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A 3-year growth boom in travel ad spend after 2020’s plummet

The US travel industry is well on its way to a full recovery from 2020’s pandemic-driven nadir, and with this recovery has come a return to ad spending. Travel industry players upped their digital ad budgets by 42.7% last year, and we forecast a 22.5% boost for this year. Next year, travel will grow its outlays faster than any vertical we track.

Although it was precipitated by a dramatic fall, no other industry will produce growth akin to what we’re projecting for travel through 2024. Every industry grew spending enormously last year—including travel—but most of the others are now coming back to earth. Overall national growth in digital ad spending is expected to be 17.8% this year and 14.2% next year. Travel will outperform those averages by healthy margins, and by more than any other cohort. Travel will lead the country in ad spending growth in 2024 as well.

Travel’s share of national spending, however, will still be far less than it was before. The industry dramatically lost relevance in the digital ad spending market in 2020—accounting for just 2.0% of ad dollars, down from 4.6% in 2019. Its share of overall spend will marginally tick back up in the coming years, but it’ll remain the smallest player of all the industries we track by far. 

Nonetheless, travel’s pace of increase will nearly lead the pack this year, before rising to the forefront next year. Only the retail industry is expected to increase its spending more quickly than travel in 2022. By next year, travel will be the only cohort growing its spend by at least 20.0%.