Selling to China via ‘social travel marketplace’, Singapore News & Top Stories – The Straits Times

A team of five Singaporeans has created an online platform for small travel service providers here and worldwide to sell directly to Chinese travellers.

It is led by Internet pioneer and serial entrepreneur Wong Toon King, 49; and former chief executive of financial solutions company Melioris Mak Chee Wah, 48.

They unveiled their plans last month for Wegogo, a “social travel marketplace” on social media platform WeChat.

Businesses can go to Wegogo to sign up for a free account, which will create a microsite on WeChat for them. They can then list their company information, products, contacts and promotions on it.

Upon registration, a QR code that links to the microsite will be generated, which they can use for their marketing collateral.

More than 3,000 providers both here and abroad have signed up thus far, including Raintr33 Hotel Singapore.

EMPOWER AND ENABLE

The Chinese don’t have Facebook or Instagram. What we want to do is empower (operators) to have the ability to talk to them socially. The next step is to enable the commerce.

WEGOGO CHAIRMAN WONG TOON KING, on the “social travel marketplace”.

The platform allows travel operators to tap into the Chinese travel market through WeChat – the most popular messaging app in China – without needing to invest heftily in marketing or IT, said Ms Reene Ho-Phang, 46, Wegogo’s strategic adviser.

She is also managing director of travel marketing and representation firm BrandStory. Also in the team are Mr Yue Yew Hoong, 48, and Mr Richard Tan Boon Piew, 48.

Wegogo chairman’s, Mr Wong, added: “The Chinese don’t have Facebook or Instagram. What we want to do is empower (operators) to have the ability to talk to them socially. The next step is to enable the commerce.”

WeChat supports payments and money transfer. It also has a micro-blogging function where users can post photos and video and share articles.

For a start, the team will highlight operators that offer “authentic local experiences” – for instance, a chilli crab-cooking lesson or home-dining service – through videos focused on people behind the business.

“We have seen a shift in Chinese traveller profiles from sightseeing and only visiting iconic attractions, to engaging in experience-seeking journeys across the world to learn different cultures and to immerse themselves locally,” said Mr Mak.

The team has ambitious plans to cater to the needs and wants of this burgeoning group of travellers.

In 2014, the Chinese made 109 million trips abroad, the United Nations World Tourism Organisation estimated. It predicts that this figure will hit 200 million by 2020.

Singapore, too, has been impacted by the growth. It welcomed 2.1 million Chinese visitors last year, up 22 per cent from the year before.

In future, the team hopes to build an artificial intelligence-based system that tracks online activities of Chinese consumers – what they search for, post and buy – to get a picture of what they want when planning trips.

The team will then match the consumers to the relevant travel service providers. Over time, the goal is to allow businesses to tailor products to match these needs.

“It’s a big idea and it takes time to evolve,” said Mr Wong, who led a group of private investors to back the venture with an angel funding of $500,000.

The idea for the start-up was inspired by the huge potential of the China market, said Mr Mak.

Ms Corina Chong, director of Raintr33 Hotel which opened in December 2014, said: “We all acknowledge that China is a huge market that we can’t ignore. For a relatively new hotel, we’ve reached the stage where we want to look at bigger markets like China. Wegogo gives us an avenue to do that.”

Source: Selling to China via ‘social travel marketplace’, Singapore News & Top Stories – The Straits Times

The Boomers Will Dominate Travel for 20 Years | TravelPulse Marketing Author Brent Green:

Millennials are getting more and more attention in the media, and arebabyboomerso no doubt a rising force in the travel industry.

But Brent Green, an expert on marketing to the baby boom generation and author of Generation Reinvention and Marketing to Leading Edge Baby Boomers, says that the baby boom generation will continue to be the main driving force in the travel industry for the next two decades.“For the next 20 years,” said Green, “baby boomers are without question the financial force behind leisure travel.

”What Green calls the “sweetest of the sweet spot” in that market is the market segment he identifies as “leading edge baby boomers,” those born between 1946 and 1955. In 2016 they are between 61 and 70 years of age.

This demographic, says Green, is “where the opportunities are” for travel agents and tour operators. Quoting AARP, Green says that the 50-plus demographic, which includes five years below the baby boomer age group, is a $120 billion-a-year market. AARP says that 97 percent of that group expect to travel domestically on at least one trip this year, and at least 45 percent anticipate taking some type of international trip.Green also referred to a study done by British Airways, which found that the generation boborn between 1946 and 1961 have a newfound interest in seeing the world as they enter into retirement, though not everyone’s prepared for long-haul travel.

“There is a strong propensity and desire to travel and see the world,’ said Green, “a lot of pent-up demand. But it is a surprisingly small percentage that have gone overseas and view that opportunity as a realistic next step.”

The leading edge boomer generation “feels under-satisfied with the amount of travel they’ve done up to now,” said Green, and the generation has a strong propensity to travel, though some of them are feeling they are not going to be able to afford it, which may or may not be accurate.

According to Green, the “silent generation,” those born from 1925 to 1945, have dominated the industry for the last 10 years as retirees, but now they are moving into their twilight years and their travel interests are waning. Baby boomers are now entering retirement and are becoming a more powerful force than ever.

Not only are they reaching their heavy travel years, the generation also has a particularly pronounced propensity for travel. The generation is also a large demographic and is in control of a lot of wealth and discretionary income. In addition, that demographic has been a trend setter for its whole life. All of these factors converge to make the market a veritable gold mine for the travel industry.

“The leading edge boomers set up a lot of the trends that became mainstream,” said Green. It was the generation that was in college during the Vietnam War and led the protest against it. It was the generation that championed women’s rights and the generation in which women entered the workplace in larger numbers than ever before.

And it was a generation that pushed the frontiers of travel, with hitchhiking in America and backpacking in Europe during their youth. Now as they reach retirement age, they are eager to get back to traveling, though in a more catered manner than when they were young.

The later baby boomers, aged 52-61, are less of a force in the travel industry now because “they are still actively in their careers, some in the peak demands of their careers, still dealing with college kids or with caregiving of their parents. They will age into the travel sweet spot within 10 years.”

Leading edge baby boomers, between 61 and 70, “are prime time for travel right now,” said Green. “And they have the economic capability of higher end travel. Many are retired, semi retired or within a few years of retirement.”

For those travel agents and tour operators who want to maximize the opportunity presented by the entrance of the leading edge baby boomers into the retiree travel market, Green presents several overarching themes that can help travel marketers target that sweet spot.

1. Creative Experiences. “Leading edge baby boomers are looking for something outside of cookie cutter travel experiences,” said Green. “They want immersive activities. They don’t want to just eat pasta, they want to make it. They don’t want to just make it, they want to see where the wheat is grown that makes the pasta. That’s immersive experience and creative experience. Travel companies that get it and are at the leading edge are doing it already.”

2. Authenticity. “They value experiences that are as close to being culturally consistent with where we’ve travelled as possible,” said Green. “You don’t want to go to McDonald’s in Paris. If you think about why people like to get off the beaten path, it is that they are searching for authentic experiences. They want to see the horse-drawn wagon hauling milk or whatever. They want to travel to destinations that are not over travelled.”

3 Focus on Health and Wellness. “People who fit profile of heavy travellers also tend to be people who are very interested in managing their health and wellness,” said Green. “They travel actively. They rent bicycles and go on a 40-mile day trip. They hike 10 miles in Paris. They want to eat well but don’t want to eat globs of cholesterol. They want a healthier diet.”

4. Community and Family. “They value travel that gives them a sense of community, whether it be a university affiliation, an age affiliation or their families. The leading edge boomers are heavily motivated to travel with their children and grandchildren.” Family travel is a market that will continue to grow.

5. Personal Development. “The leading edge boomers desire to have travel enrich them by increasing their depth of understanding of history, culture or what is involved in a place that makes it significant in history,” said Green.

6. Sustainability and Eco Responsibility. Boomers, as well as other generations, are increasingly concerned with environmental responsibility. An important part of this motivation is the desire to be involved in philanthropy or giving back. “They want to tie the travel experience to doing something meaningful to help others. It may include simply travel with philanthropic organization. Or it may be something like going to Peru to build houses or going to Everest but helping to clean up the trails below. Even if it is a superficial level of contribution, if added to the travel experience it can inspire people who don’t have time to give back if they can combine it with a great vacation.”

Within the leading edge baby boomer demographic, there are many opportunities for development, such as increasing multigenerational travel opportunities; celebration vacations, recognizing rites of passage; solo vacations, 40 percent of the generation is now unmarried; girlfriend getaways, more women are traveling with other women; dating vacations, single people want to meet other single people; and spirituality, as people get older they get more interested in spiritual matters.

Another important trend for travel professionals to note is the growing demand for professional travel services. “The boomers can afford more catered travel,” said Green, “and appreciate professional support. They want someone to help plan their trip so they don’t have to worry about anything but showing up.”

Source: Marketing Author Brent Green: The Boomers Will Dominate Travel for 20 Years | TravelPulse

Destination Marketing: Promoted Pins on Google Maps to Help Local Businesses | .TR

Google logo.jpegThe giant search engine, Google, will roll out a new advertising program, which will help to offer more local adverts to consumers using the popular GPS-based Google Maps app.

Under the new program, various adverts of relevant companies that are nearby a user will be provided at the bottom of the apps navigation interface on the users smartphone. Destination marketing businesses are likely to welcome the new feature. The new advertisement program is expected to bring consumers with ads which will include businesses such as hotels, restaurants, cafes, tour companies etc.

The tool is designed to provide local businesses with more exposure to potential customers by providing localized adverts to the consumers based on the location. However, it is also expected to have a huge positive impact on travel and tourism-related businesses, and destination marketing sector, given the fact that a huge portion of location queries using Google Maps are related to travel and tourism.

In addition to providing localized search based on the location of the users smartphone, Google also intends to personalize the adverts based on the users preferences and interests, which will have been acquired from past search requests using the service, as well as online behaviour of the user. This will be of a great benefit to travel related brands, as the personalized advertising will help to target potential customers who have a higher chance of paying for the service being offered.

Google has already started testing the advertising program on some of the Google Maps users. People wishing to advertise their businesses will be able to highlight their locations on Google Maps, which will then be shown to the users through what is being referred to as “promoted pins”. The pins will highlight the exact location of the business, and will also include other details such as company logos to help in easier identification of the brand. As such it is likely that destination marketing companies will make use of the tool extensively.

In addition to the localized ads using Google Maps, the search engine will also extend the reach of the Google Display Network Remarketing campaigns. This will offer businesses advertising on Google with a broader reach to a more valuable target market, which will help to increase the chances of lead conversion, thus increasing the revenues.

Source: Destination Marketing: Promoted Pins on Google Maps to Help Local Businesses | .TR

London welcomes over 30 million tourists for the first time ever – London & Partners

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has welcomed new figures that show the capital has set a new tourism record after more than 30 million visitors came to the city last year, drawn by global sporting events such as the Rugby World Cup and blockbuster exhibitions at its museums and galleries, according to new figures released today.

A record 31.5 million Great Britain residents and international tourists came to the city in 2015 – which is an increase of 20 per cent when compared to five years ago.

London keeps setting new tourism records. Every year since the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games there has been an increase in the number of international visitors coming to the city.  Figures released today (20th May) by the Office for National Statistics, International Passenger Survey, show there were 18.6 million international visits in 2015 compared to 17.4 million in 2014, a previous record year. (seven per cent increase) Separate data from the Great Britain Tourism Survey carried out by UK tourism body VisitEngland reveals that GB residents made 12.9 million visits to London last year, another new record.

International and GB visitors also spent £15 billion on hotels, restaurants, shopping and attractions – an increase of 35 per cent compared to 2010.

Source: London welcomes over 30 million tourists for the first time ever – London & Partners

WHEREISWHERE LAUNCHES LIVE DEMO FOR TRAVEL MARKETERS

WhereIsWhereWhereIsWhere.com, a location-marketing tool for businesses in the tourism industry, has unveiled its demo microsite, allowing travel marketers to check out its content and features before it goes live to consumers mid-2016.

The live demo can be accessed at: preview.whereiswhere.com

The microsite is a sample demonstration of the end-user experience, as travellers explore the interactive map to find out where everything is, and what each location has to offer, in the form of rich media content – videos, pictures, promotions and more.

Preview.whereiswhere.com currently features only London and Singapore, with more travel destinations to be added later. On WhereIsWhere’s interactive map platform, travel marketers can zoom in from country to area to street level; and within each category – Attractions, Lodgings, Activities and F&B, select filters according to their interest types. Speaking about the newly launched demo site, Terence Mak, the CEO, noted that “WhereIsWhere enables travellers to learn more about different destinations easily, straight from the industry itself; this way of direct marketing in Travel is a change from what travel marketers are currently doing.

ABOUT WHEREISWHERE

As an interactive world map, WhereIsWhere.com functions as a location-marketing tool, enabling businesses including hotels, attractions, icons and tourism authorities in the global tourism industry to show the world where they are, and what they have. Travel marketers claim their pins on WhereIsWhere’s map platform; and under their pin, they can upload media in the form of videos, pictures, or even their latest promotions, to entice travellers to visit.  Mid-2016 will see WhereIsWhere launch to travellers, offering them the latest information from the travel industry, as they explore the world.

For more information, visit www.whereiswhere.com.

Contact us at pr@whereiswhere.com

Source: WHEREISWHERE LAUNCHES LIVE DEMO FOR TRAVEL MARKETERS

Facebook overhauls Dynamic Ads, just for travel marketers

Facebook logoFacebook is jumping on the realisation for many travel brands that the omnipresent social network can be an important part of their marketing activity.

The company has re-launched the existing Dynamic Product Ads platform for marketers, so that travel brands can make their content more relevant to users of the site.

Whilst many have been sceptical about the effectiveness of Facebook as a challenger to Google Adwords, the pay-per-click programme used by most travel brands, some marketers are beginning to come round.

Recently for example, TripAdvisor said it would be using Facebook and YouTube more in its marketing activity during 2016.

The new Dynamic Ads for travel will allow brands to target people that have expressed an interest in going to a specific destination and during specific dates.

Facebook says the new platform has been tested by a number of travel brands, such as Trivago and Marriott, with a gradual roll-out to other customers in the coming months.

The company says:

“For example, a travel business can connect with people who viewed a hotel on their website by showing them an ad featuring the hotel they viewed along with similar hotels in the area.

“Advertisers can now also help people complete their trips by showing relevant hotels to people who have purchased flights on their website or in their app.

“And to help advertisers offer people the best experience, the hotel options shown include dynamic availability and pricing, so people always see the most up-to-date information.”

 

This week will also see the launch of the existing Dynamic Ads platform for Facebook’s sister brand, image-sharing giant Instagram.

The existing Dynamic Ads platform has also been launched with Facebook’s sister brand, image-sharing giant Instagram.

Whilst not apparently as powerful or relevant as the new Dynamic Ads on Facebook, brands can re-target users of their websites when they shift their activity over to Instagram.

Source: Facebook overhauls Dynamic Ads, just for travel marketers

A sneak peek at Google’s upcoming travel app, Trips | TechCrunch

News that Google would soon begin testing a new mobile travel application leaked out in April and TechCrunch were quick to cover it.

The app, called Trips, is being trialled with a small group of testers, and will allow users to keep track of past and upcoming trips, while also making recommendations about tourist destinations, restaurants, local transportation options, and more.  Access to the Trips mobile app is only being made available to members of Google’s Local Guides program.  A revamp and rebranding of Google’s prior City Experts effort, Local Guides launched last year as Google Maps’ competitor to Yelp’s Elites.

As with Yelp, program members are offered a variety of rewards and benefits in exchange for writing business reviews, posting photos, and helping to fill in and correct Maps information. One of those benefits, as Google previously indicated, is early access to new Google products and features. This appears to be one example of that perk in action. According to the initial leak, Local Guides were invited to be among the first to try a new “travel assistant app for Android and iPhone.”

What’s interesting about the new app is that it’s able to pull in your trip information just by scanning your Gmail messages, similar to how Google’s virtual assistant, Google Now, also works.

That makes it slightly competitive with TripIt, which has the larger goal of helping to automate collection of your trips into a single interface, then provide useful services on top of that, like tracking points, getting flight alerts, setting reminders, changing seat selections, sharing trips with others, and more.

However, in the case of the Google Trips app, it seems the focus is less on mimicking the somewhat utilitarian nature of most travel planners and companion apps, and more on the fun that comes with exploring a new destination.

As an app built using Google Maps data, Trips lets you find things to do – both inside and outdoors – around your location. It also helps you manage reservations, find nearby food and drink, access a list of saved places, and plan how you’ll get from one place to the next.

For this reason, Trips would likely have more of an impact on local travel guide apps, instead of more comprehensive trip planners.

This latter feature is found in the “Getting Around’ section, which offers details on the different options, including public transportation schedules for things like buses and trains, plus information on taxis and ride sharing services and more.

Also useful is that Trips allows you to browse your saved trip information even when you’re offline.

The screenshots and details regarding the app were posted to the Dutch blog AndroidWorld, then picked up by 9to5Google.

Much of what Trips offers can actually be found in Google Maps, thanks to the enhancements of that app over the years to offer more information than just maps and navigation. However, the Trips app puts this information into a standalone, native interface complete with a Material design and easy-to-use layout.

While the app being tested is available on Android, Google had said that it would be available on iOS, as well. The company has not yet confirmed further details about the app or its launch plans.

When asked, a Google spokesperson only provided this comment on the Trips app:

“We love to travel and are hard at work dreaming up new ways to make the travel experience hassle-free. While we do that, sit tight and keep on using our amazing tools like Google Flights, Hotel Search and Destinations on Google to plan your next adventure.”

Source: A sneak peek at Google’s upcoming travel app, Trips | TechCrunch

A new dynamic packaging experience ready to take off

TravelC LogoThe Travel Marketing Store has recently signed an agreement to jointly take to market the excellent dynamic packaging solution developed by Mallorca based Travel Compositor.   Their online product, TravelC, provides an excellent platform for travel agents, tour operators, destination management companies, destination marketing organisations, start-up and existing online travel agents to provide a new level of dynamic packaging for their customers.

The solution connects to all three major GDS, Travelport, Sabre and Amadeus plus has integrated two low-cost airline aggregators, Mystifly and Travelfusion therefore provided excellent coverage of flights.  As the flight search takes place the lowest direct and connected fares are offered with simultaneous hotel suggestions being presented.

The solution also can connect to a variety of hotel aggregators or “bed banks”.  The system dynamically packages hotel content with selected flights with the ability to add transfers and activities all from a single screen interface.  Complex itineraries can be built at speed and saved as a brochure to share with customers or friends.

Duncan Alexander, Managing Director at The Travel Marketing Store stated “we are delighted to team up with Travel Compositors particularly with our approach to key destinations, airlines and airports to provide a better solution to market stop-overs and through connections.   We have been looking for some considerable time to find the right technology partner for our “flyvia out of the box campaign proposition” and we have found it in TravelC”.

Once flights and6ab9e0a7-1a98-4d34-8482-31aede6e5deb hotels are selected transfers and activities can be booked including tours and restaurants.  Soon a rental car aggregator will also be added to the packaging capabilities offering a full service suite for all leisure and business travel needs.

This unique solution can be deployed with any travel online retailer and tailored to meet their requirements.  The Travel Marketing store is currently in discussion with a number if destinations, airlines and tour operators regarding adopting this unique dynamic packaging solution.

In particular the solution can be used for promoting single and multi-stop over packages.

If you want to know more please contact us or view their Travel Marketing Directory listing.

 

News Analysis: The Iranian boom | HotelierMiddleEast.com

Iran is getting a lot of attention on a global scale; following sanctions being lifted from the country, several business opportunities have emerged, with hospitality coming under scrutiny.

Local Iranian businesses are now able to usher in a new era of trade relations, and attract investment opportunities.

At a recent roundtable held by law firm CMS in conjunction with Colliers in Dubai, 50-year-old Iran Travel and Tourism Company’s managing director Mohsen Gharib presented several opportunities within the country’s tourism sector. “Last year we welcomed four million visitors. The vision is to increase that number to 20 million in the next 10 years (by 2025). We foresee a requirement of 400 new hotels that need to be built in Iran in the coming decade to meet that goal,” Gharib said.

Sources have revealed to Hotelier Middle East that Iran currently has between 700-900 operating hotels, albeit no official figure exists. “Along with Tehran, European tourists frequently visit Shemshak; Arabian tourists like to visit the Caspian coast and Mashhad attracts religious tourists. Whereas Persepolis is steeped in Iranian history as is the Ali-Sadr water cave.

AccorHotels is the first company to recognise this opportunity having opened two hotels near the Tehran international airport,” added Gharib, whose company owns 60 hotels across Iran.

Gilani, who previously worked as the managing director at the National Bank of Abu Dhabi, revealed more about the source of funding: “Global banks are hesitant for debt financing and their fear stems from the sanctions, but there is a new paradigm now; however the fear will not disappear overnight. And, in the absence of large global banks, there will be ample opportunity for debt financers from continental European banks, central banks in Europe, including banks from the GCC, India and China. There is plenty of opportunity for banks in these regions to raise credit.”

Gilani added that there is a limited window for investment opportunity, one that will not last for a long time.

Meanwhile, opinions on investment in Iran remained divided across two online polls conducted by Hotelier Middle East. 58% respondents on a Twitter poll suggested that the investors should wait and see, whereas more than 60% on HotelierMiddleEast.com felt that now is the right time to invest.

Grant Salter, director, head of travel, hospitality and leisure advisory Deloitte, said interest rates are bound to be high. “Given the inherent risks associated with a new and unpredictable market, we see the availability of funding being constrained in the short-term. There are likely to be players willing to accept the kind of risks associated with these market conditions but these will likely come at the price of high interest rates and heavy loan security requirements where debt is sought.”

Another concern is training, and Landais said AccorHotels will focus on developing hospitality standards. “Iranians are skilled and talented in many sectors, but sadly, that is not reflected in the service industry, which is an irony given how hospitable they are. The commitment Accor has taken as investors is to bring in the expertise, and transfer it to the local Iranian market.”

“We are in the process of registering the company in Tehran and with that we will also obtain the licence to bring Accor’s management training academy, of which we have 17 in the world — one in Dubai. The academy will enable us to train young prospects. So our philosophy is to not only develop hotels in the country, but to also develop the expertise and competence of Iranians in the service industry,” he concluded.

Meanwhile, other hospitality companies are also considering Iran with Rotana having previously reported that it has four properties under development in Iran.

It also claimed to be the first operator to announce plans into the market in December 2013, with four properties under development, all of which will be opened under the brand Rayhaan Hotels & Resorts by Rotana.

Rotana president and CEO Omer Kaddouri previously told Hotelier Middle East that the firm is also, in the tune of Accor, hoping to develop training for Iranians.

So despite a few hurdles, the country has made its plans clear to boost tourism. In January, an Iranian shipping company announced it would launch an Islamic cruise, which will sail between Iran, Muscat and Salalah in Oman, and Mumbai in India. And the government wasted no time and signed a deal with Airbus to purchase 114 new aircrafts just days after the sanctions were removed.

Source: News Analysis: The Iranian boom | HotelierMiddleEast.com

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