REDWOOD CITY, CA: Travellers who watch a tourism video ad to completion are 23 times more likely to book a hotel in the destination city advertised, new research claims.

Rocket Fuel, a programmatic marketing platform provider, reached this conclusion after analysing data from a recent US regional tourism ad campaign and from a hotel advertiser that had partnered with Rocket Fuel at the same time.

The likelihood to book increased with the video completion rate and was highest for consumers who were both exposed to display ads and watched to completion one or more video ads.

While the above figures are impressive, even being exposed to tourism display or video ads – without viewing to completion – meant that travellers were six times more likely to book a hotel in the destination city those who hadn't seen them.

And consumers who saw only display ads for the tourism campaign were still more than three times more likely to book a hotel in the destination city.

"Billions are spent digitally in the highly competitive travel market, yet video is underutilised, mainly due to perceived costs," said Chris Lorenzoni, Rocket Fuel's director of category strategy for travel.

But, he added, "an investment in programmatic video ads, in tandem with display, can drive real results".

Hotels generally face a major challenge in identifying whether ads shape choice, since consumers are also likely to be using search engines, user reviews and price-comparison sites as well.

Choice Hotels addressed this by building a holistic marketing-mix model that incorporated these factors and also pulled together ROI figures in a directly comparable fashion.

One unexpected finding was that the business was over-serving ads to certain users, so a frequency cap was implemented in order to boost efficiency.

At the same time it set standards for display formats and began to make accurate comparisons about the ROI delivered by different publishers and so was able to allocate spending accordingly.

Data sourced from Rocket Fuel; additional content by Warc staff