Travel companies to focus on social media in 2010

Social media is seen as the greatest challenge in online marketing for 2010, according to a survey from search marketing specialist Bigmouthmedia.

The company surveyed the industry to gauge views on online marketing spend going forward as well as perceived challenges and opportunities .

Despite social media being seen as a challenge, respondents described initiatives in the area as their top innovations this year as well as those planned for 2010.

When it came to marketing spend, online continues to get an increasing share of the total budget – up from 39% in 2008, 50% in 2009 and an estimated 57% in 2010.

However, some areas within travel, such as travel comparison sites, holiday rental specialists and online travel agencies, are anticipating spending more than 80% of their total marketing budgets online.

Paid search received the highest portion of online budgets with an average of 37%, followed by search engine optimisation at 18% and display at 17%.

While only 7% of online marketing spend was devoted to social media this year, 60% of respondents said they would be increasing their social media and search engine optimisation budgets next year.

Some 60% said they would either maintain or decrease pay-per-click spend next year although the overall paid search budget is expected to grow in 2010.

Respondents also said the economic climate was the greatest challenge facing the industry as a whole.

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