News, gas is averaging $4.08 per gallon in the US. This could be one of the most tumultuous summers for travel and the hospitality industry ever.

Check out what’s new for these six travel and hospitality industry brands ahead of the big summer travel surge:

1)  Hawaiian Airlines promotes top marketer

Hawaiian Airlines promoted Avi Mannis to chief marketing and communications officer. Mannis joined the company in 2007 as senior director of transformation and worked his way up to marketing SVP in 2014. He will now be responsible for brand, product, customer experience, direct sales, marketing, loyalty, and communications.

The airline is targeting millennials and Gen-Zers as it allocates the majority of its marketing budget toward digital channels. This year, it placed the majority of its ads directly onto social media sites Instagram and Facebook, which are very popular among these demographics. It does utilize national TV ads, just rather sparingly compared to digital ads. Hawaiian Airlines also invests in OOH, print, radio, and local broadcast TV ads.

2)  Expedia taps new marketing leaders amid TV spend increase

Expedia appointed Rob Torres as media solutions SVP this month. Torres came from Google, where, as a travel managing director, he was responsible for $4b in global marketing revenue. His hire could affect Expedia’s strategy, so keep an eye out for shifts in its spend and/or agency roster. It’s also important to note the company is strongly focused on Expedia for Business; it named Cheryl Miller as SVP and CMO of this brand in January 2022. Miller had previously served as CMO at Promethean.

The hospitality industry company tends to target Gen-Z, but its increasing TV spending and reliance on podcast ads, paired with its dropping digital spending, shows a shift to millennials and Gen-X. Remember, its TV commercials particularly target men, and it’s also focused on targeting businesses.

3)  Travel & Hospitality Opp: Visit Philadelphia kicks off spring 2022 campaign

Visit Philadelphia just launched its spring 2022 campaign. The tagline, “Pack Light. Plan Big. For Philly,” is a continuation of the campaign we told you about last year. The budget is reportedly $2m, with 47% going towards local markets, and 53% going towards cities such as New York, Washington, D.C., and Baltimore. It will be supported by OOH, print, digital and social media. The push features one TV spot that will air on Comcast. The creative will promote the educational opportunities in Philadelphia, which leads me to believe it is targeting parents. The campaign is set to run into the summer, so reach out soon to offer ad space.

The city’s tourism board most likely targets Gen-X and millennial parents looking for a destination to take their families. It allocates the majority of its marketing budget toward digital display ads, and this year, it placed the majority of these ads directly onto Facebook. Furthermore, it has been ramping spending back up after it cut down during the beginning of Covid.

4)  Universal Parks & Resorts shifts strategy to reach incoming influx of young visitors

Xiomara Wiley, the marketing EVP of Universal Parks & Resorts, recently revealed details regarding the company’s post-pandemic marketing approach. The company is leveraging storytelling and immersive experiences to attract more Gen-Z parents to its parks and resort. They’re starting to ramp up these efforts to prepare for an expected influx of visitors to Florida this summer. 

Universal primarily targets Gen-Z right now, which could lead it to utilize additional digital channels such as OTT and/or podcasts. According to Kantar data, the company also invests in print, OOH, radio, and local broadcast.

5)  Travel & Hospitality Opp: Oceania Cruises hires former DM to lead marketing

Oceania Cruises hired Frank Del Rio as chief sales and marketing officer. Del Rio was formerly an SVP at Oceania Cruises, making this his second stint with the company. He will now be responsible for global sales and marketing. This hire will affect the company’s marketing strategy and could lead to agency reviews, so keep an eye out here.

The cruise line appears to be targeting Gen-Xers and millennials through digital display ads. The company has been ramping digital spending up for a couple of years. It has not utilized national TV ads much over the past couple of years, but I would not be surprised if Del Rio decided to allocate more dollars towards the channel, considering its target audience. Sellers should start contacting the new marketing leader to find out more about his plans so that you can offer relevant ad space.

6)  Travel & Hospitality Opp: Visit Milwaukee appoints new marketing leader

Visit Milwaukee hired Joshua Albrecht as marketing and communications VP earlier this year. Albrecht joins from Discover Peoria, where he served as CMO. In his new role, Albrecht will oversee strategy development and operations. VM’s marketing, communications, and digital departments will all report to Albrecht. Keep an eye on VM because this hire could lead to spending shifts or agency reviews.

The city’s tourism board targets a wide range of potential visitors through digital display ads. It significantly increased spending in 2021, and it has continued ramping spending up so far this year. VM most likely targets Gen-X and millennial parents looking for a place to take a family vacation. Get in touch with the new VP for more information because he will likely implement some new strategies, and he may experiment with additional marketing channels.

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If you liked this blog post, check out:

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  3. You Found a Sales Opportunity, But What Next?

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