A couple of years back, I interviewed Durant Imboden, the owner of EuropeforVisitors.com named one of Forbes Magazine Best of the Web for the travel business. Travel is a very competitive area on the Web, and Durant offers tips on how to succeed in this market segment
Here are some things you need to consider to succeed in an online business focused on the travel business:
1. Choose your focus. With so many travel sites on the web today, why would a person actually go to YOUR website? What will you offer that can’t be found in other websites?
I suggest you search the Web. Select a geographic region, then find out what travel websites talk about for that area. The think how can you be different from the others, and offer a whole different content that people need and want.
2. Think of how you will monetize your website. Getting traffic to read your content is good, but getting checks in the mail or money deposited in your account every month is even better. From the very start, plan how you will get income from the website.
There are several options:
– Advertising such as Google Adsense and/or banner ads (it’s not an either-or choice as you can do both)
- Burst Media http://www.burstmedia.com/
- ValueClick Media (formerly Fastclick)http://www.valueclickmedia.com/
- Advertising.com http://www.advertising.com/
- Tribal Fusion http://www.tribalfusion.com/
- Google Adsense https://www.google.com/adsense/
- Yahoo! Publishing Network (currently in beta and available to US publishers only) http://publisher.yahoo.com/
- Intellixt http://vibrantmedia.com/site/web_01a5.htm
- Quigo Adsonar http://www.quigo.com/adsonarexchange.htm
- Chitika http://www.chitika.com/
– Affiliate programs so you can focus on the content but visitors can use the affiliate programs you promote to do their online hotel bookings or air travel reservations
- Commission Junction http://www.cj.com/
- Linkshare http://www.linkshare.com/
- Clickbank http://www.clickbank/
– Partner with hotels and resorts in the area, and get commission for any visitor you refer to them
3. Consider the size of the readership. There are travel destinations where not many people go to — and if there are less traffic, then it means potentially lesser income. If lesser people are interested in what you are writing about, then there is a chance that you may find it hard to monetize the site. This is something to consider when deciding on what site to create.
4. Pictures, pictures and pictures. A travel site needs to have gorgeous pictures of the place. Consider how and where you will get pictures to put in your site.
5. Type of audience you want to attract. Who are you trying to reach with the destinations you will be featuring — the independent travelers or package tourists? The type of audience can significantly affect your revenue models.
If you are attracting independent travelers, these people are on the lookout for deals, ways to get to their destinations easier, how to plan their travel, etc. The implication is that they are more responsive to your contextual and affiliate ads — which means more money for you. On the other hand, if you are attracting package tourists, they already have their travel preplanned and prepaid. This implies that they are simply looking for information about the place — and less interested in your ads. Banner ad networks that are CPM based are better suited for this type of website.
6. Key is content. Put yourself in the shoes of a traveler: if you go to a certain area, what do you want to know about the area? If it’s a tropical area, discuss the scuba diving. A cold weather area, skiing. Then develop a plan how you will write your content.
Other articles you may want to read:
- 7 Steps to Successful Web Site Development http://www.powerhomebiz.com/vol142/website.htm
- 10 Ways to Convert Visitors to Buyers http://www.powerhomebiz.com/072005/conversion.htm
- Free Ways to Promote an Online Business http://www.powerhomebiz.com/guide/cases/ii-lexi.htm
My final advice is to BE PATIENT. It takes time to be listed in the search engines and to build a good base of readership. Continue to develop good original content, and assess your business model.