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September 2022, Virtual
September 29 2022, Virtual
A website is no longer a luxury, it is a necessity, according to Kenny Picken, managing director of travel technology firm, Traveltek.
It means all travel businesses, whether large or small, need to get an online identity, or risk being ignored by consumers.
Picken was speaking at the Advantage Travel Centres' conference in Lucerne today (May 22), to the consortium's business and leisure travel members.
The session followed an appraisal with Advantage CEO John McEwan, who said online booking and marketing were key issues for the group's agencies.
"Emarketing shouldn't be expensive," reassured Picken.
He said travel companies should choose no more than six topics to market - be that walking holidays in France or business travel to Germany - and they shouldn't expand online until they have made a profit.
The most important thing, however, is to feature relevant content, which for those readers who have searched for flights to Dubai and come up with holidays on the Palm will find pertinent.
Picken also warned that travel companies must make sure the search engines find them, as when a paid for advert goes offline this will ensure a continued online presence. "For every pound you spend on pay per click advertising, spend another on search engine optimisation."
Having a website offers more likelihood of repeat business, said Picken. "Having a website gives you a good chance to retain loyalty," he said, unlike the high street.
But it seems the high street is where it's at for Teletext Travel. The travel company born on TV has now expanded online and into the real world, with the second Teletext Holidays shop due to open this week in Chesterfield.
For Victoria Sanders, Teletext Holiday's managing director, it's about having a finger in more than one pie.
As well as a busy website, the company has a strong social media slant (it employs one person whose sole job is to tweet, blog and facebook all things Teletext) and has also invested heavily in iphone and ipad applications.
Social media, however, is more about branding than driving sales, according to Sanders. And as for the iphone, this won't be for broad searches, but for specifics. "Apps are about engaging in the customer and being creative," she said.
The over-riding advice for travel companies looking to expand their presence online, was to keep it simple, fresh and targeted.
Tracking is also important. Online technology means you can see how many of the clicks are converted into sales, or even how long someone's mouse hovers over an advert.
This means travel companies will be looking to get as much information as they can from travellers and travel bookers, who can expect to be ever more targeted with marketing based on their individual profiles.