Digital marketing software agency Kenshoo hopes to soon be able to name more top travel clients having been chosen by Kayak to manage its campaigns.
Kenshoo is growing fast having just opened offices in Paris and Hamburg and moved into larger premises in London, its European hub.
With developers in Tel Aviv and a US office in Chicago, the firm has a growing number of clients in the travel sector, which it says represents 10% to 15% of its business and is growing.
Along with Kayak, Kenshoo works with hotel chain Accor and the UK’s largest travel company Tui Travel, as well as Travelocity and airlines including Air France and Air New Zealand.
It claims its software as a service platform offers clients leading-edge technology to manage digital campaigns across search engines and social networks in the most efficient way possible.
Chris Ward, Europe managing director, said the firm was focused on raising its profile in what is a testing market for travel retailers.
“Selling holidays is going to be difficult this year. We believe engaging with us is definitely going to help people. We are a company with a real passion for technology,”
“Our core sectors are retail and travel. The technology we provide lends itself to these sort of clients,” he said.
Kenshoo claims its three core products, Kenshoo Enterprise, Kenshoo Social and Kenshoo Local are responsible for £15 billion of annual customer sales revenues.
Chief marketing officer Aaron Goldman, who is usually based in the US but who was in the UK last week, said the biggest advantage of its software for clients was in the time savings, with this being particularly true for multi-national organisations running campaigns in multiple markets and on multiple search engines.
“We bring in data from a number of channels and technology platforms to allow you to make smart decisions.
“We have direct connections to feed ads in and updates, to bring in email campaigns and to display banner ads.
“Our technology ties in with internal systems to automate a lot of the processes. Where the value really lies is in the time savings.”
Goldman said that in a dynamic travel sector with the need to constantly manage inventory, prices and keyword bidding campaigns it was critical for firms to be able to act quickly.
“Through that automation every second we can shave off someone accessing that data is going to translate to the bottom line and is revenue back to the merchant.
“It’s a competitive marketplace; everyone is trying to out-bid you,” said Goldman.
Another complication for travel marketers is the rise of social media but Goldman said he believes attribution techniques are now revealing what its true value is.
“People are getting better at measuring what success is in social media by not trying to stuff the old model into it.
“This is all about how you engage within Facebook because people want to be chatting with friends, looking at pictures all without leaving the network.
“Two years ago everyone was in a rush to get friends and they did not know why, they just wanted fans. Now there is true measurement coming out about what the true value of a fan is.
“You can now target your fans on Facebook and track it over time and understand their value just like you can with an email subscriber.”
Ward, a veteran of the first dot com bubble when he worked for Microsoft MSN, said the biggest changes between then and now in the UK is the dominance of digital agencies.
“When we started the advertising business model with Microsoft it was probably 85% to 90% of revenue coming from dot coms who had their own in-house marketing teams.
“When the first dot com bubble burst a lot disappeared, and the others got rid of their marketing teams and found economies and efficiencies working with fledgling digital agencies.
“We saw revenues migrate and it’s probably now 95% agency. We have seen some clients in retail and travel take responsibility in house, building teams and using our technology to drive efficiencies.
“For some it’s more hybrid where they use an agency and also use us. There are lots of clients who have never really settled on what to do.”
Ward concedes using Kenshoo can be complex and that is one reason for having a large and growing team based in the UK, so clients can be taken through the process.
“We are like a racing car – you would not just be able to jump in a drive it down the street.
“We recognise we need to have people who can hand-hold customers and agencies and also audit them on a quarterly basis to see what aspects of the platform they are using well and what they can do better.”