Digital Audio

Combating Traveler Distrust With Audio Advertising

Laura Fernandez, VP, Head of Industry for Travel + TourismNov 1, 2022

Let's change that traveler's tune to something a bit more...optimistic.

The leaves have vibrant colors, there’s a bite to the air, and the scents of pumpkin and cinnamon are wafting through every shop. You know what that means: the fall season is in full swing. And with the change of the seasons comes a major uptick in air travel.

The truth is, you've probably flown hundreds of times in your life. But the most memorable? That one time you got stuck in Chicago and had to sleep on the airport floor with your chihuahua growling at people as they walk by (if it seems like we're speaking from experience, it's because we are).

With recent mass delays, cancellations, and more, consumer confidence in the travel industry is…lacking. How do you get back in travelers’ good graces?

Fall Travel is Booming

Fall travel is incredibly popular, whether it’s flyers looking to experience stunning autumn foliage or families reuniting for Thanksgiving. Some people simply prefer to plan their trips for this time of year because they find it more enjoyable—about 34%, to be specific.1 And with 50% of Americans definitely planning to travel this autumn,2 the season is sure to be as bustling as ever.

But Concerns are Looming...

Even as they plan, though, travelers are worried about what’s ahead. Flyers experienced a host of problems this summer, both internationally and nationally. During this time, distrust bloomed as they dealt with record levels of canceled flights and lost luggage. The resulting brand sentiment and consumer trust for airlines? Less than ideal.

But Consumers Should Fear Not

Those in the industry know, though, that the chances of repeat failures are slim; airlines learned from the labor shortages they experienced, and they took the necessary steps to address them. Most focused on hiring more employees to better regulate procedures, and many opted to cut back on flights from small destinations in an effort to minimize inefficiencies.

Still, even with these backend efforts well underway, it’s up to advertisers to regain the trust consumers lost over the summer. Offering audiences the right reassuring messages in the most highly trafficked channels is key to get consumer confidence back to where it was. Wondering what channel that might be? The answer, of course, is audio.

So What's the Deal with Audio and Travel?

The numbers don’t lie: audio is the #1 spot to find would-be and soon-to-be travelers. A recent study found that 90% of respondents listen to audio while traveling.3 And when it comes to planning and inspiration, podcasts lead the way.

We already know there’s a major boom in podcast listening, but how does that play into travel plans? Podcasts are a lifeline for adventure seekers who want to learn new travel hacks, daydream about (hopefully) soon-to-be getaways, or research potential destinations without having to take time away from their regular schedule.

Impact on Mindset

So, we already know that audio is the best place to find your audience of travelers and convince them to hit the roads. But why is it the most effective channel? It all boils down to mindset and impact.

Studies have shown that streaming audio, podcasts, and radio have a direct impact on the listener’s mood. Our recent survey found that 74% of respondents said that listening to music left them feeling motivated, while 89% said the activity lifted their spirits and helped them feel relaxed.4

The takeaway for advertisers? Audio is the perfect area to catch your audience in an ideal headspace, making them more receptive to your message—in this case, the message being promises for a better, more reliable traveling experience.

Flexibility for the Win

Audio also offers creative flexibility like you wouldn’t believe. Advertisers need to react fast to changes and disrupt; in this case, the unsettlement among travelers. But if you opt for video creative, you can basically kiss that timeliness goodbye; that is, unless you want to fork over an insane amount of cash. Audio, on the other hand, is far faster and easier to produce.

Another advantage you shouldn’t overlook? Pre-campaign testing. With audio platforms like Pandora and Stitcher, advertisers can use contextual targeting to make sure their message will resonate and drive action before they even launch their campaign.

So...What's the Message?

Now that you know how and why audio is the best option to combat that traveler distrust, all you have to do is focus on getting that message across. Use your advertisements to highlight the benefits your business has to offer, such as in-flight perks, friendly staff, or guaranteed luggage delivery.

When developing your campaign, make sure you’re speaking to consumers in the environment they’re in (mobile, connected home, in-car, etc.). Try to catch your consumers at every stage of their trip-planning process, from initial web searches to the ride to the airport. Also, consider adding different genre targeting. Some genres are more uplifting than others, and meeting your consumers when they’re in a positive mindset increases the chances they’ll walk away with positive brand sentiments.

Ready to get in the ears of your favorite travelers and win back their trust? Let’s chat.


1. Vacasa's 2022 Fall Travel Trends

2. The Seattle Times, Fall travel trends highlight how and where Americans will go

3. Pandora Internal Data; Soundboard Travel User Study Q4 2021

4. Pandora Internal User Study, 2019-2020

Meet the largest ad-supported audience in audio.Advertise with us

Stay ahead of industry trends

© SiriusXM Media. All Rights Reserved.