Today’s traveler is Web savvy and
looking for the best deals online. Now
it’s the companies’ turn to make it as easy
as possible for travelers to cash in on the
Changing the E-Travel Market
In the fiercely competitive E-commerce travel market, companies specializing in selling airfare, hotels and other
packaged travel deals have to work
overtime to distinguish themselves from
the competition. Whether it’s through
celebrity spokespersons ( Priceline.com’s
William Shatner) or with memorable site
names (such as Travelocity.com), major
airline companies and ticket brokers are
all vying for a piece of the travel industry’s profit pie.
From the traveler’s perspective, however, checking all those discount ticket
broker and official airline Web sites for
the best deals can often be more exhausting and troublesome than it’s worth.
Ralph Bartel found himself in a similar situation when he was disappointed
with the “great deals” featured on Internet discount sites. Bartel, who came from
Germany, was a travel enthusiast and his
excitement for traveling lessened as he
tried to take advantage of these deals.
For various reasons Bartel wasn’t
able to actually get or book these great
deals. The deals were often sold out, the
traveling dates were incompatible to what
he desired, or the prospective hotel rooms
weren’t in acceptable condition. Bartel
knew there had to be a better way for
both the supplier and traveler and opted
to start Travelzoo Inc., in 1998 with a
$5,000 investment from his own pocket.
Bartel, who went on to become the
CEO of the company, decided the company would focus on putting together a
free weekly E-newsletter of the top 20
travel deals available on the Internet.
Nearly 10 years later, Travelzoo has relationships with 600 travel suppliers and
the newsletter has 12 million subscribers
— which is bigger than the combined
readership of USA Today, The Wall Street
Journal and the New York Times.
“Travelzoo has dabbled in the past
with some traditional media, such as
radio and newspaper, but we weren’t
seeing the returns traditional media
used to consistently deliver,” explains
Erik Qualman, head of North American
marketing operations for Travelzoo. “As
we are constantly changing out the best-selected travel deals across the Internet,
it’s important that the majority of our
marketing remains real time as well. To
be able to update the travel deals we
select within our marketing initiatives
is powerful for our clients and also our
Media was able to integrate visual technology with sound to captivate travelers
in high-traffic areas of the airport. Now
busy travelers could interact with the
large projected ads using a range of body
movements to alter the ad content.
In Concourses A and B of the airport,
gigantic projection screens displayed
real-time travel deals featured on Travelzoo’s Web site. Concourse C had travelers star in their own advertisements, as
they were projected into two large interactive plasma screens using immersion
technology. In Concourse D, real-time
Travelzoo’s interactive displays attracted much attention at Las Vegas’ McCarran International
Airport. The displays, developed by Monster Media, gave travelers in Concourse D the
opportunity to try their luck with Travelzoo slot machines. Travelers of all ages were
entertained while being exposed to Travelzoo.
To test marketing in real time,
Travelzoo debuted its interactive,
billboard-sized ad campaign for discount
travel at Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport in July. The two-month
long “What’s the Deal with Travelzoo?”
campaign was the first of its kind in an
airport, and ran 24 hours each day for the
duration of the campaign to reach nearly
3. 5 million people per month.
Travelzoo turned to Monster Media
to provide its patented MonsterVision
GroundFX interactive system. Monster
travel deals “spun” on Travelzoo slot
machines when consumers interacted
with the 8’ x 20’ advertisement. All five
advertisements featured the Travelzoo
Top 20 ticker to list the company’s current travel deals.
Qualman says this was the first time
this technology had been used in advertising anywhere in the United States.
“Our Las Vegas campaign was a
perfect fit since it was fun and lent
itself to the cool creative of the slot