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Nielsen data reveals Australia’s changing travel trends and the brands spending big to attract Aussie tourists

3 minute read | June 2023

  • Industry’s biggest ad spenders revealed as travel marketing budgets jump 60% YOY
  • Top local and OS destinations
  • Most popular Aussie travel websites
  • States and territories spending the most to attract travellers

Sydney – June 5, 2023 – Ahead of the upcoming King’s Birthday long weekend, Nielsen has released a comprehensive analysis of the shifting travel preferences of Australians, the sites they visit online to inspire and plan their getaways, and the industry heavy-hitters spending big to attract them.

Latest Nielsen Consumer and Media View (CMV) data reveals Australians’ growing interest in domestic travel, online travel bookings, and an increased desire for travel in general.

According to the data, 76% of Australians “display a keen interest in visiting new places,” with a significant majority showing a preference for “nature-centric experiences” (64%), “coastal proximity” (59%), and “exploration of secluded, off-the-beaten-track locations” (54%).

Nielsen CMV data also reveals a surge in travel interest among younger Aussies (25 to 39), with 30% planning some sort of travel – a statistic that makes this demographic 10% more likely to travel than the average Australian.

In terms of online booking trends, both domestic (34%) and overseas (29%) travel packages are predominantly booked through online platforms, reflecting a significant growth over recent years. The preferred platforms among Australians include Booking Holdings Network (37%), TripAdvisor (27%), Virgin Travel and Tourism (20%), and Expedia (15%) for travel packages, while (30%), Airbnb (17%), and (10%) lead in accommodation bookings.

Data from Nielsen Digital Content Ratings (DCR) also highlights the strength of Uber and Qantas in the sector, with 6.74 million and 5.88 million users respectively in March, and only slight decreases in April, with the added bonus of high average user engagement times. Booking Holdings Network also emerged as a significant player, becoming the third-largest platform in terms of users.

Average user engagement time on most travel platforms was consistent from March to April, although Uber and Airbnb did see an increase. On average, Uber users spent just over 22 minutes interacting with the platform, while Airbnb users spent roughly 17-and-a-half minutes on the platform.

While 42% of Australians expressed their inclination towards domestic holidays, there’s a noticeable rise in interest for international travel. Over the next year, 35% of Australians aim to venture abroad, marking a noteworthy uptick of 11% compared to the data from two years ago.

Among those with international travel plans, popular destinations of choice comprise of Europe (39%), North America – specifically the USA or Canada (24%), the UK (23%), and New Zealand (18%).

In addition, Nielsen Ad Intel data also shows that between April 2021 and March 2022 the travel and tourism industry spent $381 million on advertising in Australia. However, post-COVID, that increased by 60%. In the last year, the sector has poured more than $608 million into advertising, with Qantas, Stayz, Airbnb, Flight Centre, and Virgin Australia topping the list of the biggest tourism and travel advertisers over that time.

When it comes to the nation’s domestic tourism boards, the agencies with the deepest ad pockets over the last 12 months were Tourism & Events Queensland, followed by Visit Victoria, Destination NSW, Western Australian Tourism Commission, South Australian Tourism Commission, Tourism Tasmania, and Northern Territory Tourist Commission.

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Media Contact
Dan Chapman
Assoc. Director, Communications, Nielsen APAC
+61 404 088 462