Travel Advertising – Make It Work Harder For You

The first step in attracting and maintaining potential travelers is to review your travel advertising budget to make sure you’re investing enough time and money crafting quality ads that are designed to attract needed tourist dollars. Most people depend on quality travel advertising to guide their choice for a vacation location. They want advertisements, brochures and other travel literature to provide accurate, up-to-date information on total costs, what their accommodations will include, and what sights are located nearby.

If you feel that your travel advertising budget needs some revisions, if you think you need more “bang for your buck” in order to attract more people to your business, consider working with a full-service tourism company.

By investing your money with an experience business that keeps an eye on tourism trends, travel agencies, hotels and other tourism-related businesses can derive maximum benefit from their travel advertising dollars. Some examples of the types of travel advertising services that they offer should include:

A Multi-Media Package

Why just use print if you can develop a presence on the Internet? Consider your options carefully: in some cases, a full-color, glossy travel magazine distributed annually to the right audience may be exactly what you need to advertise your business. However, it might not hurt to search a little further to see if you can find a company that can offer you an Internet web page, access to an e-mail newsletter and other similar amenities to reach potential vacationers. A personalized web site will allow interested visitors a chance to see exactly what accommodations your hotel can offer, or list the types of services your company can provide. Look for a business that employs experienced writers and artists, who can help you craft an advertisement into an attractive package that is bound to draw new business. Since advertising is usually the first contact customers will have with your company, make a good impression! Lure potential business with a well-designed and well-placed ad, which features quality artwork.

Budget-Friendly Costs

Whether your business is new or well-established, you want to make sure that your travel advertising dollars are spent on an advertising campaign that is well within your means. Does the company you choose to advertise with offer any incentives, such as full color on your ads for no extra charge? To make sure your getting your money’s worth, the print medium you select should run your travel advertising at the right time of the year to allow visitors to select the right vacation spot for them, no matter what the season.

Know Your Market

In Power Marketing for Small Business, author Jody Hornor noted: “Targeting your market with the use of demographic data helps you get the most out of your sales and advertising efforts.” So, if you know that your travel advertising campaign will appeal to a higher-income audience then “by targeting your promotional materials to those prospects more likely to buy your product, you will obtain a higher response rate at a lower cost.” A knowledgeable tourism company can help you achieve that goal.

Always Room for More

If your company has grown or added a new service, don’t forget to promote any changes with a feature article, which can be distributed to local newspapers and magazines as well as national publications. Extra space for additional details gives your travel advertising that extra edge!

Dependability

Look for a publication or tourism agency that has been in business for a while, offering quality service to members of the tourism profession. A professional firm will always be happy to offer references. Working with a well-established company will allow you to establish a long-term relationship with talented professionals who understand your needs, and who will help you achieve all of your travel advertising goals.

People have enjoyed vacationing since the days of the ancient Roman Empire. In 19th century England, every upper-income person knew it was necessary to take the “Grand Tour” of Europe to learn more about the history and culture of different nations. Not long after the United States was born, tourists were traveling to seaside resorts or mountain spas where they could relax and unwind.

In addition to having enough time and disposal income, the majority of today’s travelers is often better-educated and visits a destination with a particular objective in mind, whether it’s outdoor sports or cultural events. For a growing number, there is often sufficient time to add a second, “mini” vacation to their schedule, further increasing demands on the tourism industry infrastructure.

In recent years, more than 27 million Americans traveled abroad to fulfill their vacation fantasies, which ranged from touring ancient ruins, or trekking through lush forests, to just lounging on a broad sandy beach under a bright summer sun. Although portions of the world may be in turmoil, there are still a lot of places to see and millions of people happy to spend part of their annual income on a memorable vacation.

In exchange, millions of travelers from foreign countries spent more than $93 billion in the United States in 2004, according to the Travel Industry Association of America. A growing number of them are from emerging markets such as China, which will probably see more than 100 million vacationers traveling abroad to destinations like America by the year 2020. The World Tourism Organization predicts that international tourism will continue to grow annually overall by four percent.

However, it is important to remember that tourism has been affected by two primary factors in recent years. First, the tragedy of September 11, 2001, which has caused some travelers to reconsider their choice of a vacation destination. Second, access to the Internet has provided them with the opportunity to book their own trips, sometimes at a cheaper rate than they can find from local travel agencies. As a result, it’s up to you to find new ways to attract their attention and show them the benefits of bringing their business to you–the tourism professional.

The United States Small Business Administration (SBA) has stated that lack of planning is the primary cause many companies fail to succeed in America. Do you want to become a leader in your particular market? If you do, then remember that it is necessary to invest time, energy and capital in your travel advertising, which will undoubtedly help your company reap greater rewards.

Online Travel Technology and Online Travel Industry Future

Are On-line Travel Portals and Travel Search Engines advanced than ever?

Large or Small, Travel companies are continually looking to use the latest technology to enhance their on-line presence. This is the main reason on-line travel website technology has grown faster than any other on-line related industry. The On-line Travel Hotel Accommodation Booking marketplace is a very competitive area and ultimately the user’s decision to purchase depends on 3 key factors:

  • Website functionality
  • Availability of the chosen travel package, flight or hotel
  • Price (obviously)

Most of the leading online travel agents or online tour operators who are connected with one of the highly recognised flight suppliers, hotels and/or transfer wholesalers via XML. Through these suppliers they can search online users’ needs relate to any destination around the world.

These Online Travel Websites are continuously growing their supplier base by regularly adding boutique, destination specific XML suppliers. This will offer more hotel, Flight and Transfer options to their web users, allowing us to broaden their exposure to new market segments.

Most of the Online travel websites use the latest “filtration technique” across a number of supplier feeds in real-time. Meaning that they can always deliver the latest availability information and most importantly the best available rate to the consumer. Further to above most of the leading travel and leisure websites have;

  • Ability to manage, adapt and dynamically improve the system according to the marketing and usability purposes
  • Flexibility to handle the load according to the business improvement
  • Easy to find and fix bugs and issues
  • System is guaranteed for 95% up time
  • Secure backup and recovery processes
  • Ability to launch new sites for their new markets.

Travel Website and GDS Development Overview.

Leading Travel websites and corresponding Systems are based on an open architecture concept which is an independent platform and multi tier internet technology.

  • Systems are built according to SOA (Service Oriented Architecture)
  • Mostly built on JEE technologies
  • Use of web services for external connectivity and data processing
  • Distributed / multi team development using SVN

Market analysis summary to get an idea about OTA marketplace.

The travel sector is a growing marketplace. With traveller numbers set to double in size over the next 10 years there has been a steady increase in the number of people booking their travel independently i.e. book flights, accommodation etc. separately and not as a package online.

In spite of occasional shocks, international tourist arrivals have shown almost uninterrupted growth from 25 million in 1950, to 277 million in 1980, to 438 million in 1990, to 681 million in 2000, and the current 880 million. By 2020 international arrivals are expected to reach 1.6 billion.

The total capacity in hotels and similar establishments worldwide is estimated at 18.4million rooms. This has been growing at about 3% over the last five years.

  • America 6,500,000 rooms
  • Asia Pacific 4,460,000 rooms
  • Europe 6,550,000 rooms
  • Middle East 355,000 rooms
  • Africa 485,000 rooms

The estimated value of hotels booked through Online Travel Agents (OTA) in 2010 is over $22 bn. as per Online Traffic and Conversion Report Second Edition – February 2011.

Online Travel Agent (OTA) focus will be on driving sales exclusively through the Internet. This is a well established and ever-growing marketplace. Online travel revenues in Asia-Pacific, Europe and the US, 2006-2010 (% of total travel):

  • 2006: 49% (US) / 23% (Europe) / 9% (Asia-Pacific)
  • 2007: 52% (US) / 27% (Europe) / 11% (Asia-Pacific)
  • 2008: 51% (US) / 33% (Europe) / 14% (Asia-Pacific)
  • 2009: 56% (US) / 37% (Europe) / 18% (Asia-Pacific)
  • 2010: 59% (US) / 43% (Europe) / 21% (Asia-Pacific)

Since 2008 the percentage of UK adults booking their overseas holidays online has risen by 15% to over 54% (one-in-two consumers). 45% of the hotel bookings in 2010 was made via the Internet.

Travel trade competitive edge compared to market leaders.

Main competitive edge will be your product pricing. As you have to manage your OH relatively low by automating most of the administration functions using latest technology. Then you will be able to offer Hotels, Flights and Travel packages at a rate that the larger OTA will find difficult to match. Whilst they work on margins of about 25% you will be able to run profitably at 10%. This gives us a significant advantage in the marketplace.

Twitter Vs Facebook, Finding New Travel Clients and Business Clients

Twitter has approximately 150 million searches in a month, with over 225 million users (2012). Facebook has about ten times that many searches, mostly for keywords such as Facebook chat, how to change my Facebook page, etc. Face book has over 500 million users, but only a certain percentage open their account every single day.

LinkedIn has approximately 125 million users and around 20 million searches in any given months.

Based on the numbers, you would automatically say that Facebook would be the better option for acquiring new clients? Many people would agree. And many small business owners, including travel agents set out to reach more clients by creating a Facebook Page and a Fan Page, and spending hours engaging in online conversations, with potential clients.

However, if you look at the platform, of the three different social networks, you will notice that one, more so then the other two is utilized by people on the go. If you check your demographics, you will find that twitter has approximately seven percent more mobile users in a day then any of the other major social networking sites.

For some small business owners, this is excellent, but for other businesses, like travel agents, this is pure gold. Twitter allows you to put the destination, the cost and a couple adjectives to describe the travel event into a tweet. And when people are interested, they will follow ‘through’, by clicking on the link.

Twitter has one thing going it for it that the other mega social sites don’t have, and that is, it is mobile friendly. And there are more mobile phones in the world than there are computers. (2012) The policy of “KISS,” keep it simple stupid, is a winning platform for mobile use. The 140 character limit keeps the messages short and simple, and this more than anything is the reason Twitter is an “on the go communications” platform, which can speak to busy people, regardless of their schedule or location.

People are busy. People don’t always have the time to review their emails, open up their Facebook account, or see whose doing what on Linked In. People are busy and Twitter speaks to “busy people.”

People are not concerned that you will over power them with advertising or a message that they just don’t have the time to read or delete. With Twitter, they know, the message won’t be longer than 140 characters. It’s safe to hear what you have to say. It is safe to let you in. In fact, because you are tweeting about a positive diversion, (vacation) they look forward to hearing from you.

There is a reason that there are more mature individuals on Twitter than on Facebook every day. And this is the same reason that travel agents may want to look at Twitter a little closer before deciding to place their primary marketing efforts in other areas. Twitter followers are easier to acquire and cheaper to advertise to. You will still need to develop a relationship with your followers, but it only has to be a 140 character relationship! In time, they will visit your web site, if what you have to offer is of value.

The downside to Twitter if there is one, is that the search engines don’t appear to index the tweets as much as they do the Facebook and LinkedIn comments which are keyword loaded with relevancy.