Flights versus hotels: where is the market for meta in APAC? – EyeforTravel

mainAlthough many established metasearch markets exist in the region, there is real opportunity for differentiation and innovation in Southeast Asia In Asian markets like China, India and Japan online travel – and that includes flight and hotel metasearch – is established, flourishing and mirrors global trends.

China’s Qunar, for example, launched in 2004 as a flight and hotel metasearch but quickly emerged into a more hybrid travel play with a strong focus on the higher margin hotel-booking segment. According to analysts at the Yale School of Management, in the fourth quarter of 2014 there were “66% more direct sales than platform sales in terms of volume”. And in the longer term, analysts expect this to reach 80%, which explains the expansion of Qunar’s workforce from 2,500 to 7,500 employees in 2014.

In India, the country’s biggest online travel firm MakemyTrip has been around since 2000, first serving the travel needs of US-based Indians returning home to visit family. By 2005 the firm had established a local base and after bedding down set to expanding its armoury of travel related products and services in the region. Holding up a mirror to global diversification trends, in 2011 it acquired Gurgaon-based metasearch play iXigo.

Meanwhile in Japan, one of the world’s most innovative and established travel markets,15-year-old Venture Republic operates the largest domestic metasearch engine with domains Travel.ip and Hotel.ip. In 2012, it experienced 50% user growth versus just 15% from players in the OTA space.

Unsurprisingly all these markets have proved attractive for global metasearch firms. UK-based Skyscanner is just one and by 2012 it had established a presence in China through a partnership with search engine Baidu. Later, in 2014, it acquired another – Youbibi, proving that local partnerships are an essential ingredient. Last year, just to tick off another country, Skycanner linked up with Yahoo Japan in a 51%-49% JV.

Southeast Asia: the addressable market?

In Southeast Asia, where many travel bookings here are still made through traditional travel agents there is plenty of opportunity and room for growth. Here there were over 100-million tourist arrivals in 2015, according to ASEAN, the association of Southeast Asian nations, and nearly 50 million of these came from within the region – most notably from China.

Max Kraynov, CEO and founder of metasearch firm JetRadar, which has headquarters in Thailand, has an interesting view. While he sees huge and growing potential for hotel metasearch in Southeast Asia, he is not convinced of the potential for flights, because “there are no real OTAs to metasearch on”.

“For a meta with flights, the addressable market is small as there’s enormous brand recognition of low-cost carriers and a meta needs to do lots of educational work to capture this brand-loyal audience,” he says.

So, although flight metasearch is JetRadar’s game elsewhere in the world, from its regional headquarters in Thailand, today it operates as an OTA.

For a meta with flights, the addressable market is small as there’s enormous brand recognition of low-cost carriers and a meta needs to do lots of educational work to capture this brand-loyal audience

Max Kraynov, CEO, JetRadar

However, not everybody holds this view. Anna Trushkina, commercial manager of hotel metasearch play Wego, for one, disagrees that there are a dearth of OTAs in Southeast Asia to compare rates from.

“If you take Indonesia, by far the biggest point of sale for Wego in the region, as an example, the OTA market is led by local players such as Traveloka,, NusaTrip, and PegiPegi, which have both hotels and flights – and flight volumes are even bigger. What is more, global OTAs and hotel brands are actively acquiring customers online in the region and local media conglomerates have either launched or are launching an OTA of their own.”

To Trushkina’s latter point, last year media investment conglomerate MNC Media spawned Mister Aladin, a hotel metasearch. At the time, CEO Teddy Pun was quoted by Tech in Asia saying that far more differentiation and innovation is needed in the region’s online travel sector – a gap he hopes to fill.

Pun believes that being part of a media conglomerate also gives Mister Aladin the marketing edge – where many local firms’ resources are often stretched. As Kraynov points out, the high cost of paid search makes it particularly tough for aggregators in the region which rely mostly on SEO and rentention mechanisma like email subscription, mobile app installs, Facebook likes and so on.

Local and mobile edge

For Trushkina, Wego’s edge in Southeast Asia, and elsewhere, has come from localised investment in mobile apps that have proved “very sticky for metasearch” where users are being sent down the funnel.

On the localisation front, Wego has also placed particular emphasis on providing users with rates from local and global players, and direct hotel rates on all key points-of-sale.

Trushkina cannot stress enough that Wego’s growth in the region is coming from mobile where usage continues to grow by 15% year-on-year according to digital agency We Are Social. Indeed, mobile connections in the region today now number over 700 million, the agency reports. At the same time, the number of people using Facebook and Twitter in the region is expected to surpass the US in 2016.

With a fast growing digital landscape, coupled with rising incomes and discretionary travel spend growing as a result, online travel in Southeast Asia looks set for takeoff.

Where the real money is to be made may remain a moot point but it’s clear that while metasearch may start with flight search, brands will continue to add higher margin hotels, transfers and other ancillaries going forward.

That has been the story elsewhere in the world, and it’s unlikely to be any different here, says Kraynov.

Source: Flights versus hotels: where is the market for meta in APAC? | Travel Industry News & Conferences – EyeforTravel

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.


Hotel Chains and Travel Websites in a Tug of War for Customers – The New York Times

LondonHotel Chains and Travel Websites in a Tug of War for Customers

A recent Hilton commercial that shows people tapping away on their phones and computers as the Rolling Stones song “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” plays seems relatively benign, as does the tagline, “Stop Clicking Around.”

But it is one more — very expensive — salvo in the long-simmering tension between hotel chains and online travel agencies like Expedia, as each try to grab their share of customers.

The marketing campaign, developed by Fold7, which is based in London, is the largest such initiative in Hilton’s 97-year history. It premiered during the Grammy Awards broadcast last month and is appearing online, during major television broadcasts, on billboards and in many magazines and newspapers.

The symbiotic relationship between hotel chains and online travel agencies has been under increasing strain for some time. While online travel agencies offer consumers a wide array of options and bring customers to hotels, they do not develop the holy grail of customer relations: brand loyalty.

According to Phocuswright, a travel market research company, 31 percent of people in the United States used online agencies for their travel needs last year, and 28 percent booked directly, slightly up from 2013.

Hilton is also offering similar deals to members who book directly.

“I think what Hilton is doing is quite creative and has the potential to be very, very successful,” said Henry Harteveldt, founder of Atmosphere Research Group, a travel industry research company. “It’s all about building trust in the Hilton website, and the most effective way is to go after the online travel agencies.”

Some online, and even off-line, travel agencies are not very happy with Hilton’s public move.

Cyril Ranque, president of Lodging Partner Services for the Expedia Group, called the hotels’ campaigns, “an ill-conceived strategy in the long term.” Expedia Inc. owns, among others,,, and

Mr. Ranque said that most consumers who were shopping on Expedia and similar sites were “brand agnostic,” meaning they do not really care where they book as long as the hotel meets their needs.

“We have an algorithm that puts forward the most attractive and appealing choice for consumers,” he said. “If hotels are consistently not offering the most attractive prices to consumers, our algorithm would push other hotels ahead.”

Mr. Ranque also said that the hotels would lose customers who would have been directed to the hotels’ websites by a third party.

“We’re trying to make them understand it’s a bad approach,” he said of Hilton.

Geraldine Calpin, Hilton’s global head of marketing, says the campaign’s goal is to make consumers aware of the goodies available to loyalty customers who book directly — including lower rates and room selection — and to clear up misunderstandings that crop up with third-party bookers.

“If you book direct, it gets rid of the confusion,” Ms. Calpin said. “This is where you can get the best price and the best value.”

One factor is simple economics. Hotels pay commissions if a third party books the reservation. This commission is 15 to 20 percent for each booking, said Cindy Estis Green, chief executive of Kalibri Labs, which provides research to the hotel industry about revenue performance.

Another factor is the increasing concern about consumer confusion — that is, customers thinking they are booking directly with a hotel and finding out later that they used a third-party site. Sometimes consumers think they are booking reservations that can be cancelled without charge, only to find out later that is not the case — or they arrive at a hotel to discover that they do not actually have reservations.

The Federal Trade Commission “has gotten very interested in this,” Ms. Estis Green said. Some consumers are not just perplexed about whether they are booking directly or through a third party, she says, but also who really offered the lowest prices.

The fact is, most hotels and online travel agencies have “rate parity” agreements that neither can undercut the other’s price and that hotels must give the best prices to all the online agencies and not favour one over another.

Rate parity has come under deepening scrutiny; in 2014, about 30 lawsuits were filed in various states against major hotel chains and online-booking groups saying rate parity violated antitrust laws.

The lawsuits were consolidated and eventually dismissed because the plaintiffs were unable to prove that there was an actual conspiracy between hotels and online travel agencies to set prices, said Ilse Scott, a lawyer who specializes in hospitality law with the firm Michelman & Robinson.

There are exceptions to rate parity. One is offering “private” rates to select groups of consumers, such as those who are part of a loyalty program.

The “book direct” movement is not limited to the United States. The European umbrella organization for hotels, restaurants and cafes called Hotrec began a similar campaign last year.

“More brands will follow the direction of Hilton and Marriott,” Mr. Harteveldt said, “but the challenge is if everyone does it, will it really help the brands?”

Source: Hotel Chains and Travel Websites in a Tug of War for Customers – The New York Times

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

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

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

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

1. Spend on Your Website

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

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

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

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

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

3. Expect to Welcome More Millennials

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

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

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

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

4. Revisit Reviews

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

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

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

5. Keep Your Eye on Video

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

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


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

Research reveals most-used search keywords for travel industry: bizreport

Analysis from digital marketing intelligence firm SimilarWeb has revealed the most popular search terms used by U.S. consumers searching for information to book their next vacation.

Between the months of January and November, 2015, the most popular online keyword search in the travel industry was ‘Expedia’. The term generated a whopping 32.7 million organic searches during the 11 months.

In fact, instead of generic travel terms, the names of leading airlines and online travel agents all featured in the top spots for organic online travel searches, accounting for 15.3% of all keyword searches. Behind ‘Expedia’ came ‘Kayak’, ‘American Airlines’, ‘TripAdvisor’, ‘South West’, ‘South West Airlines’, and ‘United Airlines’. In eighth place was ‘Airbnb’.

Non-branded, or generic, travel keywords played a much smaller role in generating website traffic for the travel industry.  ‘Flight tracker’ was the highest generic keyword accounting for 0.41% of all searches, followed by ‘hotels’ (0.31%), ‘flights’ (0.17%) and ‘restaurants near me’ (0.11%).

“In any industry, organic searches are a major barometer of brand recognition and trust,” says Pascal Cohen, SimilarWeb  Insights Manager. “In the travel industry this is particularly evident with many of the biggest online sites now front of mind whenever we book a trip.  In an industry where more than 40% of travel companies generate traffic from search, companies not getting searched for are unlikely to generate bookings. Understanding the right keywords driving traffic to sites can make a major impact on a company’s success in this competitive market.” : get there for less


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

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

Let’s get personal: Smart technology redefines tailor-made travel –

Smart technology is transforming the tourism industry with personalized services that suggest richer and more enjoyable experiences suited to a traveler’s individual preferences, reveals the WTM Global Trends Report 2015, in association with Euromonitor International released at World Travel Market London.

Using mobile technology and big data analytics, companies are now able to suggest interesting activities for travelers at their location, reveals the report, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary at WTM London 2015.wtm png

For example, the TripAdvisor Apple Watch app can send a push notification at lunchtime with information about the highest-rated restaurant nearby. The next step will be tailoring the service to travelers’ personal tastes.  Google Now is aiming to proactively bring consumers information before they ask, based on their past behavior, with geo-localization keeping suggestions locally relevant. The key lies in providing “context-aware information in the moment that matters”, according to Google UK Sales Director, Bernd Fauser.

OTAs such as and Expedia, are currently working on customers’ preferences to increase booking conversions, and they will move to personalized mobile services next.  World Travel Market, Senior Director, Simon Press said: “The opportunities that smart technology offers travel companies are endless and we have only scratched the surface.  It won’t be long before personalized suggestions – created from cross-checking consumers’ preferences and current location with online inventories of local travel services and activities – will become the norm.“

Euromonitor International, Head of Travel, Caroline Bremner said: “Companies now have the possibility to collect a wealth of information about consumers that was previously unavailable to them – usually referred to as big data – and this is leading to offers of more personalized experiences.“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.”

Mobile travel sales reached US$96 billion in 2014, accounting for 12.5% of global on-line travel sales, according to Euromonitor International. They are forecast to record a strong compound annual growth of 22% over the period 2014-2019.

Download the report

Source: Let’s get personal: Smart technology redefines tailor-made travel –

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 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 Finally Joins Major Hotel Chains in Book on TripAdvisor – Skift

Trip Advisor

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

By Dennis Schaal: Skift

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