Up-close with Expedia’s fast-growing ad agency – Tnooz

Little has been written about Expedia Media Solutions, the small but fast-growing advertising agency arm of the online travel giant Expedia. In 2015, the division is estimated to have generated about $200 million in revenue. That’s pocket change for the Bellevue, Wash.,-based parent company, which earned nearly $2 billion in the third quarter of last year alone.

Yet Expedia Media Solutions — or MeSo, as it’s known internally — is notable for its solid growth. The division had a 23% annualized growth rate on a nine-month, trailing period, as of the third-quarter, according to a Tnooz analysis of the parent company’s filings, which was corroborated by Kevin Kopelman, director of research at investment firm Cowen and Company. (Expedia declined to break out official numbers for this story.)

Fractured market

Expedia Media Solutions helps clients — primarily travel ones, such as hotels, airlines, and tourism boards — by creating and running ad campaigns aimed at boosting bookings, visitor numbers, and awareness. In a rare competitive advantage, it knows how much value a client earns from an ad because the bulk of its ads link-in to Expedia-owned brands, where it can measure changes in demand and user behaviour before, during, and after a campaign.

A hotel chain, for instance, could see if a sponsored listing in search results generated meaningful returns in room-night growth or if a brand campaign coincided with a lift in intention-to-buy among consumers. Expedia Media Solutions is notable for its attempt to bring enterprise-scale solutions and thinking to travel marketing — a sector that might be broadly described as being small-bore, fractured, and still heavily analogue. Director of product management Wendy Olson Killion noted in an interview:“

For hotel franchises, for example, there are different budgets: there are national budgets, local budgets, regional budgets. You’ll see regional travel groups, maybe a certain set of hotels, or brands of hotels in a location.”

Similarly, the destination marketing organization (DMO) side is practically a cottage industry of boutique advertising agencies, small publishers (such as travel magazines), and tourism officials. In short, travel marketing at the ad-unit level is not an obvious hunting grounds for an enterprise-scale company like Expedia.

Expedia Media Solutions has had to fight an island-by-island campaign to gain market share. It has made gains recently by adding several high-profile clients, such as Tourism Australia last June. It has done work for the destination marketing organizations of Britain, Denmark, Dubai, and the Netherlands.

Despite the big clients, Expedia Media Solutions said it is “well equipped to help the individual small supplier.” Matthew Reichek, senior director of product and analytics, cited this hypothetical example:

“If I own a B&B in Worcester, Mass., let’s say, and you represent a big chain across town, you and I can compete on a level footing using our TravelAds product…. “I can have a thousand dollars to spend, you can have a hundred thousand dollars to spend, yet if I bid more than you for certain targeting parameters, I’m going to get the positioning I want for those targeted customers until I hit my budget and you won’t, provided all the other things are equal.”

Simplicity is another factor that the division touts. A client can also come speak to one sales person to target a broad spectrum of types of travelers worldwide.

Sharper targeting

Just because it works at an enterprise scale doesn’t mean that Expedia’s ad agency arm takes a one-size-fits-all approach, said division head and global senior vice-president Noah Tratt:

“We are pretty good about identifying the nuances in people’s goals and building campaigns that are customized. We use our research and analytics to inform your creative; how much content you need to invest in; the pitch, your approach. We can target based on a lot of activity that people do on Expedia and then we can layer on other kinds of targeting variables as well.”

“For example, clients can request ads be displayed to specific demographics in specific geographic locations who are using particular types of devices and exhibiting particular types of search behaviour.”

“If I’m marketing, say, Holland to a Brazilian or to an American or someone from the People’s Republic of China, we know from booking behaviour that visitors from those destinations are going to come for a lot longer, on average, than ones from, say, the United Kingdom and Germany.”

“We would tailor our campaign for a destination according to our research from booking data on each target nationality’s typical behaviour and interests.”

Shaking up destination marketing

Expedia Media Solutions thinks it has a few competitive advantages over its boutique ad agency rivals. It said that it excels at enabling a DMO to target customers across Expedia-branded sites that match its preferred customer profile. Other shift-share reporting services can tell any given tourism board what its competitive set looks like. But Expedia’s reports may be more comprehensive than its competitors’ are when analysing at the ad-unit-level behaviours like click-through rates and impressions.

An official in, say, Macau, could choose to specifically display ads to, say, Canadians in a city whose travel buyers have recently shown a disproportionate interest in searching and buying flights to Macau and its competitors.

Reichek added:

“Targeting may sound kind of antiseptic, but if you talk about intention-based advertising, that’s what we’re doing, because, when users come to our site, they conduct certain activities that are expressing intention, where they want to go and what they’re interested doing, and you can divine a lot of meaning from that.”

Source: Up-close with Expedia’s fast-growing ad agency – Tnooz

Obvious personalisation – Big Data to organise travel around the weather

Personalisation (you really can’t get away from the word these days) comes in many forms, but sometimes the most simple application of it can potentially provide the biggest rewards.

So whilst travel brands figure out how they can slice and dice the mountains of data which is now captured about a customer over time, it is actually an external factor that has a huge influence on travel purchasing decisions.

From a leisure travel perspective, what the weather is likely to be in a destination is hugely important.

This is obvious – but how many travel brands go beyond just providing an online chart that will indicate if the average temperature and precipitation are likely to be best for the beach or for visiting museums? And how many then tie that into their marketing and content strategy? Probably very few.

Step forward DigitalMeteo, a ten-year-old data science organisation from Spain which is run by meteorologists and has a Big Data-led idea for the travel industry.

The company argues that, firstly, travel brands are missing out on ensuring their travellers are armed with the right information about the weather in a destination, but more importantly, how metrological data can then be used to target new customers through marketing and web content.

Furthermore, matching the weather patterns with the data from user profiles so companies have an opportunity to then have a relationship with the customer that arguably hits at the heart of the personalisation conundrum: relevancy.

So how does it work?

Speaking during the FITURTech event in Madrid, Spain, this week, DigitalMeteo CEO Emilio Rey (himself a meteorologist) and business development manager Fabian Gonzalez say they have analysed decades of weather patterns to create a predictive tool that plugs into a travel brand’s back-end.

The platform then works in various ways:If the weather on a given day is cold and wet in the user’s location (checking the IP address), then content on a website will alter so that it features destinations and relevant images where the weather is more favourable.

Data can also be used to make alternative suggestions to a user when they enter dates and destinations for a trip, based on what the weather is likely to be.

Over time, with return customers, the system will be able to suggest destinations knowing that on a previous trip the user had a poor experience because of the weather.

The platform works both ways, as well – having the historic data of thousands of travellers has allowed the company to establish particular trends in trip behaviour.

For example, when it rains in Madrid, citizens are most likely to search for city breaks to Paris, Rome or elsewhere in Europe, but on warmer days they often search for beach destinations elsewhere in Spain.

Such efforts to understand and capitalise on weather patterns are probably even more important when it comes to a company’s digital marketing strategy.

DigitalMeteo says that being able to quickly react to a weather situation (a typically grey, miserable day in London, for example), using customer email marketing, allows a company to target users with both relevant and timely offers for a trip.

The platform has been tested in recent months with an unnamed, major online travel agency in Spain, Gonzalez says, with further results and details about the partnership to be announced in a few months.

Source: Obvious personalisation – Big Data to organise travel around the weather

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

TripAdvisor Reveals Top Travel Trends for 2016 According to Annual TripBarometer Study

Trip AdvisorOn 15th December TripAdvisor today announced the results of their TripBarometer study, the world’s largest accommodation and traveller survey, highlighting key travel trends for 2016.

Conducted on behalf of TripAdvisor by independent research firm Ipsos, the TripBarometer study is the analysis of more than 44,000 survey responses from travellers and the hotel sector worldwide. The TripBarometer “2016 Travel Trends” report presents a snapshot of the travel landscape for 2016, revealing US domestic and global travel trends.

“This year’s TripBarometer shows that U.S. travellers continue to recognize the importance of treating themselves to travel,” said Barbara Messing, chief marketing officer, TripAdvisor. “With one third of survey respondents planning to spend more this year, we expect to see even more travellers checking both domestic and international destinations off of their wish lists.”

U.S. Travel Trends of 2016

Seventy-eight percent of U.S. travellers plan to spend more or the same in 2016, which is the third largest annual travel budget among countries globally:

Top 10 Markets that Intend to Spend the Most in 2016

(average of all countries after conversion into USD)

1 Australia $ 10,900
2 Switzerland $ 10,100
3 United States $ 8,400
4 United Kingdom $ 8,300
5 New Zealand $ 8,000
6 Canada $ 6,500
7 Austria $ 6,400
8 Germany $ 6,300
9 France $ 6,000
10 Argentina $ 5,900

Top Reasons U.S. Travellers Will Spend More on Travel in 2016

  • Because they/their family deserves it (46%)
  • Going somewhere on their wish list (46%)
  • Going on more long trips (38%)
  • Longer length of trips (34%)

U.S. Baby Boomers plan to spend $10,600 on travel in 2016, twice as much as Millennials ($5,300). This is higher than the global averages – $8,700 and $2,900, respectively.

Ninety-six percent of U.S. travellers are planning a domestic trip in 2016 compared to the global average of 90 percent. Seventy-two percent are planning an international trip, which is slightly lower than the global average of 85 percent.Top Reasons U.S.

Respondents Choose Travel Destinations

  • Culture of the destination (50%)
  • Recommendations from family and friends (36%)
  • Events (34%)
  • Special offers/packages at hotel or accommodation (27%)

When selecting accommodations, cost is the key consideration for travellers in the U.S. – 94 percent of respondents named price as the most important factor when booking the accommodation for their last trip. Accommodation ratings (90%), TripAdvisor reviews (89%), proximity to attractions (86%) and dining options (79%) also ranked high on the list.

Germans, on the other hand, are more likely to find travel inspiration from their favourite documentary with 26 per cent revealing they have chosen to visit a destination simply after seeing it on screen.

Americans and New Zealanders are far more practical, however, choosing their final getaway locations in accordance with events they have to attend.

U.S. Traveller Quirks

The Top 5 Things U.S. Travellers Won’t Leave Home Without

  • Toiletries (77%)
  • Smartphone (74%)
  • Camera (57%)
  • Clothing for special occasions (56%)
  • Adaptor (51%)

U.S. travellers rank as the fourth most “germophobic” in the world, with 37 percent listing hand sanitizer as a travel essential, compared to 23 percent globally. They value their beauty rest as well – 13 percent bring their own pillow, higher than the global average of six percent.  37 per cent of British survey participants named their must-have travel essential as an e-book.

Meanwhile, Indonesian, Argentinian, Malaysian, Chinese and Mexican travellers are the top five nationalities most likely to pack an extra suitcase when they take a trip – likely, to ensure they have plenty of space to transport their shopping haul.

And though Indonesians may be most likely to be spotted sporting wearable technology, 12 per cent of Chinese travellers revealed they were also careful not to leave home without it.

But only two per cent of Italians would be caught trying out the tech trend.

Amenity Deal Breakers

Certain amenities will make or break a hotel’s chances of earning a booking. U.S. travellers expect more for less, and will book elsewhere if an accommodation does not offer:

  • Air-conditioning (70%)
  • In-room Wi-Fi (42%)
  • Parking (38%)
  • Safe deposit (25%)
  • Breakfast (24%)

A third of all Thai, Indonesian and Indian travellers say that they are planning to try an adventure holiday for the first time in 2016, while one in six Indian millennials refuse to book a hotel without gym facilities.

And the most frequent flyers? Ten per cent of all jet-setting Swiss travellers polled revealed that they were planning on taking more than 10 international trips in the next year, making them the most likely nationality to accrue some major frequent flyer points.

But don’t expect them to be using those miles to visit family members abroad.

New Zealanders are the most likely to fly across an ocean to visit family, with 30 per cent saying they’d choose a destination to spend time with their next of kin.

In contrast, Russian, Austrians and Thai are the least likely to do so. Only four per cent said they’d select a destination for this reason.

TripAdvisor summaries the report into 6 key travel trends:

Trend #1 – Seeking new experiences

In the coming year, travelers of all ages will seek out things they haven’t tried before, from cruises to solo travel and more.

  • Globally, 69% of travelers plan to try something new in 2016.
  • 1 in 5 global travelers said they would try a cruise for the first time next year.
  • 17% will try solo travel for the first time in 2016; 15% will try adventure travel for the first time.

Trend #2 – Spending more because it’s “worth it”

Worldwide, travelers are open to spending more in 2016 than they have in the past—and not just because of rising costs.

  • 1 in 3 travelers (33%) are planning to spend more on travel in 2016 than they did the previous year.
  • Among those who plan to increase their travel budget, 49% said they will do so because “because I or my family deserve it.”
  • 31% said they would spend more on travel because “it’s important for my health and well-being.”

Trend #3 – Choosing destinations based on culture, special offers

Today’s travelers choose destinations for a number of reasons, including special offers from accommodations.

  • Globally, 47% of travelers say they have visited a destination because of the culture and people of the specific country.
  • 1 in 5 travelers (21%) have chosen a destination because a hotel had a special offer or package.
  • “TV tourism” is on the rise: 1 in 5 global travelers have visited a destination because they saw it on a TV show.

Trend #4 – Staying cool and connected

Among the amenities that travelers will look for when they book an accommodation in 2016, air conditioning and WiFi stand out.

  • Globally, 63% of travelers said air conditioning is a must-have when choosing a place to stay. That makes it more of a deal-breaker than breakfast (40%) or a swimming pool (26%).
  • 46% said free in-room WiFi is a must-have amenity—meaning that, if an accommodation did not provide it, they would look elsewhere.
  • 26% of travelers said that they require an accommodation that has super-fast WiFi; 11% are willing to pay extra for this service.

Trend #5 – Rising room rates (and optimism)

Many accommodations plan to raise their room rates next year, while the majority of hoteliers say they’re optimistic about profitability in 2016.

  • Nearly half of hoteliers globally plan to increase room rates in 2016 (47%).
  • Most accommodations are increasing rates to compensate for increased overhead costs (65%), although more than a third are increasing rates because of recently completed renovations (37%) or because of increased demand (35%).
  • 3 in 4 business owners are optimistic about profitability in 2016. The majority of those who are optimistic say it’s because of local events and conferences taking place in their markets next year (65%).
  • 91% of hoteliers see increasing direct bookings as key for the future of their business.

Trend #6 – Managing reputations online

Online presence remains important: In 2016, businesses will be keeping a close eye on what people are saying about them on the web.

  • 93% of hoteliers said that online traveler reviews are important for the future of their business.
  • Online reputation management is still the biggest area of investment for accommodation owners in 2016, with 59% investing more in this area than they did the previous year.

For additional information about the TripBarometer, please visit: tripadvisor to download the global report.

Source: TripAdvisor Reveals Top Travel Trends for 2016 According to Annual TripBarometer Study Nasdaq:TRIP

MessageGears Provides Enterprise-Wide Email Marketing Solution to Expedia | Benzinga

MessageGears’ hybrid technology provides Expedia.com with the power and security of on-premises software combined with the efficiency and scalability of cloud delivery.  Expedia plans to implement the MessageGears hybrid email marketing solution throughout many of the brands in its extensive portfolio.

With MessageGears’ hybrid email marketing solution, Expedia does not have to replicate data and send it to the cloud. Instead, Expedia is able to access the most up-to-date data from the company’s secure, internal database, while making use of the cloud to handle resource-heavy tasks, such message rendering and delivery without having to replicate, sync, or store data in the cloud. The end result is more personalized, relevant, and efficient messaging using the freshest data available from consumer touch points.

“MessageGears provides us with unique benefits, including real-time access to our customer data from a centralized database. This allows us to increase the personalization and relevancy of our communication with our customers,” said Scott Grove, Sr. Director of Technology at Expedia.com.

“In addition, MessageGears helps us achieve consistency across our email marketing platforms so we can maintain an up-to-date global view of customer engagement.”

“The volume of messages Expedia sends means the company has some of the industry’s most demanding requirements when it comes to email marketing and customer data management. The MessageGears team helped Expedia meet these challenges head-on, enhancing the company’s ability to send timely and relevant messages,” said Dan Roy, CEO of MessageGears.

Through working with enterprise clients, such as Expedia, MessageGears has experienced explosive growth. The company’s email volume has quadrupled since 2014, while still maintaining industry leading uptime.

Current MessageGears clients include ClickDimensions, MusicToday, PGi, Pursuant Health, Right On Interactive, Runkeeper, and Sabre Travel Network. MessageGears expects monthly message volume to exceed 2 billion by the end of 2016.

Source: MessageGears Provides Enterprise-Wide Email Marketing Solution to Expedia | Benzinga

Travel trade leads the way in ‘moment’ marketing

The travel industry is leading the way in the new marketing buzzword, ‘moment’ marketing, according to research.

A recent Warc and Deloitte 2016 Toolkit highlighted ‘moment’ marketing – where data and technology are used to identify brief marketing opportunities – as the number one trend for next year.

And moment marketing firm TVTY claims the travel sector is already using the most sophisticated ‘moment’ marketing strategies.

Online ‘moment’ marketing campaigns are triggered by offline events including sport, TV programmes, adverts, financial events and the weather.  TVTY says it’s about connecting with people at the key moment when they reach for their phone or laptop or use social media.

Its research found that 64% of digital marketers in the travel industry were going to allocate more budget to moment marketing in 2016.It also found 29% use both their own TV and competitor’s advertising to trigger campaigns and 43% use travel metrics (such as public transport delays) to launch ‘moment’ digital campaigns.

Antoine de Kermel, UK MD of  TVTY, said: “Travel is a highly competitive space online. There is a lot of innovation in digital marketing, and travel has been an early adopter of moment marketing. We see travel marketers using a lot of triggers to target consumers, but, as you might expect, weather is a very popular trigger.

“People are much more likely to book a getaway when the weather suddenly turns bad, or when another transport delay drives commuters to pack their bags for a carefree week in Barbados.”

An interesting trend we’re seeing, specifically from travel companies, is a desire to use new sources of data – like flight delays – as a trigger for digital campaigns. For example, a popular airline might want to launch a campaign, which highlights its own punctuality whenever its nearest competitor is facing delays.”

You can access their latest white paper here.

Source: Travel trade leads the way in ‘moment’ marketing

Three travel brands innovating in crowdsourced marketing | Econsultancy

The first act of out-reaching to the crowd is 300-years-old (dates back to 1714), but the term ‘crowdsourcing’ was first coined in 2005 by two Wired Magazine editors Jeff Howe and Mark Robinson.

The whole idea of the internet is inherently based on the idea of crowdsourcing.  The internet is the place where the opinions of thousands are collected to help others in their decision-making.  And now social platforms have made it very simple to instantly reach out to many people and pick their brains.  The web is a silo of opinions, ideas and services curated by the mob.  People also tend to be more open in web-based projects.

Crowdsourcing has proven to be one of the most disruptive business models of the modern age.

In travel, the most notable examples are TripAdvisor and Airbnb, whose business models are built on user-generated resources.  The traditional travel sector has woken up to the value of crowdsourced marketing, too.  It’s not only the popular (and cost-effective) thing to do: it’s just plain good marketing.

Why? Because marketing at its core means bonding with your customer.

These three traditional British travel brands below use crowdsourcing to bring their products to market in new and exciting ways and drive innovation:

1) British Airways

In 2011, British Airways was the first British travel brand that turned to the public to co-create its aircraft menus, movies and livery.  Budding chefs, scriptwriters and artists were called upon to submit their ideas as part of the airline’s ‘Great Britons’ programme, initially launched in 2009 in anticipation of the Olympic Games.

These ideas were then taken forward and enhanced by category experts like renowned chef Heston Blumenthal, actor Richard E Grant and artist Tracey Emin.

The final outcome: a new on-board menu, in-flight movies and artwork for the exterior of the aircraft.

British Airways and Metro crowdsourced collaboration.

Following the success of this project, British Airways went on to pioneer the first ever live integrated crowd-sourced travel campaign in partnership with Metro in 2014.  This initiative gave consumers a unique opportunity to create and edit content using social media channels.  As part of this campaign English comedian Joe Wilkinson was tasked with a series of globe-trotting challenges.

Metro readers voted online for the places they would like to see him visit and the experiences they wanted him to have on his adventure.  The campaign featured a live feed of reader comments on Metro.co.uk, plus Wilkinson directly interacted with the audience using social channels.  This campaign strengthened customers’ relationships with the British Airways brand in an innovative way.

2) TUI Thomson

TUI Thomson’s “Name Our Plane” campaign saw the brand crowdsource a name for its first 787 aircraft on Twitter in 2012.

The success of this type of campaign has led Thomson to run a similar campaign this year, which focuses on both suggestions and user votes.  The selected winner’s name will be fitted on the new Dreamliner 787 and winner will be flown to a free long-haul destination on the brand new plane.

screen_shot_2015-11-04_at_11-30-28

Thomson crowdsourced the first wedding

TUI Thomson is also the first travel brand that crowdsourced a wedding decided by Facebook fans in 2015. The “Your Big Day” campaign invited people to vote for their favourite couple, the best wedding dress (which the bride then had to wear), the best hen or stag party idea and the best venue.  All expenses for the wedding and honeymoon were paid for by Thomson. The contest received 700 entrants and 10,000 votes.

3) Visit Britain

In 2014 VisitBritain worked with Genero to crowdsource a number of short films to feature on its international Sounds of GREAT Britain campaign.

Genero represents a global network of filmmakers, who were tasked with producing a number of short films reflecting the variety of sights, sounds and experiences on offer across Britain. T

he winning films were featured on VisitBritain’s Lovewall and were distributed across all global markets, with a bespoke end result for each language and region.

The films were created to give different perspectives of the locations and themes featured in VisitBritain’s ‘Sounds of GREAT Britain’ campaign.

The resulting multimedia content was original, sharable and a good example of evergreen content.Crowdsourcing allows brands to utilise the creative power of their greatest asset – their customers – in exciting new ways. The best projects drive interest, website traffic and all round good vibes to the brand in question.

Source: Three travel brands innovating in crowdsourced marketing | Econsultancy

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

Brand Karma & TrustYou Partner to Bring Hotel & Tourism Brands the Best of Reputation Management & Virtual Reality –

Brand Karma and TrustYou have announced a strategic partnership, bringing together TrustYou’s powerful reputation management tools and Brand Karma’s digital innovation in virtual reality (VR).

The needs of the travel enterprise continue to evolve. Hotels now need to unify a complex mix of traveller feedback from reviews, social media, and guest survey data to delight the guest and stay competitive.  At the same time, new media platforms are rapidly changing travel distribution, with virtual reality revolutionizing hotel sales and marketing.

Source: Brand Karma & TrustYou Partner to Bring Hotel & Tourism Brands the Best of Reputation Management & Virtual Reality –

The Hotel and Resort Operator’s Digital Marketing Budget Guide for 2016

Cover from The Hotel and Resort Operator's Digital Marketing Budget Guide for 2016 eBook

The Hotel and Resort Operator’s Digital Marketing Budget Guide for 2016

Vizergy Vizergy – Digital Travel Marketing, the hospitality industry’s leading provider of website design and digital marketing programs, releases its eBook on how hoteliers can plan and budget to achieve the highest return on investment for the upcoming year. Budgeting for digital marketing can be overwhelming due to the rapidly changing opportunities and numerous tools available. This ebook helps hoteliers stay on track by providing thoughtful recommendations from top media analysts along with a free budgeting Excel template.

More than half of all hotel rooms will be booked online by the end of 2015 (Google Research). Therefore, establishing a strategic digital marketing plan to capitalize on this trend is vital to the success of any hotel property. Vizergy’s complimentary eBook explains how hoteliers can align their digital marketing budgets with business goals and gives useful tips on deciding how much of your marketing budget to devote to digital. In addition to useful budget recommendations, the eBook includes a hotel digital marketing budget template created by our experts with more than 15 years of hospitality experience.

Click here to get a complimentary copy of “The Hotelier’s Guide to 2016 Digital Marketing Spend” today.

Source: The Hotel and Resort Operator’s Digital Marketing Budget Guide for 2016