Travel Ad Spending Rose in ’08

As most top industries cut their ad budgets in 2008, the travel and hospitality industry saw its ad spend increase 4 percent, according to an analysis by the Nielsen Co. All told, the industry spent $3.9 billion in total advertising across 16 media last year.

“In a year where ad spending declined across the board, it’s refreshing to see travel and hospitality companies were expanding their reach to consumers,” said Annie Touliatos, vp, sales development at Monitor-Plus, Nielsen’s ad tracking service. “It shows the confidence they have that Americans are still looking to travel even in this down economy.”

Southwest Airlines led all advertisers in the industry with $191.6 million in media expenditures in 2008 — 20 percent more than its total spend the previous year.

Intercontinental Hotels — the parent company of Holiday Inn — showed the largest growth among the top-10 category advertisers, upping its ad budget 29 percent to $80.3 million.

Hotels and resorts spent more than any other product category within the industry. Its $1.4 billion in media buys represented almost 40 percent of the total industry’s advertising.

Brandweek is a unit of the Nielsen Co.

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