August 30, 2007

Amazing Online Reservation Statistics

Recently I found an article that combined a number of interesting statistics relating to online reservations and sales through the Internet for the travel industry. These are really worth looking at:

Forrester Research:

  • In 2007, nearly 40 million U.S. households will book travel online, spending $86 billion Web travelers now make up 79% of the U.S. travel population and 55% of them buy leisure travel online.
  • High-income travelers, households with annual incomes of $100,000 or more a year, account for just 16% of the U.S. online leisure travel population – a market that represents 10.9 million households and spends $60 billion on leisure travel.
TIA.org
  • In November 2005, reports that 79 million American adults are now using the Internet to plan their trips. Also growing rapidly is a propensity to book online, with nearly 65 million U.S. adults now booking this way.
Webtrends: Passport To Success
  • Online sales of leisure and unmanaged travel in the U.S. are estimated to be $122 billion in 2009 – up from $65 billion in 2005.
  • Half of U.S. interactive marketers questioned by Forrester Research in April 2006 said that they either used or planned to use blogs.
ehotelier.com
  • The average rate for room nights booked through travel agents was 33.3 percent higher than the average rate for room nights booked via the Internet.
  • In 2007, nearly one-third of all reservations in hospitality in North America will be generated from the Internet (29% in 2005).
  • By 2010, more than 45% of all travel reservations in the U.S. will be done via the Internet (Merrill Lynch, HeBS).
  • By 2010, the Internet will contribute over 45% of all travel-related bookings in North America.
  • The ratio between the direct and indirect online channel continues to improve in favor of the direct channel: from 52:48 in 2002 to 56:44 in 2006; it is projected to be 62:38 by 2008. Some major brands already enjoy a very healthy 80:20 direct vs. indirect online channel ratios.
  • It is much more expensive to book through a third party:
  • Customers were more satisfied with the Internet travel service provider they last purchased from than they were with Internet travel services in general.
TravelDaily News
  • According to a new report from PhoCusWright, Inc., next year, for the first time, transactions on the Internet will account for over half (54 percent) of all U.S. travel bookings.
What does it all mean?

There are defiantly trends that emerge from all of this information, but it is safe to say that online sales for the travel industry are becoming the norm. There are many vendors and resellers that will help distribute products for tourism companies, but the wise company will always give the customer the ability to accept bookings through their own website.

Accepting bookings on a companies home page will save company from paying high commissions and booking charges for each of the products that are sold. This passes on savings to the consumer and the company with the inventory, and eliminates the unnecessary middle man.

Check out www.Rezgo.com if you are interested in a powerful booking solution for your tour inventory. We created Rezgo with the latest trends in mind.

August 29, 2007

Blogger Adds Video - Vloging has begun

My First Vlog

The Next Wave of blogging is now available for the casual blogger - Vloging. You may remember in my last post on Google Universal Search, that Google now has a high weight on all content, including pictures and video. I encouraged everyone to start adding video content to sites like http://www.youtube.com, well now adding content is even easier then ever!


video

This video was made in two minutes using Windows Movie Maker and a digital camera. Future video releases will have better content!

As you can see, you can now easily implement video content right into your blogs! This is a great way to add rich media content and show your clients your tourism products first hand.

To add video to your blogs simply create a new post and click on the video reel button as seen in this image:


You can choose from most of the popular video formats and Blogger will convert it for you.

Let me know if you have been able to use this feature effectively.

August 24, 2007

The Google Universal Search Engine

I recently came across a press release from Google that was talking about the next direction that Google is going with their search engine. Currently Google separates its searches into various verticals like organic search, video search, blog search, and pictures. Well they are planning on mixing it all together.

Google is doing this to give its users (everyone, well maybe not Bill Gates) a richer experience.

What does that mean for your website?

Never before has the need to add a variety of media to your site been so important. Now, you need to tag your photos, add yourself to Google maps, add videos, and you must must must have a company blog.

On top of all of that you need to social bookmark (stumbledupon.com) your site and submit it to peer review sites to gain additional exposure.

August 23, 2007

Web Surf is up for the Big Island Blog Network

You may recall in my Drive Traffic To Your Site article that we spoke about link exchanges and how web search engines use link to your site as a way to determine its popularity. Well the Big Island Blog Network of Hawaii has taken this practice one step further.

They identify themselves as a "community of business owners and writers working together to promote their Big Island business with an intention of creating value and doing good.” This community is setup to maximize the SEO effects through linking member sites together, what they couldn't do alone they are able to do as a community. They include some really cool features:

  • Complete content management system
  • Audio Podcasting
  • Video uploads and video blogging
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Flickr photo integration
  • Google Maps integration
  • Visitors can upload files
If only they helped their users with a sales solution they would be the complete package!

You should check it out, they are doing some new and interesting things for the blogging and tourism community.

August 17, 2007

What do you want to do?

What do you want to do?

A simple question and a great concept for a blogging site. I recently came across this useful blog by Philb that covers a full range of internet related topics that are oh so useful to have. This is especially great for those aspiring web marketers that are looking for ways to utilize new technologies. Give it a look:

He covers topics like:

· Collaboration

· Communication

· Discovery resources

· Email

· Multimedia

· RSS

· Searching the internet

· Shopping

· Storage online

· Time management

· Training/Teaching

· Webpages

· Websites

· Wikis

· Web 2.0 Directories and Reviews

A truly helpful site!

August 16, 2007

Sustainability and Tourism













Sentias Software is considering a membership with Sustainable Travel International. To do this we really needed to focus on what our Sustainability Policy covered. I noticed that there really wasn't many sites that focused on the individual businesses, but rather most resources focused on industry / governmental wide issues.

What are best sustainability practices that the small business can utilize?

What does Corporate Social Responsibility look like?

These are questions that more and more people are starting to think about.

Here are some great resources that may help you and your business get a little greener:

  • http://www.davidsuzuki.org/NatureChallenge/
  • http://www.rncan.gc.ca/sd-dd/csr-rse/bp_e.html
  • http://www.sustreport.org/business/report/practice.html
  • http://www.bsdglobal.com/tools/principles_sbp.asp
What have you found, or what do you do to encourage a sustainable working environment?

August 9, 2007

Registering your site - The new way to say hello

As we talked about in the last blog entry, the more link connections you make with other sites, the more search engines will prioritize your site.

A great way to get more links to your travel site is to have it up for review. Submit or tag your site with companies like:

http://del.icio.us/

http://digg.com/

http://www.stumbleupon.com/

This will give you an opportunity to get feedback on your site and increase the links directing people to your webpage.

I also found this great travel resource at http://www.aardvarktravel.net.

These guys allow you to help other travelers, post information and gain more exposure for your travel company. They have a thriving community full of veteran travelers, I recommend signing up and seeing if you can help some of the community, and as everyone knows, as you do, karma will do likewise.

August 7, 2007

Drive Traffic To Your Site

Get the traffic flow to your site.

So you have a new Tourism Web site, a great product, and the ability to sell your product online. What, the sales aren't coming in? Well, how much site traffic are you receiving?

This blog will give you some cheap ways to increase your site traffic.

The most important step is to submit your site to the search engines. Websubmit Pro, has a free service to submit your site to a multitude of search engines. Don't forget the big guy, submit your site with Google, it may take some time for your site to be indexed, but it is well worth the wait.

The way that most search engines rank your sites can be summarized by page rankings; that is how many popular sites link to your website. Check out this article for more clarification from Google.

What does that mean for you? Well you want to set up strategic partnerships with your associates to have a link exchange, this will add visibility to both of the non-competing webpages.

Another great way to gain visibility to your website is to submit it to industry listing websites. For tourism companies, check out this site for a free listing.

Have you found some other great ways to gain traffic for your website?