Jupiter Media Metrix: Web Travel Ads Rise in Holiday Season, Retail Lags

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Online advertising for the travel industry spiked during the holiday season, despite a major setback after the Sept. 11 attacks, according to Jupiter Media Metrix.


The Internet analysis and measurement firm said yesterday that data from its AdRelevance service show that online travel advertising began to climb in the second week of May with 291.9 million impressions and peaked in the fourth week of August at 1.1 billion impressions -- an increase of 263 percent. Not surprisingly, impressions plummeted in the second week of September and bottomed out at 574.4 million during the first week of October. However, Jupiter Media Metrix said the industry has since rebounded, rising 94 percent from Sept. 11 levels.


"The early 2001 launch of [online travel reservation site] Orbitz.com put a surge into travel advertising, with the industry more than doubling between spring and the end of summer," said Charles Buchwalter, vice president of media research at Jupiter Media Metrix. He noted that airlines have turned to the Web to attract customers for the holiday season.


The top 10 online travel advertisers based on their share of total ad impressions for the week ending Dec. 2 include four travel agencies, accounting for 64 percent of all impressions. Orbitz led the field with 44 percent of all ad impressions; Travelocity ranked second with 13 percent; Hotwire and Vail Resorts Management Co. tied for third with 5 percent; AMR Corp. ranked fourth with 3 percent and Princess Cruises came in fifth with 2 percent.


Buchwalter also said that the online retail sector has been mixed and is off to a slow start for the holiday season. Weekly ad impressions reached 3.7 billion in the fourth week of November, up only 8 percent from 3.4 billion the first week of October. In the same period in 2000, the growth rate was 18 percent, he said.


"This year's holiday ramp-up has yet to reach the growth trajectory of last year's," Buchwalter said. "Declines in consumer confidence resulting from economic downturn as well as the Sept. 11 attacks may be responsible for the delayed increase in retail advertising."


Jupiter Media Metrix said Amazon.com was the number one advertiser based on ad impressions for the week ending Dec. 2. Barnes & Noble Inc. came in second with 11 percent; Columbia House was third with 10 percent; eBay Inc. ranked fourth with 9 percent and CMGI Inc. ranked fifth with 3 percent.


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