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3 ways to reach travelers on a budget this spring

A man waiting at a bus stop checks his phone.

2023 is expected to be a big year for travel, but consumers are more price conscious than ever before. With inflation and labour shortages on the rise, the cost of travel has increased year over year (YoY). But that doesn’t mean consumers aren’t interested anymore, as 50% of consumers still consider investing in a vacation as a top priority for how they spend their money in 2023.

With spring break just around the corner, Microsoft Advertising Insights has the top takeaways your business can take to reach consumers on a budget.

The price is right

Consumers are searching earlier and more frequently this year, especially for more budget-friendly travel options. In a recent survey from, it was shown that almost 65% of travelers plan to keep a close eye on deals and hacks in 2023.

This aligns with our first-party data, as Microsoft Advertising has seen an increase of +103% YoY for travel searches containing the word “cheap” and an increase of +165% YoY for “deals.” Airlines, hotels, cruises, and car rentals were all included, showing that consumers are looking for cost saving measures in multiple ways for their upcoming vacations.

Chart showing searches for the terms cheap and deal have increased 103% and 165% respectively since last year.

Action: Use Broad match and Dynamic Search Ads to expose new search trends and themes​ related to cost-saving measures and highlight your current offerings with Hotel Price Ads.

Timing is everything

Since consumers are spending more time looking up deals, they’re also starting their search journey earlier. In the same study mentioned earlier, 61% of recently surveyed people said they’ll be planning their vacations further in advance than before this year.

This has led to a decline in last-minute travel, and Microsoft Advertising has seen a decrease of -11% YoY in searches and -17% YoY in clicks thus far for last-minute travel in 2023. People are more flexible on their vacation timing recently, with 50% of consumers agreeing they would be willing to travel in the off-season if it saved them money (something to keep in mind for spring break)!

Action: Leverage the Microsoft Audience Network to reach consumers across their buyer journey early—native ads can help push users down the funnel by showcasing beautiful images that will make consumers want to learn more about your destination.

Take me away (on public transportation)

With the price of gas continuously on the rise, online activity for public transportation has been booming on Microsoft Advertising. Consumers are frequently looking up alternative methods to car rentals, which have seen a -6% YoY decrease in clicks in 2023. Instead, they’re searching for more budget friendly options like Bus & Rail Services (+15% YoY in clicks) and Ridesharing (+101% YoY in clicks).

Action: Inspire planners with Tours and Activities Ads and make sure to highlight specific tours that are easy to reach via public transportation (or that provide transportation) for best results.


Curious about other category trends we’re seeing across our marketplace from a search or native perspective? visit the Microsoft Advertising Insights content hub.

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