The Online Travel Industry: Investing EssentialsBy Asit Sharma | More Articles August 25, 2014 | Comments 0Barajas Airport, Madrid. Source: Jean-Pierre Dalbera under Creative Commons license.The speed at which the Internet evolves can make milestones from 10 or 15 years ago seem worthy of encasement in a glass museum display. Take this quote from Priceline Group’s first annual report after its 1999 IPO:
What is the online travel industry?
How big is the online travel industry?
How does the online travel industry work?
What are the drivers of the online travel industry?
Airbnb have recently announced and launched a complete overhaul of its brand identity.
Airbnb is a community marketplace for people to list, discover and book unique spaces around the world through mobile phones or the internet. Airbnb connects people to unique travel experiences at any price point, with over 800,000 listings in 34,000 cities and 190 countries. It has found accommodation solutions for over 15 million customers.
The launch is not without controversy with a number of industry commentators poking fun at the suggestive nature of the logo in addition to claims of plagiarism.
We like it….and have taken an extract from their blog written by Brian Chesky one of the co-founders that provides insights to the thinking behind the new brand identity.
“In the end, nothing can express our identity more profoundly than the stories of people who make up this community. When we started Airbnb, I had no idea about the people we would meet, or the friendships I would make. Then I met Amol, one of the first guests, who later invited me to his wedding in India. I met Sebastian, who was trapped in his house in the middle of the London Riots in 2011. Before his own mother had a chance to check that he was okay, seven of his former guests did. And I met Shell, who saw the devastation wrought by Hurricane Sandy, and listed her home for free to those who were displaced. These people, along with millions of others, have their own unique backgrounds and life experiences. We all come from vastly different cultures and places. And yet, no matter how many miles may separate us, we are united by the universal, powerful, human desire to connect, to understand, and to belong. So together, with this new identity, I look forward to starting the next chapter of this improbable journey with the idea that first set it in motion—the belief that belonging can take us anywhere”. — Brian Chesky
Read more on the drivers behind the new brand positioning at:
JAMES SHILLINGLAW | JUNE 24, 2014
For the past 10 years, the travel industry was focused on Baby Boomers, who were considered the most lucrative market. As Boomers got older, it was assumed, they would have more time and more money to travel.
That certainly has been the case over the last decade, and boomers continue to be a major market for travel. But now the industry may want to refocus on the often forgotten Millennial or Gen Y traveler, at least according to the 2014 Portrait of American Travelers, an annual survey by MMGY Global, a travel marketing services firm.
According to the survey, Millennials those between the ages of 18 and 35 will be the driving force behind the continued recovery of the U.S. travel industry. They are also expected to spend incrementally more on travel services than any other age group over the next 12 months.
The survey found that 24 percent of Millennial travelers are planning to take more overnight leisure trips in the next 12 months, versus 14 percent who are planning fewer trips, a net difference of 10 percent. This compares with a negative net difference of 1 percent for Boomers, and negative net differences of 3 percent and 6 percent for Matures and Xers, respectively.
Gen Yers also plan to spend significantly more on leisure travel services in the next 12 months, well ahead than any of the other generational cohorts: an average of $887 on a previous-year base of $4,499. Gen Xers intend to spend the second highest increment: $666 on a previous-year base of $4,341.
According the MMGY Global, both trends are consistent with the manner in which Millennials view the sanctity of their vacation time. Last year they took an average of 4.6 overnight trips for leisure purposes versus an average of 4.2 trips for all U.S. households with an annual income over $50,000.
“Six in 10 Millennials would rather spend their money on experiences than material things,” said Steve Cohen, vice president of insights for MMGY Global. “This is presumably one of the reasons we’ve observed the spike in their intentions with respect to leisure travel in the year ahead…Millennials’ planning, booking and sharing habits are significantly different from those of older leisure travelers.”
All this could be good for travel agents. In an earlier survey for the American Society of Travel Agents on the value of using a travel agent, MMGY Global found nearly 60 percent of Millennials who used travel agents believed that their vacations were better than those organized without their assistance. The study also found that consumers that use an agent travel more average 4.7 trips than consumers that don’t use a travel agent average 3.6 trips.
On the other hand, Millennials’ travel interests don’t always extend to more distant destinations. Gen Yers are more likely to have taken a “staycation” during the last 12 months than all other travelers. Thirty-three percent took at least one vacation within 50 miles of their home, versus 27 percent among all other leisure travelers. One third said their choice was made to save money to take a more substantial vacation during the year ahead.
The MMGY Portrait of American Travelers, now in its 24th year, reflects the lifestyles and travel behavior of approximately 57 million American households who spent an average of $4,429 on leisure travel in the last year. Collectively, they represent nearly $240 billion in U.S. travel spending. The survey polls 2,550 active leisure travelers who reside in households with an annual income of $50,000 or more and who have taken at least one leisure trip of 75 miles or more from home during the previous 12 months on which they used overnight accommodations.
Expedia is now accepting Bitcoin as a form of payment. The move gives the company cost savings and also allows it to market itself as a high-tech, customer-focused e-business.
Online travel site Expedia.coms announcement that it is accepting Bitcoin as a form of payment for hotel purchases is not only a sign of the decentralized peer-to-peer payment network inevitably going mainstream, but it also gives Expedia, like other early adopters, some distinct marketing advantages.
As of last week, customers can shop from Expedias inventory of hotels and pay for accommodations using Bitcoin. Expedia partnered with third-party Bitcoin payment processor Coinbase to integrate payment support into the hotel booking experience on its website. An Expedia rep says its “basically just a matter of time” until the brand rolls out the functionality to other product lines like flights and car rentals and notes the speed will depend on the demand the brand initially sees with hotels. According to the Bitcoin Press Center, Bitcoin is in use by a growing number of businesses and individuals, including restaurants, apartments, and law firms, as well as online services such as Namecheap, WordPress, Reddit, and Flattr.
In 1996, when Microsoft was still ahead of the big technology trends, it launched a small brand called Expedia Travel Services. It hoped to persuade customers to book holidays online. It was not an immediate success. Few households had an internet connection then and, just as importantly, most people thought the idea of buying a holiday through the ether not to mention typing their credit-card details into a web browser plain foolish.
Few think the idea crazy now. Expedia, which Microsoft sold in 2001, has become the world’s biggest travel agent see chart. Last year, through brands such as Trivago, Hotels.com and Hotwire, as well as its eponymous operation, its gross bookings were $39.4 billion. The third-largest travel agent is also an online firm: Priceline, whose brands include Booking.com, made reservations worth $39.2 billion in 2013. Last year online travel agents OTAs had combined bookings of $278 billion, according to Euromonitor, a market-research firm.
Indeed, when it comes to reserving flights, hotel rooms and rented cars for holidaymakers, the online-travel market looks quite mature in many rich countries. PhoCusWright, another research firm, reckons that online booking now accounts for 43% of total travel sales in America and 45% in Europe. Since much of the rest is accounted for by business trips handled by specialist corporate-travel agents such as Carlson Wagonlit, scope for the OTAs’ market to grow seems limited. That explains Priceline’s purchase, announced on June 13th, of OpenTable, a restaurant-reservation website, for $2.6 billion: it sees this as a way to earn commission on another chunk of tourists’ spending. There are some big markets where online bookings have yet to take off. Germans still typically arrange their holidays through traditional travel agents. Although the Chinese now spend more on travel in aggregate than any other country’s population, in 2012 they booked only 15% of their trips by value online, says PhoCusWright. It thinks this will rise to 24% by 2015, making the Chinese online-travel market worth around $30 billion. Much of the expansion will be driven by ambitious local firms. Ctrip, the biggest, makes most of its money from air tickets and package tours to Greater China. But as Chinese tourists become more intrepid—ranging farther afield and no longer shuffling around in big tour groups—online hotel bookings are becoming more important. Ctrip’s hotels division has grown at an average of 25% a year for the past five years, according to Trefis, a stockmarket-analysis firm, and had revenues of $366m in 2013. It will not be long before it eyes Western markets more keenly.
To stay ahead, the big OTAs are having to follow their customers as they switch from desktop computers to smartphones and tablets. By 2017 over 30% of online travel bookings by value will be made on mobile devices, thinks Euromonitor. In part this will be the result of OTAs making their apps more appealing by, for example, adding location services that help travellers find the nearest rooms and restaurants. But it is also because the way people plan trips is changing. It generally takes a family more than three weeks to book a holiday, from deciding to travel to clicking the “pay now” button, in which time they may visit seven websites, says Faisal Galaria of Alvarez & Marsal, a consultant. In future, travellers are likely to become more impetuous, he says, and smartphones appeal to those making last-minute bookings.
For those still surfing for holidays on their PCs, other technological advances are on the horizon. Amadeus, which supplies the software behind many OTAs’ booking systems, is developing new ways to entice customers to the agents’ websites. One is to use browser-tracking technology to aim personalised ads at consumers, showing them the latest prices for trips in which they had previously shown an interest. Such targeted advertising has been common among non-travel retailers for some time. However, until now it has proved trickier for the travel business as it involves collating frequently changing data from many airlines and hotels.
Even with help from such marketing tricks, the smaller OTAs will find it increasingly hard to compete with the big two. Online travel is an industry in which size counts. The scale of Expedia and Priceline means they can sign up more hotels, and negotiate better prices, than their smaller rivals. This is a business that requires heavy spending on marketing, which hands another advantage to the big two. OTAs will spend more than $4 billion this year on digital advertising, according to eMarketer, also a research firm; and Priceline and Expedia will account for over half of this. Some smaller rivals may find profitable niches, but in general it will be hard for them to grow. Whenever they open a door, “there are already two 800lb gorillas fighting it out in the room,” says Mr Galaria.
Not only gorillas. The observant may also spot an elephant in the room. In 2010 Google bought ITA, a maker of flight-search software, and the next year it launched a flight-comparison website. The giant search company has also improved its hotel listings by including photographs and virtual tours, as well as price information. It has the clout to disrupt Expedia and Priceline if it so wishes. It has not done so yet. Google, many believe, would be loth to cannibalise such a large chunk of its main business: analysts think the big two will account for as much as 5% of its advertising revenue this year.
So besides Ctrip, perhaps the biggest threat to the big two OTAs is TripAdvisor, a popular travel-reviews site spun off by Expedia in 2011. This month it said travellers would be able to book hotels directly through its smartphone app. Weeks before Priceline’s deal with OpenTable, TripAdvisor announced it was buying La Fourchette, another online restaurant-booking service. The online-travel market is consolidating fast, but so far holidaymakers need not worry about a lack of options
by Laurie Sullivan, 14th April 2015, 2:35 PM
Phoenix Marketing International will release findings this week from an online travel audit analyzing consumer sentiment about the most popular travel industry ads on TV.
The study, “Online Travel Audit,” fielded in mid-March, analyzed 50 television ads from more than 30 travel search and reservation Web sites. It also looked at travel-related
advertisers, such as hotel and car rental, including American Airlines, Hotwire, Priceline, Trivago, Enterprise Rent-a-Car, Southwest, United and Hilton. The study compiled more than 3,500 responses.
Josh Berger, research director at Phoenix Marketing International, gave MediaDailyNews a first look at results. He said researchers also tested ads from American Airlines, Southwest, Delta, and United, as well as travel destinations like Orlando and Texas. “Ads can succeed several ways, whether they engage through a relevant message or empathy,” he said. “A straightforward approach as to what makes Trivago different than other search travel sites seems to work for the site.”
Business and leisure travelers identified Trivago for its advertisement The Perfect Hotel as the overall top-performing message. More than 55% of leisure and 50% of business travelers said they would recommend the site to others. The newcomer’s message tells consumers the site can compare hotel prices from more than 100 Web sites, adjusting the price depending on the budget.
Berger said Google did not rank within the first five sites. Other sites like TripAdvisor and Hotwire maintain a category lead. “We really think that as the survey product gets built up over time, it will give us a better understanding of trends and the growth of Google, as well as sites like Trivago,” he said.
Overall, Hotwire took the No. 2 and No. 3 spot among leisure travelers, with its ad From New York to Texas ranking No. 1 with the highest recall at 81%, followed by its Florida to Seattle ad with 79%. Expedia and Priceline rounded out the top five overall spots for leisure travelers, respectively.
While many leisure travelers are more concerned with saving money, business travelers look for conveniences. Business travelers ranked Hotwire No. 2 and Hotels.com, No. 3, with Kayak and Expedia following in that order. Hotels.com, The Obvious Choice & Captain Obvious, had the highest recall among business travelers.
Enterprise Rent-A-Car’s 50 Million Tree Pledge took the most buzzworthy ad in the category, with 30% of travelers saying they would likely speak positively about the advertisement to others. The ad improves the consumer’s impression of the car rental company by tapping into charitable effort. After seeing the ad, 60% of people feel better overall about the company compared to a travel average of 36%.
by Daniel Stone — April 9, 2014
New York – On Tuesday, Bloomberg released a report that Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) has reached an agreement with Room 77 to license that company’s hotel booking software. Room 77 is a start-up that has been funded by Expedia (Nasdaq:EXPE). The licensing deal marks Google’s intention to re-enter the online travel market after a stop-start attempts in the past, including the introduction of Hotel Price Ads (HPA) in 2010, the acquisition of ITA Software in 2011, and the launch of Hotel Finder the same year.
Along with Expedia, the online travel market is currently dominated by Priceline (NASDAQ:PCLN), Orbitz Worldwide (NYSE:WWW), and TripAdvisor (NASDAQ:TRIP). According to the ITB World Travel Trends report published last December, online travel booking now accounts for almost 70 percent of all booking and mobile bookings is one to the fastest growing segments overall. In the United States alone, the industry is worth more than $ 300 billion and given the recent performance of many of the companies in the sector there is still room for growth.
According to analysts the licensing deal by Google is most likely an attempt to upgrade their HPA, which essentially operates as the equivalent of ITA, a proprietary airline booking software. Whilst HPA is aimed at hotel marketers, the software would essentially allow Google to complete the loop, by facilitating the customer booking. If this is the case, Google would be positioning itself to cut the middlemen, such as Priceline and Expedia, while providing hotels with a better return on investment when compared to typical paid search campaigns.
Furthermore, industry analysts believe the move was driven by the Department of Justice’s ruling that allowed Google to acquire ITA Software on several conditions, including Google must allow licensed competitors to continue using the software, Google must take measures to prevent snooping, and the company must continue to maintain the software for licensees.
Through the licensing deal, it could be expected that Google might make more forays into the industry as their ‘competitors’ have little if any choice but to continue advertising through Google. While there is little direct evidence to suggest that such a move would hurt Priceline, Expedia, and TripAdvisor, almost 90 percent of what they spend on marketing goes to Google. As such, the increased emphasis on travel could dramatically alter the online travel market in the long-run. Shares in Google were up $ 4.10 in pre-market trading on Wednesday morning.
One of the worlds largest online travel booking sites released their official Chinese website and app earlier this month.”We hope to show our determination on developing the Chinese market by offering online hotel booking services of high quality,” said Zhuang Peifu, marketing director in China of hotels.com, at the press conference.
Hotel booking site HRS also entered the China market in July last year, offering Chinese language pages and a booking system on websites and mobile terminals. Its listings include castles and those with special services or designs, especially European destinations.China has become the largest tourism spender in the world, according to China Tourism Academy statistics released last August. With about 98 million person-time Chinese mainland tourists traveling overseas last year, the market has potential.
The prediction for this year is 16 percent growth to 114 million. Chinese online travel booking sites are also growing rapidly. Two domestic online travel booking sites – ctrip.com and qunar.com – ranked 10th and 15th globally on skift.com last October. Customized for Chinese”There are a lot of foreign websites offering hotel booking services with different promotion styles, but some of them set up their Chinese language pages early, which means it will be easier for them to habituate Chinese customers,” said Li Peng, a freelance overseas travel consultant.
Li recommended two sites under Priceline Group, booking.com and agoda.com as his first choices when booking foreign hotels for his customers.Cooperating with Chinas largest online booking site ctrip.com, booking.com has explored the Chinese market since 2012. With its customer services and Chinese language pages, the site has gained wide praise from Chinese users. Of course another reason booking.com is preferred by many Chinese customers is that most bookings can be canceled for free. The site can also automatically form an itinerary list with details of all the hotels customers are booking, a very necessary tool for Chinese people applying for travel visas in other countries, such as the Schengen visa for European countries. Most places can be changed or canceled for free later if they want to change their destinations or schedules.
Booking.com has taught a lesson to new arrivals. Both HRS and hotels.com announced it was free to cancel or change a booking. “These international websites have their strong database of hotels, which means many hotels can be found on all of these sites and the discounts they offer always make a difference over time,” Li said.HRS customized services for Chinese tourists. “China friendly” listed hotels offer special services for Chinese customers and “HRS Deals” promote half-price hotels daily.Agoda.com attracts members with its personal purchase points. “We can get the discount back by adding up the purchase points which means that the more we book,%
London, United Kingdom (PRWEB UK) 14 March 2014
How do readers discover interesting stories? How do publishers and authors gain access to their market? How do you pick where to go for your next holiday? How can travel destinations enter new markets, which have synergies with the travel market? The Buena Vista Book Club could well be the answer. This website provides a new platform to discover new authors/old favourites and new destinations to travel to.
Buena Vista = Beautiful view – opening your eyes/mind to new places to visit or new authors to try.
Book Club = an online place where members can discover new destinations and authors. Forget once a month, traditional book club, think online access.
The Buena Vista Book Club is membership based and free to join. Every month there will be new feature authors and a new feature destination to travel to. A bit like having a ‘local’ guide you around. Film content is Full HD quality. All of which will remain on the website and become a bank of information for members. And as a nice added extra for their members, there might be the chance to win a great travel prize, great book prizes from the featured authors and if they are lucky, a few more goodies and member only discounts too.
Perhaps their tag line sums it up best: Love travel? Love reading? Love Buena Vista Book Club.
Buena Vista Book Club launches with:
Julia Stagg, Fiction (publisher Hodder & Stoughton), discusses the wonderful characters of the Fogas Chronicles, set in a delightful village in the Ariege area, Midi-Pyrenees, South of France. This is a typical small French village, seen through the eyes of the locals. From catching up with friends in the café, indulging in some Pot-au-feu, washed down with a wine from the Languedoc region, or watching a stage of Le Tour de France, this is French village life at its most entertaining.
Mari Hannah, Crime (publisher Pan Macmillan) winner of the 2013 Polari First Book Prize. Mari introduces us to the gritty crime world of DCI Daniels and welcomes us to the Newcastle/Northumberland area. Using such dramatic backdrops as Hadrian’s Wall, Bamburgh Castle & Coast and The Angel of the North, DCI Daniels keeps Law and Order in the North.
Up from grabs will be a stack of fabulous books from Hodder & Stoughton Publishers and Pan Macmillan Publishers.
Who is behind Buena Vista Book Club?
Stuart Dunlop – spent 11 years at Travel Channel International, Producing and Directing on location before becoming Creative Director until 2010. He now owns LemonWedge Productions Ltd and has spent 2 years developing the concept and building the production team.
Alix Hitching – a Marketing & PR consultant with over 20 years experience in book publishing; marketing, PR and sales, mergers and business start-ups. In New Zealand, Alix set up the Hachette Little, Brown Book Group and Hachette Children’s Books. Now London based her roles have included Group Head of Publicity, Marketing Manager and as Export Sales Director within Hachette UK.