WTM: Travelzoo inspires ‘unplanned’ holiday sales

Travelzoo claims it is encouraging consumers to travel when they were not planning to and driving business during traditionally slow periods.

Travelzoo Europe managing director Chris Loughlin claimed during a WTM session yesterday that the company had succeeded in getting people to travel when they were not planning to – often­ to destinations they have never heard of.

“This is revenue [advertisers] thought [they] would never get,” said Loughlin. Subscriber research has started to show “amazing” trends, he added.

Examples cited from Travelzoo’s weekly top 20 text-based e-mail circulars include 300 cabin weeks booked in the US (without flights) for an easyCruise in the Adriatic. In the US a launch sale for a new airline generated 250,000 clicks.

“Our users are very sticky ­ we are seeing total click-through rates of 50% – 60% every week from an aggregate base. Other statistics show an average age among subscribers in the US, UK, Canada and Germany of 42 – 45 years and 25% of UK subscribers are over 55.”

Surprisingly, Travelzoo saw record traffic for UK hotel bookings in the weeks after the 2005 London bombings.  “After the London bombings we shifted 300 room nights for Starwood -­ it’s this type consumer behaviour that is helping us define our business.”

The online information publisher ­- which easyJet founder Stelios Haji-Ioannou has reportedly said “can sell ice to Eskimos” -­ has 12 million subscribers worldwide abnd gained 1.5 million since entering Europe two years ago.

With seven million visitors a month, it is on track to take revenues of approximately $100 million in advertising sales from more than 900 travel companies this year.

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