Competition in travel is already fierce with complex consumer journeys and more touch points, channels and devices than ever before. Brands must fully integrate their customer-facing marketing activities and e-commerce operations across various channels, devices, and marketing partners, as well as constantly measure the return on investment of those efforts.

As pressure for these brands to drive both customer acquisition and retention increases, digital marketing must evolve to better serve their needs.

Performance Horizon, the global leader in digital partner marketing, recently released a report developed with independent research organisation WBR to benchmark key performance marketing trends in the global travel industry.

Partner marketing

The report covers multiple dimensions of performance marketing, including how it relates to travel brands’ marketing mix, ROI and measurement, marketing spend, and data and business impact.

Key findings from the report reveal an increase in performance-based partner marketing to drive both customer acquisition and retention. Not surprisingly, 40% of brands now employ partner marketing for customer acquisition while an unexpected 20% use this model for retention of customers.

Another interesting finding revealed that 61% of brands prefer to evaluate marketing performance with the help of a third-party organisation or technology, while 39% currently only benchmark their performance internally. Additionally, 83% of travel brands are now adopting performance-based campaigns with their marketing partners.

Investing in performance

With many respondents attributing significant shares of their revenues to performance-based marketing, the reported high level of investment by many travel brands seems to be justified.

Over half (59%) of respondents drive at least 20% of overall revenues through performance-based marketing partners, with 17% generating above 60% of their overall revenue. The top 7% of digital travel brands generate 80% of their annual revenues through performance marketing programmes, a testament to the scalability of the approach.

The extent of confidence that brands place in performance-based programs – reflected by their returns on their high levels of investment – suggests that these brands have a degree of expertise and familiarity with performance-marketing models and understand the value they can drive.

Need for data

Travel brands almost universally expect mobile conversions to increase with a slight edge across mobile web versus mobile apps. The combination of the increasing pressure for measurement of performance and the expected increase in conversions across both mobile web and mobile app suggests that mobile would be a good channel to apply performance-based models and increase investment.

Ultimately, the study indicates a growing need for data and insights around transparency, fraud, contribution and attribution to support business decision-making.

Increasingly, partner marketing has risen in popularity due to its substantial return on investment, which essentially provides brands an opportunity to further focus budgets on revenue-generating activities they can easily measure.

Glean deeper insights from the full report here.

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