Travel brands’ Super Bowl plans, future marketing strategies as demand softens

Chasing the waterfall

Some travel and tourism brands—including Alaska Airlines and Priceline—are skipping national Super Bowl ad buys in favor of a more targeted approach, including regional buys, pre-and post-game spots, brand partnerships and market activations. Compagnone dubbed this as tapping into the “waterfall effect” of the Big Game, in a reference to the massive amount of attention it gets.

“The travel industry at its core is finding more targeted, less cost prohibitive methods in advertising and marketing more broadly, but specifically around the Super Bowl,” Compagnone said.

Booking.com is returning to the Super Bowl for the second year in a row in continuation of its Booking.yeah campaign. The online travel agency, which is owned by Booking Holdings and counts Kayak, Priceline and Open Table as sibling brands, will work with creative agency Zulu Alpha Kilo for the first time. While online travel agencies such as rival Expedia are well known in the U.S., Booking.com, which started in Europe, has to play catch-up here. Booking Holdings Executive VP and Chief Financial Officer David Goulden spoke about this recently at an investor conference.

“In the U.S., we still recognize, whilst we’re gaining lots of share, we have some brand awareness [to] try and build,” he said, according to a transcript, noting that the brand is now spending more on awareness marketing in the U.S. than it has historically. He also said that last year’s Super Bowl spot, which starred actor Idris Elba and heralded a yearlong campaign, generated “decent” results in terms of awareness and financials.

“For them to continue brand-building for a U.S. audience might make sense,” said Sileo about Booking.com’s Super Bowl spot.  

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