Lastminute.com mulls new plan to earn from site exits

lastminute.com has identified selling exit traffic to its competitors as a way to monetise non-transactional traffic.

Ed Kamm, chief operating officer for lastminute.com, said that the move could help the business offset some of the costs of buying traffic from Google. The traffic is sold on by lastminute.com on a CPC basis.

The pop-under screen offers to direct exiting lastminute.com visitors to other sites, not only sister sites such as Travelocity but also direct rivals including Expedia. Kamm argued that exit traffic from lastminute.com offered better value for money than Google paid search because its leads are qualified.

Kamm was a panellist during a session during this week’s EyeForTravel conference in London.

In a separate session about ancillary revenue, Vic Darvey, lastminute.com’s VP distribution EMEA, said; “We talk to our parent company in the US for guidance.

“Selling on the exit traffic will add tens of millions of dollars to Travelocity’s bottom line.”

While Expedia may have grabbed the headlines for its media model, Kamm’s comments show that other online travel agencies are thinking along the same lines.

Sandra Leonhard, director of web strategy for TUI Travel, also revealed that it has started selling advertising on its Thomson.co.uk web site.

The economic slowdown has impacted all sectors of the travel industry, although Kamm suggested that lastminute.com was holding up. “Traffic at the moment is beyond our expectations and its also converting into sales,” he said.

During the Q&A, Kamm confirmed that lastminute.com was able to stimulate demand by using deals and offers. “We’ve found that if we can get deals or offers from a supplier for a particular property, demand for that destination increases as a result once the offer has run out.”

Another positive feature of the current climate, Kamm claimed, is that is a good time to try out new things, from product ranges to page layout. “Don’t forget that you can learn more from your failures than your successes,” he said.

One such failure that he admitted to was lastminute.com’s attempts to introduce an Amazon-style “customers who searched for this item also looked at…” feature to the site. “It freaked them out,” he said candidly. “And we learned from it that you have to be very careful with personalisation.”

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