Times steps up travel presence

Times Newspapers has revamped its online travel channel in a bid to tie up its vast archive of editorial content with travel advertising slots and search functionality for users.

Almost 5,000 travel articles have so far been tagged in order for users to be served with contextual advertising for existing travel advertisers across the Times, Sunday Times and Times Online.

A search tool has also been developed by technology company FAST to allow users to search only travel-related articles and products within the portfolio.

FAST chief executive John Lervik said: “In our experience The Times Online Travel Channel now offers the most sophisticated contextual advertising solution in the travel market today.

“Times Online has taken full advantage of FAST’s robust, highly configurable enterprise search platform to offer an increased level of relevancy of search for its users and the opportunity to create new opportunities for advertisers to target their message.”

Times group digital advertising manager, Danny Ward Lee, told Travolution that the ability to serve contextual advertising had given users a vital new tool in the travel search arena.

“Commercially it is a space that we have got to invest time and resources in,” he said. “We have strong travel-related products and we have to maintain our dominance.”

Content from the prestigious Sunday Times Travel magazine is also expected to be added to the archive.

Digital media publisher Zach Leonard said: “No other media company can offer such a complete package of information to readers.

“It will act as an invaluable resource whilst making use of the vast amount of travel information available from The Times, Sunday Times and Times Online.

“The combination of the power of the channel to amalgamate information and the extremely diverse audience of Times brand readers should prove an extremely successful offering to our advertisers.”

The development comes as part of a major step up of online activity by Times Newspapers’ parent company News Corp. The media giant, headed by Rupert Murdoch, purchased the social networking site MySpace in July 2005 for $580 million.

Telegraph Newspapers recently unveiled the overhaul of its own travel channel, with an emphasis on contextual advertising, handled by AdPrecision.

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