Prepare for ‘book now’ on Instagram! It’s the social platform taking travel by storm | Travel Industry News & Conferences – EyeforTravel

When Instagram launched back in 2010, it seemed like a great idea. By September 2011 it had 10m users and it wasn’t long before Facebook had spotted this fast-growing visually driven opportunity. By April 2012, Instagram had been drawn into the Facebook-fold and has been pretty unstoppable ever since.

According to EyeforTravel recent research, the fast-growing social platform has 400 million monthly users, up by around 25% on the previous year. Another stand out number of the research is that 60% of travel companies today are including Instagram in their marketing mix, putting it behind only Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and LinkedIn.

60% include Instagram in their marketing mix

95% the number of marketers using Facebook

75% of brands incorporate social content directly onto their brand website

Source: EyeforTravel

Given how much travellers love to take snaps and how shareable Instagram had made this, not to Facebook’s vested interest, this isn’t surprising.  However, there are some interesting developments on the horizon. According to James Quarles, Global Head of Business and Brand Development at Instagram: “Inspiring people to ‘Book Now’ on Instagram is already being adopted by the industry, including major hotel brands and airlines.”

The results, he adds, “are promising”.

Battling it out for marketing dollars

While it comes as no surprise that Facebook is the clear winner in the battle for marketing dollars (95% of marketers today use it), a number of newer networks are making inroads – Pinterest, Vimeo, Foursquare and Tumblr all make the top 10.

“Imagery is a critical part of the travel decision-making process and our research, which shows the rise of a number of sites specialising in photos and video, bears this out,” says Alex Hadwick, head of research at EyeforTravel.

How brands are spending their marketing dollars

Looking ahead, this points to growing opportunities for travel companies to engage in more direct marketing to consumers through social media channels. “They are also now able to close the loop, with several of these sites adding ‘buy buttons’ that can redirect to a brand’s booking pages,” says Hadwick.

The incorporation of travel companies onto social media is also happening in reverse, with brands placing social media directly onto their brand websites. Over three-quarters of those surveyed report that they incorporate social media content onto their websites already, and nearly half host blogs and videos.

Source: Prepare for ‘book now’ on Instagram! It’s the social platform taking travel by storm | Travel Industry News & Conferences – EyeforTravel

TravelClick Partners with Sojern to Expand Digital Media Network

Data-driven solution and access to premium inventory channels will drive bookings and ROI for hoteliers globally

TravelClick, a global provider of innovative cloud-based solutions that enable hotels to grow revenue, today announced that it has partnered with Sojern, one of the world’s leading performance marketing engines for travel brands. The partnership will enable TravelClick’s digital media customers to drive more bookings by leveraging Sojern’s data-driven marketing optimization engine and its access to premium inventory.

TravelClick works with thousands of hotels around the world, ranging from large chains to smaller independent properties, to manage and improve their digital advertising campaigns. TravelClick’s global media team, comprised of both media and hospitality industry experts, leverages proprietary data to determine the best media optimization strategy to achieve high returns on media investment for its clients.

Sojern joins TravelClick’s extensive network of partners enabling hoteliers to target the right audiences at the right time. “Our partnership with Sojern is another example of TravelClick’s commitment to providing our Media Solutions customers with access to a world class travel intent network,” said Scott Falconer, EVP/GM of Media Solutions for TravelClick.

“Sojern enhances TravelClick’s robust travel-focused network by leveraging their unique data partnerships to target travellers while they are making purchasing decisions online. We are confident that our hotel clients around the globe will benefit from access to this new inventory through this highly valuable partnership.”

“We are excited to be partnering with TravelClick to help hoteliers drive direct online bookings, increasing customer control and loyalty,” said Kurt Weinsheimer, Sojern’s SVP of Property Solutions. “Our real-time targeting platform filters through over 350 million traveller profiles and billions of travel intent signals to identify and attract travellers most likely to stay at our clients’ hotels. Combining our data-driven performance with TravelClick’s customer base of hotels worldwide will ensure that hoteliers get the most out of their digital advertising budgets.”

Source: TravelClick Partners with Sojern to Expand Digital Media Network

www.flyvia.com : get there for less

flyvialogojpeg

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.

Travel industry mobile sales boom nears $100bn – Computer Business Review

Mobile transactions accounted for 12.5 percent of total travel sales in 2014.

According to Euromonitor’s WTM Global Trends Report 2015 report for the travel industry, a total of $96 billion of travel sales were conducted on mobile globally in the year.

Western Europe had the highest spend on travel through mobile, with around $33-34 billion of sales on mobile in 2014.

This was ahead of North America’s total at around $30-31 billion, and Asia-Pacific at around $20 billion.

Euromonitor forecast that mobile sales would see 22 percent compound annual growth between 2014 and 2019.

The future would also see a growth in personalised services.

“A gradual shift to one-to-one marketing in travel will be evident, with each consumer treated in a different way in terms of the overall marketing mix including pricing,” the report reads.

“Beacon technology is expected to take off in the next few years as a powerful tool to provide personalised experiences to consumers on the go.”

Download the report

Source: Travel industry mobile sales boom nears $100bn – Computer Business Review

How booking APIs are changing the online travel game – Tnooz

This is a viewpoint from Sean Sewell, co-founder and EMEA business development director, Performance Horizon.

Digital travel sales are expected to surpass $481 billion worldwide this year according to eMarketer.

The set-up

We’ve already seen many interesting developments this year. Google moved beyond being a third-party traffic referer and entered the distribution space. This bold move, which allows consumers to book travel directly via its Hotel Finder, puts the search giant in direct competition with some of its biggest customers such as Hotels.com and Skyscanner.  Likewise, TripAdvisor has evolved beyond being just a travel content site and now allows consumers to read reviews and book all in one place.

Most consumers are unaware that they get this seamless experience thanks to something behind the scenes – application programming interfaces (APIs).

The solution

Specifically, it is booking APIs are changing where and how consumers book travel. Here’s how booking APIs are driving change and how all parties – such as travel brands, digital marketing partners,  publishers and consumers – benefit from an increased investment and integration of online and mobile booking APIs.  Also addressed are how travel brands and digital marketing partners are working to overcome booking API challenges.

Travel BrandsBooking APIs are not new – far from it – so why are travel brands waking up to the potential of using booking APIs to optimize conversions and maximize inventory distribution?  First and foremost. it is the rapidly shifting sands of how consumers browse and buy. Most travel brands will tell you the same thing: people research flights and hotels on their phones in the morning and book on desktops later in the day.

While mobile experiences are getting better, many brands have not fully developed a streamlined mobile booking process.  Mobile is where digital marketing partners – such as Google, TripAdvisor, metasearch and OTAs –  and booking APIs are a perfect match. These partners understand mobile, not necessarily a core competency of a travel brand whose primary focus is putting planes in the air and providing great accommodations for guests.  By making their booking APIs available to a  range of online and mobile partners, travel brands can increase market distribution and booking conversions beyond traditional partners, while stemming drop off rates by providing the most seamless customer experiences.

Digital Marketing Partners

The benefits of booking APIs work both ways. Publishers other than metas, are leveraging booking APIs to both provide their readers with better experiences and boost their own profitability as a digital marketing partner.

Today’s consumers move on quickly if they can’t easily find information or a complete a transaction. For publishers large and small, eyeballs and time on site are like physical currency. In order to reduce bounce rate, publishers must provide experiences that enable readers to complete actions from start to finish all without leaving their site.

Reader’s Digest opened up travel booking directly from its online properties. This makes sense, as publishers know their readers best. By working with travel brands who have vast amounts of data (past bookings, frequent fliers, first class vs. economy), publishers can drive conversions and increase their revenues by providing readers with the most relevant offers.

It’s not all straightforward however.  Publishers have many challenges when using booking APIs, especially around credit card transactions, security, and data ownership. Many times, brands will control everything in order to secure customer data.

Overcoming challenges

In addition to the security issue, booking APIs can come with challenges around formatting and the investment to do so.  This is one pain-point IATA’s New Distribution Capability (NDC) hopes to address.  As booking APIs evolve and become easier to implement and use, more and more partners will work directly with brands, increasing distribution and potentially reducing the need for more traditional tracking methods via affiliate networks and pure tracking providers.  And the technology is there for brands and their digital marketing partner to connect directly and share/track data in real-time.

To summarize, I think the trend toward booking APIs that’s taken hold this year will set the stage for an exciting era in the travel vertical. Competition will increase as the lines continue to blur between meta-search engines and OTAs, and as Google aggressively expands its direct booking clients.In general, the smartest brands and digital marketing partners will leverage booking APIs to unlock continued growth and profitability.

Source: How booking APIs are changing the online travel game – Tnooz

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

Study Identifies AdWords Benchmarks for B2B Verticals | KoMarketing

A new study by Bizible provides insight into benchmark data for AdWords success across seven B2B verticals.

Which B2B verticals are getting the most bang for their buck on Google AdWords? A new study by Bizible crunched the numbers using AdWords and Salesforce data to determine the answer and provide industry-specific benchmarks for B2B marketers.

At the top of the list, in terms of percentage of leads converting to percentage of revenue, are manufacturing and professional services. Both verticals were found to have a bump in opportunity-to-revenue conversion.

In manufacturing, AdWords represents 23 percent of all leads and opportunities generated and is responsible for 25 percent of the revenue generated by the entire pipeline. “This shows that leads that come from AdWords are high quality,” the authors of the study wrote.
B2B Marketing Verticals

Travel and finance verticals draw the highest percentage of leads (nearly 50 and 44 percent, respectively) from paid search. The travel vertical’s revenue percentage drops off significantly (to around 25 percent), but the finance vertical generates just under 40 percent of its revenue from AdWords leads.

“In every industry, AdWords contributes to at least 20 percent of all leads. PPC is clearly an important, if not the most important, marketing channel for those two industries (travel and finance) in particular,” the authors of the study wrote.

The analysis included data collected from 90 Bizible customers in the first six months of 2015.

Paid search top channel for ROI measurement

When it comes to ROI measurement, paid search was found to be the top digital channel by an Econsultancy and Oracle Marketing Cloud study earlier this year.

ROI is an important element for marketers to show their success, but also one of the biggest challenges. Approximately 24 percent of respondents to a study in February cited proving ROI as their top digital marketing challenge.

Source: Study Identifies AdWords Benchmarks for B2B Verticals | KoMarketing

The Iranian Tour Continues in Tabriz

Duncan Alexander from The Travel Marketing Store has been delivering a keynote address as the 5th Conference on Digital Marketing in Tourism in Iran.  The four city conference has been held in Terhan, Mashad, Tabriz and will be held in Banda Abbas on Thursday 3rd September.

The topic of Duncan’s presentation has been “The Impact of Technology on Travel Marketing and the opportunity for National Tourism Platforms”.  Speaking in Tabriz today Duncan stated that Iran had a unique opportunity as a nation to develop a single source, multi-language distribution platform for its tourism products.   “Should the right public private partnership be created”, he stated, “Iran could build a new generation distribution platform for its magnificent tourism products”.

P1030486Following a moving visit to the  Holy Shrine of Iman Reza in Mashad earlier this week Duncan today visited another UNESCO site, the Bazaar of Tabriz which is the largest covered Bazaar in the world. He commentated “This again, like most of the experiences we have had in the country so far, was amazing.  The Bazaar was a sensual feast of sights, sounds and smells and should be in every persons bucket list for Iran” .

The Digital Marketing in Tourism Conference, organised by media company Kaspid, has been attended by nearly 2,000 delegates so far.  “The thirst for knowledge sharing is so evident from the enthusiasm of the delegates who are keen to learn how to develop their visitor economies through studying international best practices”, stated Duncan.  “There are certainly new partnerships to be forged in this culturally and historically rich country”.

Illusions to complete its first European acquisition

Illusions in European acquisition first

Dubai-headquartered company to buy Polish travel technology firm anixe

Illusions is poised to make its first ever acquisition, with advanced negotiations under way to purchase Polish travel technology firm anixe for an undisclosed sum.

The deal was announced on 23rd April at the FVW Travel Technology Day in Cologne, Germany, will give the Dubai head-quartered travel technology specialist access to exclusive technology, global hotel content and a brand new client base across Europe.

It’s an agreement that will see anixe, which specialises in distributing global hotel product to the European and UK travel trade, become integrated into the Illusions business.

Illusions Founder and CEO Faisal Memon said the acquisition allowed the technology firm to “cherry pick” the facets of the anixe business that would both complement and enhance its core product and its rapidly-expanding global travel marketplace, the i-World Travel eXchange (iWTX).

“It was anixe’s technology, customers, infrastructure, distribution strength and crucially, its team of technology experts, headed up by a very smart CEO, that clinched the deal and I believe we can grow this into a much bigger business,” he said.

“The product and distribution capabilities of anixe will grow iWTX’s hotel inventory to exponential proportions, with our combined offering amounting to a staggering half a million unique hotels.”

Memon has made no secret of his quest to be market leader in Germany, Europe’s biggest travel market in a short time frame, paving the way for the domination of the entire continent.

Illusions already counts Der Touristik, part of the REWE Group, as one its top clients and the anixe partnership brings another German heavyweight into its fold – the country’s fourth largest German tour operator and travel agency, FTI Touristik.

Under deal terms anixe’s current base in Wroclaw, known as the ‘Silicon Valley’ of Poland, will become Illusions’ first office in Eastern Europe and its second on the continent. Its first European office opened its doors in Lisbon, Portugal just last week.

“Setting up a satellite office in Poland demonstrates our commitment to the European market, in particular Germany, and brings us much closer to our key clients, allowing us to meet their needs more effectively,” said Memon

anixe is a technology firm that like Illusions, has spent 18 years creating customised solutions specifically for the travel industry.

The company’s Founder and CEO Piotr Zolnierek said he been looking for an opportunity to grow his business for some time but had rejected acquisition requests from several interested parties until Memon came along.

“We share the same attitude to management and business and there are huge synergies between our two businesses,” he said.

“At anixe we have some unique inventions that Illusions can market and sell and with the expertise of our two companies combined, we will create a technology firm like no other.”

anixe will give Illusions access to technology that maps the same hotel product across different sources to a room type level, refining searches to show the best deals by room category, which no other system can offer. These searches are also customisable by market.

What’s more, anixe also boasts the technology to generate the different cache file formats unique to the German, French and Dutch markets, plus its processing times are lightning fast.

Memon said anixe’s innovative hotel mapping, real-time caching and booking engine technology was one of the firm’s top assets.

“With this acquisition comes a number of enhancements to our platform, with functionality and out-of-the-box solutions for the global travel industry that will set us apart in this competitive market place,” he said.

via Tour Operator & DMC software – Illusions Online Travel Technology – News – Illusions in European acquisition first.

Expedia’s Orbitz deal sends travel stocks flying – CBS News

Expedia logoExpedia’s Orbitz deal sends travel stocks flying

When Online travel service Expedia (EXPE) announced plans to buy smaller rival Orbitz Worldwide (OWW) for $1.3 billion, it became the latest consolidation in the $444 billion online travel industry. Shares of both companies surged on the news. In afternoon trading Expedia was up nearly 17 percent, and Orbitz had shot almost 22 percent higher.

On the takeover news, shares of other travel sites also took off. TripAdvisor (TRIP) rose nearly 24 percent, and Home Away (AWAY) was trading 7 percent higher, indicating that investors see more industry deals on the horizon. Even industry giant Priceline (PCLN) was up more than 3 percent. Companies outside the U.S. are especially attractive to the larger players, analysts say.

Bellevue, Washington-based Expedia will pay $12 per share in cash for Orbitz, which is headquartered in Chicago. That’s a 29 percent increase over Orbitz’ average trading price during the previous five days. The deal would add Orbitz to Expedia’s already-formidable lineup of online travel brands, which include Hotels.com, Trivago and Hotwire, and promises to ratchet up competition in an industry where it’s already intense.

“It was just a matter of who would buy Orbitz and when,” said Henry H. Harteveldt, founder and travel industry analyst at Atmosphere Research Group, in an interview. “Orbitz just really didn’t have a clear marketing direction. They have just been kind of an aimless brand for the past three or four years. ”

Orbitz CEO Barney Harford, a former Expedia executive, could remain with the company after the sale is completed, according to Harteveldt. An Orbitz spokesperson told CBS MoneyWatch that no announcements about personnel have been made and declined to provide a timeline about when the deal might close.

“Barney came from Expedia, and I think he’d be comfortable returning to the fold,” Harteveldt said. “However, Expedia will have to give him a meaty-enough role, and he’ll want the opportunity for further advancement.”

A larger Expedia should be good news for consumers because it will keep the power of airlines in check, according to the Business Travel Coalition, which represents corporate travel departments.

“Strong, independent distributors are necessary to keep the airlines honest on their websites and in their offerings to consumers,” wrote Kevin Mitchell, the organization’s chair, in an email to CBS MoneyWatch. “These distributors provide consumers with the comparison-shopping tools that keep pricing discipline in the system. In the alternative, consumers would have to go to the Walled Gardens of each airline website and spend hours trying to determine the best deal. Of course, often, they would not.”

Expedia’s growing strength in the travel market, however, is bound to worry suppliers of travel services, according to Harteveldt. He added that the impact on consumers remains to be seen, though most won’t notice any changes, at least at first.

“The hotels and airlines in particular will be greatly concerned about the juggernaut that Expedia has become,” he said. “Right now, Orbitz and Expedia compete to offer access to inventory and prices. If the merger is approved, eventually Orbitz will be powered by the same back-end system as Expedia, with the same prices as a result. The only difference will be the web page’s design.”

Investors expecting more deals are probably on the right track, considering how active the industry has been consolidating recently. Priceline acquired rival Kayak Software in 2013 for $522.4 million. A year later, the Connecticut-based company branched out a bit and bought restaurant reservation service Open Table for $2.6 billion.

In July, Expedia said it was buying Australian booking site Wotif.com for $658 million. And barely a month ago, it announced plans to buy rival Travelocity for $280 million. In fact, just a week ago, Expedia Chief Financial Officer Mark Okerstrom shot down speculation that his company would be doing more acquisitions, telling The Wall Street Journal, “we’ve got our hands full right now.”

According to research firm Phocuswright, online travel agencies account for about 16 percent of the total U.S. travel market, or about $51.4 billion, a sign that the industry has plenty of room to grow.

“It has become a two-horse race between Expedia and Priceline globally.” Said Phocuswright Vice President Douglas Quinby

via Expedia’s Orbitz deal sends travel stocks flying – CBS News.