Moving away from TV advertising could be the smart option – but not for everyone, says Steve Dunne, CEO of marketing consultancy Digital Drums.
When I first started out in my marketing career the world was a far simpler place.
It was all just about print or broadcast.
And you could almost set your watch by the traditional Boxing Day television advertising, which kicked in with summer holiday advertisements to battle the after-Christmas blues.
Visual images of white sand, blue seas, waterfalls and chefs preparing colourful, exotic dishes, gave us reason to be optimistic about the year ahead.
So, I can imagine there were a few raised eyebrows in the industry at the news that two major players, Kuoni and Royal Caribbean, have decided to shift the emphasis of their turn of the year campaigns away from TV in favour of other channels such as radio, digital and social media.
Are Kuoni and Royal Caribbean ahead of the curve with this new strategy? Or are they merely going down a less trodden route for travel companies, leaving the TV arena open to new travel players to take advantage of the absence of two of travel’s biggest brands?
Whatever your view there is no denying that the tide of how we consume content is changing.
A recent report by OfCom on the television landscape in the UK for 2017 points to why travel brands are re-evaluating television as a medium to sell holidays.
Subscription library services like Netflix and Amazon Prime are now regularly used by 45% of UK adults, making them as important as live TV for family time.
Eight in ten adults have watched multiple episodes of the same programme back-to-back in one sitting; and nearly four in ten adults watch programmes and films outside the home.
It is so much easier these days for a viewer to avoid traditional television advertising.
The online services of the mainstream players (BBC iPlayer, All4, ITV Hub, My5) are used by 67% of British adults.
This has created a challenge that marketers call time shifting, where a viewer watches a programme at a different time to when it was originally broadcast – and without the advertisements.
And then there is the sheer plethora of TV channels. From just three or four channels 25 years ago we now have hundreds – television channels don’t boast the same large viewer numbers they once did.
So, the argument for switching away from traditional television advertising is strong.
But there are challenges in the alternative channels.
Holidays are essentially visual and getting that message across on the radio will be challenging.
And for selling through social media the jury is still out. Instagram and Facebook are good for brand building and inspiration but how far up the sales chain they sit is highly debatable.
It all boils down of course to the travel brand’s target audience and where they reside, trust and respond to calls to action.
According to OfCom over-64 year olds watch an average of 5 hours 44 minutes a day of mainstream TV, whereas 16-24 year olds watch an average of 1 hour 54 minutes.
For some travel brands moving away from television advertising could be the smart thing to do, but for others it may not be.
Are Royal Caribbean and Kuoni ahead of the curve with their strategy? Only time will tell, but how these two brands fare with their turn of the year campaigns will be something every travel brand should watch with interest – it could be the start of a seismic shift for travel marketing.
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