As most top industries cut their ad budgets in 2008, the travel and hospitality industry saw its ad spend increase four percent, according to an analysis by The Nielsen Company. 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 for 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 ad expenditures in 2008 - 20 percent more than its total spend in 2007. Intercontinental Hotels - the parent company for Holiday Inn hotels - showed the largest growth among the top ten advertisers, upping its ad budget 29 percent to a toatal of $80.3 million.
Hotels and Resorts spent more than any other product category within the industry. Its $1.4 billion in ad buys represented almost 40 percent of the total industry's advertising.
Download Nielsen's full Hospitality and Travel Spotlight.