Travel agents are failing to work with online travel publishers because they mistakenly think they need a website or booking engine to qualify as an advertiser, according to Travelzoo.
The travel deals publisher said agents do not realise they can advertise online and generate large amounts of extra business without having their own web presence.
Managing director Chris Loughlin said: “A successful company is not one with a fantastic website and booking engine, it’s a company that can create interesting offers that customers respond to.”
Agents also often assume they need to be a certain size to work with online travel deals sites, he added. “There seems to be a belief it’s only the big companies that work with companies such as Travelzoo, but in the last year, 200 travel companies have signed up to work with us – some have just five employees. You can generate a huge amount of traffic and cost per click can be very effective.”
He admitted the site had not yet aggressively targeted UK agents and only has a small UK sales team. However, there are plans to recruit someone to focus on agent business and it will have a presence at the Travel Convention in Tenerife at the end of this month. “Our door is open to entrepreneurial agents,” he added.
Loughlin warned agents are missing out on a fast-growing distribution channel by avoiding online advertising.
Cruise specialists have been far more active advertisers than traditional agents but the majority of bookings through agents are made on the phone as opposed to online.
Travelzoo’s Top 20 newsletter – containing advertisers’ best deals – is e-mailed to 785,000 subscribers in the UK every week. Loughlin claimed an offer from a medium-sized operator on the newsletter could book between 100 and 300 passengers within 48 hours depending on the deal.
The company has just passed the 12 million mark for subscribers worldwide.