Travel sector turbocharging Australian advertising spend

Advertising spend by the travel industry has increased 10.4% YOY for the month of July according to the latest figures from Standard Media Index (SMI).

THE strong result was largely down to significant growth from the subcategories of airlines, up 20.4%, and ocean cruising, which rose a massive 48% compared to July last year.

SMI accesses actual spend from media buying groups and uses the data to report on the advertising spend statistics across media categories as well as industry sectors.

The results come at a time when Australia is in the midst of a cost of living crisis, although there are greenshoots as well as demographics which are not as affected by the economic situation.

The Monthly Consumer Price Index Indicator has risen 4.9% in the last 12 months to July 2023, which represents a slowing of inflation.

Furthermore, the Reserve Bank of Australia decided to keep interest rates on hold for another month at its September meeting on Tuesday 06 September.

Chris Walton, Managing Director of Nunn Media which holds the media account for Silversea Cruises, explained that a “significant focus for the cruise segment in Australia” was the affluent retiree and was partly responsible for the substantial advertising spend.

“Brands at the luxury end of the market including Viking, Silversea, Scenic and Ponant typically have customers with an average age well into their 60s,” he told Travel Bulletin. “This cohort, with mortgages largely paid off, are to a large extent insulated from any cost-of-living crisis and have money to spend.”

He went on to say that “in the wake of COVID there remains an insatiable appetite amongst older, affluent Australians to travel, and to travel in style”.

Managing director and Co-founder of SMI APAC, Jane Ractliffe, told travelBulletin that the Travel category had so far grown ad spend 18% in 2023 as it continued to recover from the COVID downturn.

Overall, advertising spend was down -1.3% YOY in July, although it’s important to note that July 2022 was a record result.

The largest spending subcategory within Travel so far in 2023 has been the Domestic Tourism Agency market, but SMI figures show its spend is down -15% YOY by comparison to the last calendar year after it registered significant extra ad bookings in 2022 to promote local travel post COVID.

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