B2B Marketing Media Planning and Buying Agency Business

Study: summer travelers ready to see the sights (and outdoor ads)


By Kenneth Hein | Editor

May 26, 2021 | 4 min read

Eligibility of vaccines is having a profound effect on summer travel. In fact, 51% of US consumers claim they plan on traveling as much or more than before the lockdown, according to a study of 1,000 US consumers conducted by the Out of Home Advertising Association of America (OAAA) and The Harris Poll last month.

Beach sign

Beaches and billboards are on tap for the summer

These big travel plans are a welcome sign for the outdoor advertising sector. Out-of-home (OOH) advertising was one of the segments most negatively impacted by the pandemic. Now it is set for a significant rebound, per the study. Here’s what you need to know.

On the road again

  • More than half (56%) the survey respondents aren’t just leaving their neighborhoods, they are going far away – more than 201-plus miles to be exact. And they are planning on staying away longer, with 42% of respondents planning vacations for two weeks or more. Gen Z (52%), in particular, are planning to take half a month off this summer.

  • Vacation resorts and beaches should be jumping, with 55% of respondents planning to spend some time in the sun and the sand. The majority of gen X (69%) are focused on going to the beach or a lake.

  • Out-of-town trips to concerts, sporting events and the theater are also on the social calendars of 51% of urban dwellers. And 37% of urbanites are planning to try their luck at the casino.

  • In terms of mode of transportation, most (95%) say the car is the safest way to go, but flying is considered a safe option now according to 59% of those polled. Most comfortable flying: gen Z (77%) and urbanites (80%). Least comfortable: boomers (54%) and rural populations (44%).

Ooh, did you see that ad?

  • Now that consumers are heading outdoors, 41% of respondents say they are paying more attention to OOH ads than before the pandemic. This was true of urbanites especially (59%). Millennials (64%) say they are most likely to now notice an outdoor ad.

  • Seeing ads leads to action, with 49% saying they have looked up information about an advertiser after viewing an outdoor execution. A third have been prompted to engage in activities on their mobile devices like finding a coupon or promo code for a retailer. That number nearly doubled in cities, where 60% of respondents searched online after seeing an OOH ad.

  • Restaurants and other dining options were the most useful information for urbanites (37%) and the general public (31%). Covid-19 safety and hygiene were the second most viewed according to a quarter of respondents.

  • “Americans are planning a return to ‘normal’ this summer, including travel, entertainment and dining out – all experienced through the lens of a renewed appreciation for being out-of-home,” says Anna Bager, president and chief executive of the OAAA. “Brand marketers have a unique opportunity to capitalize on this particular moment in time by investing in OOH advertising.”

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