Near and Far: Travel Advertisers Target Hispanic Travelers at Home and Abroad
The burgeoning Hispanic population growth that the U.S. has experienced over the past 20 years has had the auxiliary effect of boosting the travel sector servicing the U.S. and Latin American markets. As Hispanics flock to the U.S. in search of opportunity or for leisure, so too do they return to their home countries to maintain contact with their friends and relatives. The secondary boost to U.S.-Latin America travel is the result of ramped-up business activity that has developed as a result of the Hispanic population boom. Increasingly, U.S. companies with business interests in Latin America and Latin American companies with interests in the U.S. are taking to the skies to service existing accounts and win new ones. This spike in personal and business travel has brought about the necessity for targeted travel advertising focusing on these growing markets, both in the U.S. and abroad.
“Given the propensity of Hispanics to travel, both domestically and internationally, along with the above average household income of the Hispanic online user, it's not surprising that travel marketers are targeting Hispanic consumers online,” says Michele Azan, VP of sales for Terra networks.
As the internet has emerged as the premier tool for booking travel reservations, it is a logical platform on which to target consumers with travel advertising. As with any online advertising, the main choices available to marketers are keyword, banner, text, and rich-media advertising. Given that many customers search for their routes via their web-browsers, keyword advertising is particularly appealing to travel advertisers. When one Googles “Vuelos,” the Spanish word for “flights,” a number of options present themselves.
In the sponsored links category, both results are actually general market companies looking to get a piece of U.S. Hispanic market share. The first is Cheaptickets.com and the second is Expedia.com, both having bid on that keyword for prime positioning in the list of results. Different keyword combinations will yield different results. For instance, were you to type in “Vuelos baratos,” Spanish for “cheap flights,” it would yield different sponsored results. Then there are the organic search results, whose order is determined by which sites yield the most clicks when a given keyword is entered.
American Airlines is also quite active in event marketing. They were a major sponsor of New York’s annual Puerto Rican Day parade, and ran three ads in El Diario, including a front cover wrap in honor of the event. It also ran a sweepstakes for People en Español’s Cincuenta Mas Bellos (Fifty Most Beautiful) event, offering free airline tickets for the winner to attend. The company recently implemented a Spanish-language booking component on its websites to facilitate more user-friendly ticket purchasing for Spanish speakers. It uses a direct translation of its general market tagline “We Know Why You Fly,” with the Spanish-language iteration, “Sabemos porque Vuelas.” While Zubi is AA’s U.S. agency, McCann-Erickson takes care of the airline’s Latin American initiatives.
Veronica de Armas, U.S. Hispanic manager US/LatAm of I-network, says that one very attractive venue through which to target young adults is on MSN, particularly in Latin America. “It’s really a fantastic vehicle for travel advertisers to travel younger Hispanics on the move. MSN is huge among Latinos – it’s how they everyone communicates with their friends. In addition, Latin Americans and U.S. Hispanics have significantly higher click-through rates than the U.S. general market, usually between 0.5%-1%. When one considers the volume of Latin users on MSN and Hotmail every day, that rate signifies a lot of eyeballs on the
In late June, South American Airline Avianca did a week-long program with I-network which targeted Colombian users and promoted the Bogota-Miami route. The airline advertised on several of I-network’s member sites and purchased 600,000 impressions spread out across the network, although most – 500,000 – were displayed on the website of the main newspaper, El Heraldo. The campaign garnered 2,390 clicks, representing a 0.4% click-through rate.
In-flight magazines, an advertisers dream…
In-flight magazines enable advertisers to reach a captive audience. Unlike newsstand publications, in-flight magazines are guaranteed to reach readers, each of whom is a potential customer. Frequent fliers are a dream demographic as they tend to be decision makers with purchasing power. "A typical American Airlines in-flight reader is male, between 34 and 45 years old and travels an average of 11 times a year on business," says Eliana Nobile, advertising director for Nexos magazine. Sociologists have found that the level of absorption for the contents of an in-flight magazine is twice as high as that of other illustrated publications.
Several airlines publish magazines targeting Spanish-speaking audiences. Most of these magazines were initially published for the Latin American business traveler, but have since been redesigned to target a U.S. Hispanic audience as well. This was the case with Nexos, the American Airlines in-flight publication targeting Latin American and Hispanic passengers.
"Nexos, which is published in Spanish and Portuguese, was created as alternative reading for the Latino passenger whose native language was not English. Because of American Airlines’ dominance in this market, Nexos was created specifically for this market, potentially 20 million plus Latino passengers annually," Eliana Nobile, advertising director for Nexos magazine tells Portada. Nexos' top ad categories include Real Estate, Technology, Finance, Hotel, Medical, Luxury Goods and Automotive.
HCP/Aboard Publishing, a Miami based subsidiary of Knight Ridder, publishes custom in-flight magazines for airlines based in the U.S., Central and South America. Its 12 Latin American airline partners include Grupo Taca and American Eagle. In total, these airlines service over 100 destinations in the Western Hemisphere. Advertisers can target their message to specific countries/destinations or advertise in all of Aboard's in-flight magazines, which together reach over 35 million passengers annually, including over 2 million in South Florida. Most of these passengers are bilingual professionals from Central and South America, the Caribbean, Canada and the Northeastern United States.
Splendid, another magazine published for the Latin American business traveler, is published by Coral Gables, FL based Media8 Publishing Group. Splendid is distributed aboard six Latin American airlines including Aero Mexico, Avianca, Continental Airlines, Copa, Grupo Taca and Lan Chile.
Nexos advertising director Nobile says the Latino editorial and design staff collaborates with EFE News Wire Service to produce relevant articles by writers based in the region. The editorial content celebrates the "People, Places and Passions" of Latin American culture and is written entirely in Spanish and Portuguese, not translated from English.
Hispanic Travel advertising is positively booming. According to Michelle Azan, 50% of all travel booked by Hispanics is done online, which accounts for the rapid growth seen there. In the print realm, ROP travel advertising rose a full 65% between January 2005 and January 2006.
Trevor Hansen, president of print rep firm Ethnic Print Media Group (EPMG), says that the majority of travel advertising they’ve helped process has come from airlines. “Most recently we’ve been working on country of origin route-planning for JetBlue, identifying and placing in papers with high Dominican and Puerto Rican readerships for those respective routes,” says Hansen.
Some of EPMG’s efforts for Jetblue involve straight route promotion, while others are geared toward promotional offers to guarantee occupancy. The ads are Spanish-language.
Hansen says that within the travel sector, their clients have been more interested in print placement than on the newspaper websites which EPMG also represents. While they’ve seen some interest from cruise lines like Royal Caribbean, the landscape has been dominated by airlines. Fare aggregators like Orbitz and Travelocity have so far not ventured into print.
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