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Frequent flyer rewards

We are a nation of globetrotters and news junkies. BRIAN ROCK shows how airlines and travel companies can grow their business using newspaper media.


Key Take-Outs

  • 9 out of 10 airline passengers read newspapers
    10.6 million (93%) read news media
  • The more they read, the more they fly
    67% of heavy newspaper readers flew in the past year
    60% of non-readers
  • Heavy readers travel more often…
    48% traveled domestically 4 or more times in the past year (42% for non-readers)
    10% traveled internationally 2 or more times (9% of non-readers)
  • … and pay a premium
    19% flew premium economy, business or first-class in the past year
    Only 15% of non-readers flew in these classes
  • Travel section readers are prime prospects
    69% plan to travel by air in the next 12 months (only 60% of non-readers)


Australians are some of the world’s most frequent travellers and biggest tourism spenders, and future growth prospects are strong. Each year the average Australian takes 3.8 trips either domestically or overseas, more than the French (3.5), Spanish (3.2), Germans (3.0), British (3.0), Austrians (2.7), Swiss (2.6), or Japanese (2.3). This puts us 9th place on international rankings.1

More remarkably is how much Australians spend on international travel compared with other countries. The United Nations World Tourism Organisation ranks Australia 8th in terms of international tourism expenditure, splurging US$28.4 billion dollars in 2013.

To put this into perspective China, with 60 times the population, spent 4.5 only times as much (US$128.6 billion). The United States, with nine times the population, only tripled our spending.

Australians are the heaviest spenders by population with an average per capita expenditure of US$1,223. This is four times higher than the US (US$273), twice as much as France (US$665) and 13 times more than China.2

We’re also travelling overseas in far greater numbers than ever. Tourism Research Australia estimates 5.5 million Australians – one in four – travel overseas each year.3 Since many of these travellers take multiple trips, the total number of overseas trips is higher still. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, we take nine million overseas trips each year, more than twice as many as we took a decade ago.4

Expectations for air travel for 2015 and beyond are solid, with Austrade estimating growth domestically and internationally, especially the latter. Tourism industry expectations are also positive, centring around 2-3 percent for domestic, and 5-6 percent for outbound international. 5

Newspaper media are a highly effective way to reach these travellers, providing high-reach potential and an environment perfect for targeting travellers.

According to emma (Enhanced Media Metrics Australia) 10.6 million Australian airline passengers read newspaper media each month. That’s nine out of every ten passengers. Most read a printed newspaper (9.5m, 93% of passengers), while three in five (7.2m/62% of passengers) read news media on computers, tablets or mobile phones.

Importantly from a channel planning perspective, heavy newspaper readers (7+ issues per week) are higher-value prospects than non-newspaper readers. They’re more likely to fly, fly more often, and pay a premium for better seats:

More likely to fly

Two out of three heavy newspapers readers (67%) flew in the past year, compared with 60 percent of non-newspaper readers. For domestic flights heavy newspaper readers are 7 percent more likely to fly than non-readers (61% vs 57%), and 20 percent more likely to fly internationally (37% vs 31%).

Travel more often

Half (48%) of heavy newspaper readers travelled domestically four or more times in the past year, compared with 42 percent for non-readers. Internationally, 10 percent of heavy readers travelled internationally two or more times, compared with 9 percent for non-readers.

Pay for premium seats

While one in five (19%) heavy newspaper readers flew premium economy, business or first class in the past year, only one in six (15%) of non-readers flew in these classes.

A key reason why heavy newspaper readers are more inclined to travel is because they are more affluent than light- or non-newspaper readers. The average heavy newspaper reader earns 28 percent more than non-readers, and 25 percent more than light readers.

Airline travel is strongly correlated to income: someone earning $120,000+ p.a is 50 percent more likely to take an international holiday then someone earning under $40,000, and three times more likely to fly on business.

Newspapers also offer editorial environments that directly target travellers. A large percentage are actively in the market:

  • 69% plan to travel by air in the next 12 months, 15% higher than for non-readers (60%).
  • More than half intend to fly 56% domestically, 15% more likely compared with non-readers (48%).
  • More than a third (30%) say they’ll fly internationally 23% higher than the percentage of non-readers (30%).

Newspapers deliver high-reach, skew towards high-earning airline passengers who travel more frequently and spend more on their seats. Travel sections of newspapers add an editorial environment that targets the prime prospects when they’re in the market.

1 “Timetric reveals which countries travel the most”, Timetric, 9 Oct 2014.

2 United Nations World Tourism Organisation, UNTWO Tourism Highlights 2014 Edition.

3 Tourism Research Australia, Travel by Australians September 2014 quarterly results of the National Visitor Survey, 10 Dec 2014.

4 Australian Bureau of Statistics 3401.0 – Overseas Arrivals and Departures, Australia, June 2014.

5 Tourism Research Australia, Tourism Forecasts Autumn 2014, June 2014.

6  emma, 12 months to November 2014, conducted by Ipsos MediaCT, people 14+, Nielsen Online Ratings, May 2014, people 14+ only.

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