Robert Beerworth Team : Web Strategy Tags : Business

Flying high... unless you`re a traditional travel operator

Robert Beerworth Team : Web Strategy Tags : Business

A colleague of mine sent me a very good article this morning from Technology Weekly (an online marketing newsletter from reflecting on the (UK) travel industry and the uphill battle the traditional operators face in clawing back online market share and customers; to view the full article, you will require a free subscription.

Established, brick-and-mortar travel operators face serious and increasing competition from more recent, online operators; literally hundreds of thousands of searches are made every day for travel related services and products, and the lion’s share is being won by the online competition.

The hurt isn’t limited to lost sales to a growing online audience of travelers, or the cost of running short-term, expensive Pay-Per-Click (PPC) campaigns to compete with the far better search engine optimized competition.

Travel commissions are dropping; airlines are rewarding customers for booking online; ignoring the very high customer acquisition costs associated with PPC campaigns, traditional providers are simply not culturally suited to the online environment.

The article is a little sensational though well written, and concludes by detailing the “fairly stark choice” facing the traditional operators; adapt, buy the online competition or get out of travel.

In line with the article’s thinking, we have noticed a significant increase in both the focus and sophistication of our travel clients’ websites in the past six months.

The focus is not merely the obvious Holy Grail of online bookings, but of providing relevant, personalised customer service and information, and complimentary travel services and functionality. Several of our travel clients have extended their reach and promotion to email and RSS marketing and are now beginning client education programs (i.e. educating their own clients on industry and technology movements) and more general sales and marketing promotions.

In fact, one of our travel clients is now extended into online tutorials and technology demonstrations, a reflection of the importance of the web to their business, especially for customer acquisition and retention.

Wiliam is a leader in Australian travel website development.

Our clients are leaders in their respective travel industry sectors including corporate, retail, wholesale and online; our sitedock  Content Management System technology provides a seamless interface between popular booking engines, Global Distribution Systems (GDS) and other travel technologies while we are experienced in the design of transactional websites, search engine optimization and online marketing for the travel industry.