Compare Discount Holidays prepares big January TV push with 20 partners

Around 20 online travel brands are backing a major television turn of year campaign by new holiday price comparison website

The site, which launched in October claiming to have a £1 million marketing pot, will make its TV debut on Boxing Day before ramping up its activity on January 1 for the entire month.

Partners, who will be featured in the adverts, have each been asked to contribute £2,250 and in return are being offered a reduced call lead rate of £3.69 – a discount of £2.

Dale Moreton, founder of FDC, the marketing agency for Compare Discount Holidays, said it has been inundated with interest from firms looking to drive calls, particularly after the decision by Teletext Holidays to work exclusively with only one supplier, Truly Travel.

He said there were 10 firms on a waiting list to work with it. Among those already signed up are Travel Soon, Broadway Travel, Very Cheap Holidays, Your Holidays and Purple Travel.

The advert will be shown around 1,000 times from 9am to 8pm between Boxing Day and the end of January initially on a smaller scale on channels like The Travel Channel and Discovery to test the response and the infrastructure behind Compare Discount Holidays.

It will be shown during January on channels such as ITV, E4 and Sky1 and Sky2 targeted at an audience of likely holiday bookers. Moreton said the chosen demographic was viewers of programmes like Coronation Street and Loose Women.

Moreton said Compare Discount Holidays intended to operate ethically in what can be a highly competitive price-sensitive part of the market by making sure the deals advertised are genuine and it wanted to work collaboratively with advertisers to build its brand and to provide them with high-quality leads.

“This is not about our partners funding this advertising. They came to us asking to be involved in TV. We have offered them the chance to work with us on this and a discounted call charge to say thank you for being part of this. They want to be part of this club.

“It’s an embryonic idea. At the moment we are an open book. We are looking at it to keep an eye on silly deals. We are making a decision on deals below £100 at the moment because we do not necessarily believe those deals are out there.

“If people start messing around with ridiculous deals it is Compare Discount Holidays which gets beaten up by Trading Standards so we will politely ask them to stop.

“What’s happened with various other price comparison organisations is that costs have gone up and the dynamic in the market has changed. The owner is passionate about making this work for people. We are trying to drive good calls through and we want to police the marketplace a little bit more.”

Since October Compare Discount Holidays has been growing its brand, particularly on social media, to build trust. It now has 10,000 Facebook followers and has grown its email database from 25,000 to 62,000 in the last three weeks alone through a holidays giveaway competition the winners of which will be announced on January 1, Moreton said.

“It’s about getting Compare Discount Holidays to the level where it is no longer a new born, where it’s got a social footprint,” Moreton said adding there was no “black hat” SEO short cut to establishing a brand properly in the market. Moreton expects the website url and brand to be one of its key assets.

Asked to estimate call levels the TV campaign is expected to generate, Moreton said he was not able to put a figure on it but that he expected the campaign to hit home with a receptive audience ready to book holidays after Christmas.

Teletext’s decision has prompted a flurry of activity in the UK’s independent online call centre-based travel agency sector as firms look to fill the void.

Qwerty Travel boss Matt Somers estimated Teletext’s decision to £35 million of gross margin out of the market and this week northeast-based Holiday Discount Centre launched a new site to meet demand from advertisers.

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