Travel Marketing Budgets 2016: 5 Must-Watch Digital Trends [Infographic]

 Just as travelers plan their trips to make the most of their stays, travel marketing experts need to plan their digital budgets and strategies to make the most of their spend. But with a new year come new choices, channels, and chances for online success.

To make the best digital decisions, travel marketers need to know the top trends, tech, and tactics that will matter to marketing in 2016. Rather than track down all of this data, your ticket to the latest travel insights is a fact-packed infographic created by MDG Advertising called Travel Marketing Budgets 2016: 5 Must-Watch Trends.

It pinpoints the five key strategies for making the most of your travel marketing budget and business over the next 12 months. To arrive at the right budget decisions, check out this informative infographic.

1. Spend on Your Website

Investing in your website is one of the wisest decisions you can make. With more and more people looking and booking on travel brand websites than third-party sites, your website delivers the first impression of your travel brand. And an optimized, user-friendly website can create a lasting impression and drive visitors to book without a second thought. The infographic shows:67% of travellers think it’s simpler to book on a travel brand website than a third-party site.

Almost two-thirds of travellers think it’s less expensive to book on a travel brand website.

Top Takeaway: To make the most of this mind-set, view your website as an important digital hub that gives online users everything they want and need.

2. Optimize MobileMobile has become a must in people’s lives, especially when researching and reserving travel. In 2016, even more travellers will be searching for travel online. According to the infographic, you can expect: 49% increase in mobile search for hotels and cruises. 47% rise in mobile search for car rentals and tours and attractions.

Top Takeaway: To serve this mobile market, make sure that all of your digital offerings, experiences, and communications are optimized for every mobile device.

3. Expect to Welcome More Millennials

Millennials already make up 40% of leisure travellers who book travel online. In 2016, their share of both the business and personal travel market will increase even more. To target these young adults, it’s essential to understand that Millennials have specific travel tendencies, such as:  They frequently book travel and share their experiences on mobile devices and digital platforms.

They tend to extend and blend business trips into personal vacations.

They spend more each day on trips than other age groups.

Top Takeaway: Use these Millennial insights to develop your digital properties and target your online messages.

4. Revisit Reviews

In 2016, online reviews and review sites will matter more than ever to travellers. According to the infographic:64% of travellers visit travel review sites like TripAdvisor for vacation ideas.

Almost half of travellers have been compelled to write a review after a travel experience.

Top Takeaway: Since these reviews are so important, travel brands need to regularly revisit and review all guest reviews to learn what they liked and lacked in their experiences.

5. Keep Your Eye on Video

Digital video is becoming more and more popular with travellers, especially on social networks. The infographic reveals these stunning statistics:

Top Takeaway: In 2016, video is a vital investment that must be incorporated with social media to reach and resonate with travellers.

 

Source: Travel Marketing Budgets 2016: 5 Must-Watch Digital Trends [Infographic]

www.flyvia.com : get there for less

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The Travel Marketing Store has started a new project to assist destinations to more effectively market stopovers.  For leisure or even business travellers significant savings can be made by flying indirectly to a destination and if planned well can create an additional vacation or business opportunity.

flyvia.com brings together three leading affiliate marketing programmes with Dohop, the flight meta search engine, Booking.com and GetYourGuide for destination activities.

On one site and with partner links you can plan and book cost effective stop over trips.

Expedia: all the key pieces fall into place | Travel Industry News & Conferences – EyeforTravel

expedia-logoInteresting analytical review of Expedia’s position in the marketplace by Eye for Travel…

“Has the OTA industry become a duopoly now that the US Justice Department has nodded through Expedia’s $1.3bn acquisition of Orbitz Worldwide? Certainly Wall Street has seen celebrations that only Expedia and Priceline among the monster groups are left standing. (Less research work to do!) The share prices of the two have been very upbeat since the head of the Justice Department’s Anti-Division, Bill Baer, announcement that “we concluded that the acquisition is unlikely to harm competitors and consumers”.

Source: Expedia: all the key pieces fall into place | Travel Industry News & Conferences – EyeforTravel

Booking.com Finally Joins Major Hotel Chains in Book on TripAdvisor – Skift

Trip Advisor

“A Skift take”

Booking.com’s participation in Book on TripAdvisor is a major win for TripAdvisor, which launched its Instant Booking product a couple of years ago and was slow to get hotels, and especially big online travel agencies to join. The U.S. Justice Department was correct, during the Expedia-Orbitz merger review, to see TripAdvisor Instant Booking as an emerging player to heighten competition.

By Dennis Schaal: Skift

Source & Read more: Booking.com Finally Joins Major Hotel Chains in Book on TripAdvisor – Skift

Emergence of Google and TripAdvisor booking helps pave way for Orbitz takeover by Expedia – Travolution.co.uk

The prospect of massive online travel consolidation has been triggered after Expedia won approval from US competition authorities to take over rival Orbitz for $1.3 billion.

The US Justice Department said a six-month investigation had found no evidence that the merger would lessen options for consumers. It noted that Orbitz is a relatively small source of bookings for airlines, car rental companies and hotels. Hotwire and Hotels.com are owned by Expedia, which also purchased Travelocity in January for $280 million. That paved the way for the acquisition of Orbitz, which reported $10 billion in bookings last year for air fares and hotels. Orbitz Worldwide owns ebookers in the UK together with cheaptickets.com and hotelclub.com. Booking.com, OpenTable and Kayak are owned by Expedia’s rival Priceline.

The American Hotel and Lodging Association had argued that the merger would create a “duopoly” between Expedia and Priceline, which will now control 95% of the online travel-marketplace, a business that generates $152 billion a year, the Washington Post reported.

But Bill Baer, head of the Justice Department’s anti-trust division, said: “We know online travel booking is important to US consumers and to the airlines, car rental companies and hotels that serve those consumers.

Over the course of a six-month investigation, lawyers and economists from the antitrust division reviewed tens of thousands of business documents, analysed transactional data from the merging companies and from other industry players and interviewed over 60 industry participants of various types and sizes. “The antitrust division investigated the concerns that have been expressed about this transaction. We took those concerns seriously and factored into our analysis all of the information provided by third parties. At the end of this process, however, we concluded that the acquisition is unlikely to harm competition and consumers. “There are several reasons for this conclusion. First, we uncovered no evidence in our investigation that the merger is likely to result in new charges being imposed directly on consumers for using Expedia or Orbitz. So we focused our investigation on the commissions Expedia and Orbitz negotiate with airlines, car rental companies and hotels. “Second, we found that Orbitz is only a small source of bookings for most of these companies and thus has had no impact in recent years on the commissions Expedia charges. “Many independent hotel operators, for example, do not contract with Orbitz, and those hotels that do often obtain very few bookings from its site. In addition, beyond Expedia and Orbitz, travel service providers have alternative ways to attract customers and obtain bookings.

Source: Emergence of Google and TripAdvisor booking helps pave way for Orbitz takeover by Expedia – Travolution.co.uk

As OTAs boost spending, hotels continue online booking fight: Travel Weekly

As OTAs boost spending, hotels continue online booking fight: Travel Weekly.

Expedia logoThe world’s two largest OTAs are boosting spending on marketing while hotel lobbyists are calling for federal regulators to stop the proposed merger of two of the most popular OTAs in the U.S., reflecting a heightened battle between suppliers and intermediaries for a greater share of travel spending.

Expedia Inc. and Priceline Group each ratcheted up second-quarter marketing costs. Expedia did so as it made preparations for its pending acquisition of smaller competitor Orbitz Worldwide, a deal that is still being reviewed by the Justice Department. Orbitz also recorded higher second-quarter costs.

The Expedia-Orbitz deal has drawn fire from the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA). Earlier this month, the trade group publicly opposed the $1.34 billion deal, first announced in February, citing factors such as a narrowing choice of booking channels, higher costs for smaller hotel chains and the higher probability of deceptive practices from “rogue” OTAs.

A combined Expedia-Orbitz would control almost three-quarters of the U.S. online market, while the AH&LA estimated that Expedia, Orbitz and Priceline combines account for more than 95% of the OTA market.

Meanwhile, some hoteliers are drawing their own fire for their efforts to secure more bookings through direct channels.

Marriott International earlier this month launched a marketing campaign promoting Marriott’s website as having the best rates on the hotelier’s rooms. Ads concluded with the tagline “It pays to book direct.”

While that effort was likely geared to pull prospective guests away from OTAs, ASTA last week termed the language “misleading” and called for the hotelier to discontinue the campaign “immediately.”

Suppliers and their channels continue to battle over their respective shares of the U.S. online hotel sector, where annual spending is predicted to jump 55% between 2012 and 2016, to $58.1 billion, according to a Phocuswright report released in November. OTAs have been gradually pulling some of that spending away from hoteliers’ websites. Last year, OTAs accounted for 48% of online hotel spending in the U.S., up from 46% in 2012.

Hoteliers fear that a combined Expedia and Orbitz will result in a further loss of booking dollars.

“We believe this transaction and the resulting consolidation of the online travel marketplace will result in significant negative consequences, particularly for consumers, but also for the large number of our members who are small business owners and franchised properties,” AH&LA CEO Katherine Lugar wrote in an Aug. 6 statement.

Meanwhile, Priceline and Expedia continue to ramp up spending in their competition with each other, and those higher expenses were reflected in both companies’ second-quarter financial results.

Expedia’s second-quarter selling and marketing costs jumped 19% from a year earlier, while general and administrative expenses surged 38%. The company, which in May sold its 62.5% stake in China-based OTA eLong, also reported that gross bookings excluding eLong rose 20% to $15.1 billion, while room-night growth excluding eLong rose 35%.

Net income quadrupled from a year earlier, to $449.6 million, though that increase was largely the result of its $508.8 million gain on the eLong sales. Revenue increased 11%, to $1.66 billion.

Priceline’s online advertising spend rose 21%, while sales and marketing costs were up 26%, outpacing the company’s 7.4% revenue growth to $2.09 billion. Gross bookings advanced 11%, to $15 billion, with international bookings rising 30% while U.S. bookings remained flat.

Orbitz took a $4.25 million loss, compared with year-earlier net income of $6.88 million. Revenue fell 3.4%, to $239.6 million. The cost of revenue surged 34%, largely as a result of higher costs related to implementing systems to stem fraudulent transactions. Gross bookings fell 8%, to $3.09 billion, as standalone air and vacation-package revenue were both down 14%.

Financial analysts appeared to be unconcerned about Expedia’s higher spending, noting that it was appropriate for a company whose recent acquisitions included Travelocity and Australia-based Wotif.

In an Aug. 9 note to clients, Deutsche Bank analyst Lloyd Walmsley wrote, “We see a long runway for the company to continue to improve its operations across its legacy assets and acquired businesses, with better website conversion, increased hotel supply, deeper penetration of existing hotel partners and improved marketing optimization.” Walmsley maintained his “buy” rating on the stock.

And while Guggenheim Partners analyst Jake Fuller in an Aug. 6 note to clients classified Orbitz’s second-quarter performance as “weak,” he maintained that many of the challenges were short term and typical for a company on the verge of being acquired. He added that the recent performance of Travelocity could hint at a better future for Orbitz, as well.

“We note that Travelocity appears to be ramping revenue post acquisition as it benefits from a higher converting platform, access to more hotel inventory and better marketing support,” Fuller wrote. “A weak performance [by Orbitz] probably does not change the prospects for the deal.”

 

The secrets of digital travel ad targeting » ClickZ UK

The secrets of digital travel ad targeting » ClickZ UK.

Ahead of StrategyEye’s Future of Travel event on Wednesday 2nd September, Stephen Tayor, vice president and managing director of travel ad platform Sojern, talks through the do’s and don’ts of targeting consumers in digital travel.

The Future of Travel, at The Escalator in East London, will feature keynote speeches from Expedia, Hostelworld and Sojern along with five-minute pitches from start-ups including Hostmaker, Tripster and Triptease. Click here for more information24.

What is Sojurn’s primary focus?

We place ourselves firmly in the middle of marketing, advertising and travel technology. We’re a business that specialises 100% in the travel sector. The digital environment for travel is huge. Making sense of it all and helping the big travel brands communicate with the right person at the right time, in the right way, is what we aim to do.

We collect and aggregate huge volumes of anonymous travel intent data by working with companies like airlines and meta search companies.

What is changing in the way consumers are doing their own research?

The power that has gone to consumers is incredible. There is such a proliferation of information available, which is the reason why we exist. Online travel agencies are appearing such as HotelTonight, TripAdviser and Airbnb. Where I book, how I book, when I book – if you’re a hotel, how on earth do they reach the right client? That’s the problem we try and help solve for the big travel brands. The proliferation just means it’s a very exciting time, and on the brand side of it, it all comes down to use of data. With our data you can see when people are booking their flight, this is when they are travelling, and using that data a brand can work out when the right time is to talk to them. The data is invaluable.

What’s the key to targeting the right customer?

It comes down to the quality of the data you use and how you deploy it. Generic retargeting to everybody, which goes on a lot, is the worst rule of data marketing. Trying to sell something to someone that they just chose not to buy is stupid, Bombarding people with ads is irritating. The key is better and better data. If someone hasn’t bought something there is a reason, so you need to use the next level of data.

For example, give them options – we know for example that a certain person was searching for Chicago as well as New York, so offer them that as a flight option. Retargeting can be incredibly powerful, but the vast majority is wasted. It’s not a trivial problem to solve.

What are the key trends you see emerging in digital travel in the different markets?

We are in the US and Europe and we are expanding because the majority of travel companies exist all over the world. We are being pulled by our European clients into the Middle East, so Dubai is incredibly important for us. Then there was a pull into Asia Pacific through Singapore – Singapore itself is a natural travel hub and gateway to the rest of Asia. Singapore and Dubai are investing huge amounts of their GDP into travel products.

There are big differences between markets. The US is a phenomenal business market for us, but the vast majority is domestic travel. London, however, is an international market. The data targeting therefore needs to be a lot more granular. Germany is a market where travel agents are still prominent and going strong. Asia Pacific, where we are still learning our way, it is a market that is changing the whole time, and everybody is adjusting there, there is a fast growing middle class, and many affluent customers to target. It used to be about Japan, but now China is driving growth. Each market has very distinct travel patterns and you need to suss them out.

Find out more and learn how to attend The Future of Travel here.

The Week in Travel Stats: Learn Where Your Clients Could Be Headed Next | Travel Agent Central

The Week in Travel Stats: Learn Where Your Clients Could Be Headed Next | Travel Agent Central.

From last-minute summer road trips to a look at which destinations are trending right now, the week in travel stats provided a good glimpse into what’s hot in travel for the rest of the year.

U.S., Spain Top Most-Searched Destinations in Q2

This week travel marketing platform Sojern released a look at the most-searched destinations of the second quarter of 2015, an indicator of where travelers are looking to book at the moment.

The United States and Spain were the most-searched destinations, followed by Italy, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Portugal, Turkey, Greece and Russia. The latter re-entered the list after a quarter’s hiatus, replacing Thailand.

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Beyond the top 10, here are the destinations that captured the most traveler interest by region since summer 2014:

In North America, Haiti moved up 34 ranks since summer 2014, after experiencing a dramatic decline in tourism in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake, followed by Iceland, up 11 spots.

For travelers from Western Europe, Cuba pushed up 12 places to position 41, thanks to a lot of media attention and the detente with the U.S. Czech Republic, Iceland and Romania each moved seven places up in the ranking.

In Latin America, Aruba’s appeal increased over last year, pushing it up 11 spots, followed, by Hungary, up 10 spots. The latter is one of the more affordable European destinations, as a non-Eurozone country.

In Southeast Asia, Bangladesh moved up eight spots and Qatar seven since summer 2014.

For travelers from the Middle East, Sudan gained the most popularity (up 24 spots), followed closely by Bosnia and Herzegovina (21 spots), a country which the World Tourism Organization estimates will have the third highest tourism growth rate in the world by 2020.

Read more

Top Restaurants for Last-Minute Summer Road Trips

Even as we head into August, clients could still be looking to take one last summer road trip. OpenTable has released its 2015 Summer Road Trip Restaurant Guide highlighting top eateries for your clients to visit.

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Compiled by OpenTable insiders across the nation, the guide highlights culinary destinations along some of the country’s most popular road trip routes.

The OpenTable 2015 Summer Road Trip Restaurant Guide includes more than 100 restaurants, from Grace in Portland, Maine, to Meriwether’s Restaurant & Skyline Farm in Portland, Oregon. OpenTable’s regional teams around the United States curated the guide.

Source: OpenTable

1 in 4 Business Travelers Can’t Use Ride Share Services

This week also saw a flurry of research into the world of business travel from the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) Convention 2015.

As part of a panel discussion at the event, the GBTA Foundation released a new report on the future of ground transportation in the sharing economy. Key takeaway: With one in four business travelers barred from using new ride share services, rental cars and taxis remain the most commonly used methods of ground transportation among business travelers.

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“Our research shows one in four (24 percent) travel buyers say their company does not allow their business travelers to use ride-sharing companies, by far the highest percentage for any form of ground transportation,” said GBTA Executive Director and COO Michael W. McCormick. “In addition, a large number of companies still have not adopted policies around ride-sharing companies, revealing a need for education about the benefits and the risks. GBTA hopes this study is the start to closing that knowledge gap and we welcome an open and constructive dialogue on this topic.”

Read more

Business Travel Spending to Hit Record High of $1.25 Trillion in 2015

Another report from the GBTA Convention brought some good news for business travel. Driven by a surge in China, business travel spending is expected to hit a record high of $1.25 trillion in 2015.

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Despite recent economic turbulence, China business travel will increase by 61 percent over the next five years, from $261 billion in 2014 to $420 billion in 2019. That increase is greater than the increases in business travel growth in the next 8 largest countries combined, including the U.S., Germany, India, U.K., Indonesia, France, Turkey and Japan.

“Despite recent economic speedbumps, China will pull away as the global leader in business travel over the next five years,” said McCormick. “On the horizon, we’ve identified five nations that are also seeing extraordinary growth and could very well turn into the business travel markets of the future. Another market to watch is India, which is statistically where China was 15 years ago.”

China DIY travel site Directons smashes crowdinvesting goal

Premium DIY travel site for Chinese going overseas smashes equity crowdfunding goal,  Paul Bischoff

Up until a few years ago, most travellers from China were relegated to group tours – packed onto planes and buses with at least a dozen other tourists, led around on a strict schedule by a guide with a flag and loudspeaker.

But China’s younger generations, with their growing incomes and fewer travel restrictions, are quickly shifting to DIY travel, which offers more flexibility and freedom than group tours. As a result, a huge wave of startups have cropped up to serve their needs. Now the highly-fragmented market is nearing its saturation point.

“It is true that China’s DIY market is already very hot and is trending towards over-saturation,” says Robin Shao, CEO and founder of Directions Travel. “But we believe that this is more of a ‘quantity’ over-saturation, rather than a ‘quality’ saturation. There are a lot of companies out there doing this, but they are not necessarily meeting the needs of consumers.”

Directions has two core competitive strengths, Shao says. The first is that the start-up reaches out to people who have unique experiences and hobbyists in certain fields to introduce unique attractions, restaurants, and accommodation. “We source our trip ideas from individuals who have on the ground experience,” he explains. “On our site, users can learn about these people and their background to pick out the one that best matches their interests.”

Secondly, Directions uses these human resources to cater to customers who want unique experiences. “Though the independent travel market is hot, there are very few companies that are willing to put in the effort to create products that meet specific needs,” Shao says.

But what constitutes a “unique” experience is rather subjective, and Directions doesn’t seem to tackle the most empirical deciding factor for most travellers: cost. Whether the promise of quality can outweigh customers’ budget concerns in this highly competitive market will be critical to the startup’s success.

The company focuses on mid- to high-end customers travelling overseas. Some of Directions’ destinations include the US, Bhutan, Myanmar, and Latin America. Competing travel sites include Lvmama, LY.com, ByeCity, Ctrip, Qunar, Aoliday, Woqu, Tuniu, and many, many more.

An invested crowd

Directions was chosen as one of the 11 inaugural startups to raise funding through ecommerce site JD’s new equity crowdfunding platform. In equity crowdfunding, backers actually take a slice of equity in the company they support in contrast to the rewards-based Kickstarter model. The crowdinvesting site just launched earlier this week, and Directions has already doubled its RMB 2.5 million (US$403,000) goal, surpassing it within the first 24 hours.

“We believed that it would be a fast, efficient way to raise money,” Shao says. “For an early startup, the first fund is the most important one, but you cannot spend too much time raising it or you might run out of money before you make it.”

Venture capital is no longer the exclusive right of big organizations, Shao says. The equity crowdfunding model also helps attract early supporters. ” If they are willing to invest some funds into us, then they will certainly be willing to help us promote and improve our products.”

On top of that, it also just announced an RMB 1.5 million (US$242,000) seed investment from Gobi VC. Gobi’s Shanghai-based venture partner Michael Zhu says the firm is enthusiastic about the equity crowdfunding model. “As an early stage VC, Gobi believes that the industry should embrace this type of innovative crowdfunding model. It empowers society, it helps startups grow and improves transparency within the VC industry.”

Gobi also invested in another startup that successfully raised funds on JD, spicy seafood delivery company Jacky’s Shrimp. Zhu says the exposure a startup gets through this sort of platform is a huge bonus.

“Usually, a seed stage investment may experience difficulty in getting the word out, especially with how active China’s early stage investment scene is these days. It really builds momentum,” he says. “We are also able to raise more money for the company than we would normally be able to at this stage of growth.”

Zhu says the the results exceeded his expectations as both companies surpassed their investment goals by over 150 percent in under 24 hours, each with a couple months remaining.

Directions will put the fresh funds toward new products, optimizing existing products, and conducting on-the-ground inspections of its trip packages. It will also spend some cash on improving its IT system and on marketing.

Editing by Malavika Velayanikal

via China DIY travel site Directons smashes crowdinvesting goal.