TripAdvisor Acquires Vacation Home Rentals

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TripAdvisor, one of the premier travel metasearch engines a traveler review directories, continued their growth within the vacation rental sector of the travel industry by recently acquiring Vacation Home Rentals, a Massachusetts-based vacation rentals website.

Vacation Home Rentals features more than 14,000 properties around the world. This brings the number of vacation rentals featured on TripAdvisor to 550,000 rental properties worldwide. Continue reading

Search Ads Integrated with Social Increase Revenue

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When forming your marketing strategy, you should not be deciding between search ads and social ads.  Instead you should try to integrate your search ads with social ads, according to research conducted by Marin Software and published in a new white paper, “The Multiplier Effect of Integrating Search and Social Advertising.”

What Marin’s Research Found
According to the white paper, Marin’s research found that customers who clicked on both search and social ads were about twice as likely to convert versus those who clicked on a search ad alone.

“The impact of cross-channel touch was even greater when examining social clicks.  Users who clicked on both the search and social ads had a click-through rate approximately four and a half times higher than users who only click on social ads,” Marin stated in its paper.

The research found that customers also spent more when click on both search and social ads with two times more revenue per click.

“Multi-channel touch points are even more valuable for social advertising,” Marin reported.  “Users who clicked on both a search and social ad contributed four times more revenue per click than users who clicked on the social ad only.”

Other Key Findings

  • Search campaigns that were managed alongside social ad campaigns had 26% more revenue per click than search campaigns managed alone.
  • The integration of ad campaign management for the two channels yielded 68% higher revenue per conversion for search campaigns when managed with social advertising.

Key Takeaways

  • Successful marketing executives recognize that meeting overall business objectives requires focusing the customer, not the channel.  (For example, a channel-focused approach is mainly concerned with the right keywords, the right targeting settings and often the best bids).
  • While a single-channel management focus can have some tactical advantages, it often ignores the strategic goals of the overall marketing effort: acquiring the right customer with the right buying intentions at the right time.
  • Marketing is fundamentally about target audience, while the channel is the means of delivering a message to that audience.  Successful marketers are beginning to focus the shift away from the individual channel and instead use the strengths of each channel to reach an intended audience.

To access the full white paper by Marin Software, click here.

Yahoo Announces Launch of Digital Travel Magazine

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With Google making a recent splash in the travel market with their Hotel Finder feature, it should come as no surprise that Yahoo had its own travel news to announce on April 28 at Digital Content NewFronts. The company announced that it is bringing readers a first-class ticket around the world with the launch of the new Yahoo Travel – an immersive digital magazine that makes those daydreams to getaways near and far a reality. Continue reading

TripAdvisor’s TripBarometer Provides Industry Insight

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Smartphones give travelers the ability to research, plan and book trips right from the palm of their hand, but TripAdvisor’s latest TripBarometer survey indicates that only four percent of worldwide travelers used this channel to book their last trip.  Here are some of the key stats and findings from a recent survey by Ipsos, conducted on behalf of TripAdvisor.

The biannual study highlights country, regional, and global travel trends, according to more than 61,000 travelers and hoteliers around the world.

Overall Travel Industry Numbers

  • Travelers are planning to spend more on their holidays in 2014 with an average annual traveler spend rising from $5,955 to $6,136 for this year, an increase of 3%.
  • The proportion of travelers planning to travel more has increased across almost all markets.  This year, 90% of global travelers are planning to travel domestically (up from 87% in 2013) and 77% plan to travel internationally, up 12% compared 2013 (65%).

Hoteliers Gaining Confidence

  • 70% of hoteliers globally say they are optimistic about their profitability in the year ahead (up from 67% in 2013).
  • Although just one in five global hoteliers plan to hire staff, an encouraging 37% of accommodation businesses will be investing in staff training, perhaps indicating renewed efforts to deliver excellent customer service.

Mobile Booking on the Rise, but Global Uptake Still Slow

  • Globally, travelers are attached to their mobile phones, with 91% saying they use their smartphones on holiday.
  • 37% of travelers use their smartphone to find things to do, and 27% are searching for hotels.

Despite the increasing number of travelers using their smartphone to plan and research, the trend has not yet crossed over to the booking stage.

  • Only 4% of global travelers booked the accommodation for their last trip via mobile, however China is leading the pack with 10% of Chinese bookings coming via mobile.
  • Thailand (9%), Indonesia (7%), and Malayasia (7%) are the next highest countries in percentage of bookings made on smartphones.

Hoteliers appear to see the value in offering mobile options for travelers.

  • Three quarters of hoteliers (76%) already have a mobile offering for travelers in place.
  • Of those hoteliers who do not have mobile offerings, 50% plan to introduce a mobile offering in 2013.
  • 45% of hoteliers allow guests to book rooms via their website on a mobile device and 38% have a mobile friendly website.

To learn more about the Ipsos/TripAdvisory TripBarometer, click here.

Tensions High For Airbnb, New York Attorney General

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The New York Times had a great one-liner relating to the Airbnb case being argued in Albany right now:

“There was no room for agreement, and no agreement about rooms, in court Tuesday in Albany.”

The State of New York and the world’s largest startup have found themselves in a stalemate after the first day of hearings in a case that has taken the travel industry by storm.

Eric Schneiderman, the New York Attorney General, has issued a subpoena for Airbnb’s list of hosts in New York City because he thinks some of them are breaking the law.  It is illegal in New York to rent out an apartment for less than 30 days.

Airbnb is arguing that the government’s subpoena is too “extreme and incredible” in scope, as the state of New York is requesting users’ names, emails, the address of the rental, the dates, and the amount charged to rent.  The company sees this as a fundamental attack on its very existence because much of what it offers in New York is short-term rentals in apartment buildings. Continue reading

Airbnb’s New York Listings Illegal?

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Airbnb has made enormous strides in the Vacation Rental segment of the travel industry in the past year, but a roller coaster week in the media may be threatening the image of this successful startup.

On Monday, New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman filed an affidavit with the state Supreme Court in Albany claiming that the majority of Airbnb listings in New York are illegal.  Schneiderman originally filed the subpoena, seeking user data from Airbnb, in October.  Speculation is swirling that since the company has been in negotiations with the Attorney General’s office for months, a settlement fell apart.

The issue at hand is that subletting for less than 30 days is in general illegal for renters in New York who are not continually residing in their apartment.  For Airbnb, plenty of the nearly 20,000 offerings – 64% on January 31 – listed on the website in New York were for an “entire apartment”, not a shared space, as the law would seem to mandate. Continue reading