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Media Measurement Consumer Engagement Media Planning and Buying

Why a ‘travel state of mind’ is the new, non-endemic advertising goldmine


By Maria Greaves, Assistant editor - branded content

June 27, 2024 | 8 min read

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Far from describing a switched off holiday mode, a ‘travel state of mind’ defines some of the most switched-on consumers in the marketplace. Who are they? And why are they the next big consumer growth opportunity? We sat down with Tripadvisor’s Christine Maguire, to find out.

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The Travel State of Mind: Unlocking the Next Big Consumer Growth Opportunity with Tripadvisor's Christine Maguire

Non-endemic advertising has boomed in recent years. And its trajectory is set to continue throughout 2024 and beyond, as marketers scramble to connect with consumers in a climate of ongoing cookie deprecation and fragmenting channels. It’s a trend that’s having a ripple effect across all sectors, but the travel sector is fast becoming the one-to-watch hub of innovation and growth.

As the world’s largest travel advice platform, Tripadvisor is the bellwether for this boom. Its inhouse creative and content studio Wanderlab has seen increased advertising demand from brands in the automotive, fintech, telco, spirits and entertainment sectors, running campaigns for brands as diverse as Ford, HBO, Walgreens and Cutwater Spirits in the US and L’Oreal and Mars Petcare in EMEA.

But why is the travel sector expanding the scope of the consumer advertising opportunity? Christine Maguire, general manager and vice-president of global media business, Tripadvisor, says it’s because “we have a long customer journey. And it’s a very considered purchase journey with many unique, inter-related paths – from the restaurant and culinary experiences consumers plan on their trip, to the cultural and shopping experiences they take in, to the way they get to their travel experience or even how they pay for it.”

That expansive and diverse consumer engagement window is what’s sparking non-endemic advertising growth in the sector. It gives brands the opportunity to attach to multiple, different moments in the travel journey, from the dreaming phase to planning, booking and beyond. And that means it’s increasingly Tripadvisor’s job to help brands “make the connections to specific consumer passion points right across the travel journey,” says Maguire.

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High purchasing power, and a positive state of mind

As well as a wide engagement window, the travel sector also plays host to some of the most receptive, engaged, malleable and happiest consumers in today’s marketplace. The impact of this, Maguire says, is a unique ‘travel state of mind’.

“73% of our users describe themselves as open minded and 75% have a positive attitude,” she explains. “They want to create memories, so their willingness for discretionary spend increases… and they're way more likely to engage with advertising and marketing messages. They’re in a buying journey. They’re ready to spend, they have the money to spend and they’re more likely to spend.”

Describing how ‘leaned in’ we are as consumers when we plan travel, she adds: “We’re not in a passive state of mind. We’re excited for possibilities and are also very flexible and malleable: 60% of our users don't have a destination in mind when they come to our site.”

It’s little wonder that 75% of Tripadvisor users describe themselves as having a positive attitude. Furthermore, research shows that 46% of consumers who recalled ads described themselves as ‘happy’.

Access to first-party data as cookies crumble

Privacy compliant data match-ups are fueling the boom in non-endemic advertising across the board. And the travel sector’s extended and engaged buyer journey is teeming with first-party data.

Tripadvisor is no exception. “We have a lot of first party data signals that are really rich in nature, because they’re high intent and they’re from a large audience base that’s logged in, growing, and are characterized by their high household income and their likelihood to make purchases across other categories,” Maguire explains.

These signals include member emails and IP addresses as identifiers for lookalike audiences, combined with search preferences, behavioral, filter, location data, messages on community forums, the platform’s own qualitative research, and more.

It’s these insights that form the bedrock of the Wanderlab offering. The creative studio has seen budgets triple in two years as the team uses its first party data signals to help advertisers go beyond banners and display ads and lean into richer, multi-sensory experiences. In terms of non-endemic advertising, these have recently included Corona, Petsmart and Loreal.

Tapping into the ‘travel state of mind’: data-informed versus data-driven

As advertisers race to mine the data and consumer potential of the travel sector, Maguire advises adopting a data-informed rather than data-driven strategy. This holistic, more nuanced approach, taking in factors such as intuition, competitor analysis, experience and qualitative analysis, is more likely to harness valuable contextual factors and behavioral realities.

“You miss the magic when everything is data driven,” she explains: “What people say they want to do can sometimes be different from what they actually do. So that's why we like to match what people are doing, what they're filtering for, what they're searching for, what they're coming back to on our site, with what they're saying they want to do.”

For more insights into why travel is not just a trip but a state of mind, and the travelers’ extended path to purchase, download Tripadvisor’s The Experience of Travel report.

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