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Online Tourism Marketing
Online Tourism Marketing
Since the emergence of the internet there has been a huge growth in online tourism marketing. The main reason being the cost of winning a customer became cheaper on the internet rather than getting the customer from the high street. As the travel portals became established they started to spend more revenue on online tourism marketing and began to out-price the smaller travel agents from online advertising.
This became a major problem for smaller travel agents who did not have the online spending power of the larger travel portals. Once the larger travel portals established themselves on the internet and gained market share they realised that the small travel agents still contributed a large percentage of overall travel sales. One way they could penetrate the smaller travel agents was by offering them affiliate programs to integrate into their independent web site. This meant that a smaller travel agent could take programming code given to them by a larger travel portal and place this code on their web page. This code would then automatically generate holiday content including packages placed by the larger portals and if clicked on to book would take the customer from the travel agents site to the travel portals web site where they could book online. The independent travel agent would then get a percentage of the booking fee usually between 5% to 10% if the customer booked the travel package. There are a few issues with affiliate programs that should be questioned that the larger travel portals don’t tell you about, these are:
i.) How good is the tracking system provided by the travel portals? Will it provide accurate statistics on the conversion ratio’s or will it just lead the customer away from the travel agent web site.
ii.) What if the customer does not purchase immediately from the travel portal and decides to return at a later date directly to the Travel portal site. It is unlikely that the affiliate system will track a return visit directly to the travel portal and this may result in loss of business and customer for the independent travel agent.
iii.) The affiliate system may damage the travel agents web site on search engines and may result in loss of rankings as search engines don’t like duplicate content nor do they really like auto generated content which can do more harm than good.
iv.) Some travel portals hold commissions for a long period of time until a certain amount of money is built up before paying out commissions so this can result in revenue earned by the travel agents actually being held back rather than paid out.
The above factors must be questioned by travel agents before they consider taking part in some kind of affiliate scheme that can sometimes damage their web site and be very difficult to repair. Before taking up this type of online tourism marketing scheme take into account the above factors and even ask the larger travel portals the above questions and you may be surprised how many of the above questions they can accurately answer rather than just giving you vague answers.
In contrast the Travel Advertising system has been built to work for the travel agents on their online tourism marketing and help them get more exposure for their web sites rather than take traffic away like the affiliate schemes. The aim of the Travel Advertising system is to get the travel agents direct enquiries through the travel advertising sites and direct links to their web site so they can retain the customer rather than give the customer away to the larger portals. For more details on how Travel Advertising can help you with your online tourism marketing visit our membership benefits section.