Blogged – February 2006

If you haven’t visited our Blog at www.travolution.blogspot.com, here are some of the entries you’ve missed…


This is only the warm up act


Cast your thoughts back two years, would you really have thought that we would have so many ‘smart’ devices or applications being used by so many people?


With all of these new experiences online, offline has to up its game as consumers are rather well informed nowadays. Online offers more information on products and services, more fulfilment options and better control of the experience; however, offline still wins hands down on service.


Currently there is much talk about Internet 2.0 and more recently I have seen articles that talk about the look of Internet 3.0, a good indication of the pace of change.


Brands such as Amazon, Napster and eBay have fundamentally changed the way commercial businesses work by adopting what’s commonly being named The Long Tail.


One theme that cuts through all the best innovations – they are all consumer driven. I believe the past 10 years of the Internet were nothing more than the warm-up act for what we are about to see.


Consumer-driven innovation and convergence is happening. The question is who will have the most valuable customer base as the transition happens and who will have it when it ends.


My advice is embrace, test, learn, involve your customers then deploy. Not everything will work, but if it did, then what would be the fun in that?


Graham Donoghue, head of new media, TUI UK



Open my inbox… and delete, delete, delete


Every year I spend a small fortune on far-flung travel. Yet every time I get an e-mail from a travel company, all it does is throw as many offers per square inch as possible at me.


Now I, as a marketer, know that unfortunately the old ploy of throwing enough of a certain substance at people will ensure that some of it sticks – particularly when it costs so little to send e-mails.


Yes, when I am in the market, I might reach for the offer-laden e-mail, but the travel company that is going to get my real long-term travel business is the one that engages me. I want to read about where I am going.


After I have booked I would like e-mails sent through every now and again to get me excited about my upcoming trip. I want recommendations on the type of music, food or entertainment I can expect.


Give me links to Amazon CDs and books on the place, give me pictures of the bizarre sights I will see or the golden beaches – at least acknowledge you know where I am going and when. In fact give me anything but another load of special offers, just like those released from every other online travel agent at the same time every week.


Gavin Sinden, director of digital marketing specialists, Incepta Online



What’s fuelling the appeal of Google Earth?


UK searches for ‘Google Earth’ were so high last week that they outstripped other mainstays at the top of the search-term rankings, including ‘Ryanair’, ‘Tesco’ and ‘BBC’. In fact, the share of UK Internet searches for ‘Google Earth’ was higher than searches for ‘Google’.


Google Earth receives 58% of its visits from Google (combined UK and dot-com properties) and the term ‘Google Earth’ accounts for more than 60% of visits from search.


Google Earth also seems to appeal to an interesting and somewhat surprising demographic: silver surfers.


Nearly one quarter (24.34%) of visits to Google Earth are from those aged 55-plus. Google Earth attracts 70% more visits from the 55-plus age category than average for the Internet.


The groups that were most highly indexed versus the online population on Google Earth were: golden empty nesters; conservative values; provincial privilege; and high-spending elders. I won’t go into a detailed description of these, but suffice it to say that these are older, wealthy segments.


Heather Hopkins, director of research, Hitwise



The murky world of affiliates


The relationship between affiliates and search is a hot topic at present, especially in the travel arena. Look into the top affiliates on any programme, and nine times out of 10 you will find they are using pay-per-click advertising on the likes of Google and Overture to drive clicks that they hope will ultimately convert into sales or leads on the client’s website.


So, if the affiliates are using search – are we just cannibalising volumes we would have received anyway with our own search campaign?


The answer is probably no.


Some clients feel there is a brand benefit from being placed at number one in the search listings for certain keywords. If this is the case you need to ensure your affiliates do not outbid you – even if they convert at a better CPA.


With these checks in place, affiliates offer lots of benefits that a client using search alone cannot possibly receive.


Affiliate marketing is one of the fastest-growing media channels, and these are just some of the reasons why.


Aidan Mark, senior planner at digital media planning and buying agency, Quantum



Internet 2.0 – myth or reality?


“We have the desire to do great things with the online end of our business,” someone said to me recently, “but just as when we first started this Internet malarkey, I still need to convince others that investment now may not see an instant return, but it’ll put us up there.”


Wherever ‘there’ is, nobody is really sure. But it is somewhere where most online travel companies need to be thinking about – if you listen to some of the forward-thinking, techy types in the industry.


But what of those who are worried what the next phase of the online world’s speedy rise will bring? Perhaps privately they are still getting over the past five years and the supreme effort it has taken to get where they are now as businesses.


And perhaps the speed of change is just too much, too soon.


Either way there is no escaping the dreaded ‘Internet 2.0’. Social advancement, as a piece in the Guardian recently suggested, is the next stage.


And nobody wants to be a social outcast, do they?


Posted by Travolution blogger


 


If you have an opinion on these entries, email Travolution editor Kevin May to post it on our Blog.

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