In a consumer market increasingly dominated by price-driven, deal-based websites like Groupon and Living Social, suppliers struggle to turn a profit on razor-thin margins, while travel agents see themselves cut out of the picture altogether.
A new partnership between TRAVELSAVERS Partner Services and a technology company that’s a leading player in the world of online daily deals aims to provide a solution for agents and suppliers alike.
TRAVELSAVERS Partner Services this week announced an agreement with San Diego-based Analog Analytics that will deliver exclusive travel deals to as many as 50 million consumers daily – and give American Marketing Group agencies a piece of the action. (Disclosure: Travel Market Report is a sister company to TRAVELSAVERS Partner Services; both are owned by American Marketing Group.)
The Bigger Better Deals™ will be pushed out via the Analog Analytics Syndication Network to consumers who subscribe to more than 850 online newspapers and broadcast media outlets.
Agents profit as well
The program gives the agencies a way to participate in the deal-obsessed consumer space occupied by popular group-discount sites, sometimes called flash-sale sites.
Under the arrangement, when a consumer purchases a travel offer promoted through the program, a royalty is paid to the American Marketing Group agent where the consumer is located.
Additionally – and perhaps more importantly – the agent also receives the consumer’s contact information to add to their database for future marketing outreach.
Finding a way for travel agents to participate more actively in this online space is essential to their continued success, said Rick Mazza, CEO of TRAVELSAVERS Partner Services.
“We felt it was important to get our agencies into this online daily deals environment,” since this is where many of today’s consumers are shopping.
All parties benefit
The program also gives suppliers the opportunity to promote limited-time offers based on value adds rather than strictly on price, Mazza explained. This is key to the success of the program – and to the long-term health of the travel industry, he said.
“Travel agencies don’t want to be seen as a place to get discounts,” he said. Nor can suppliers be profitable when sales are driven by deep discounts that have a high cost of sale, he added.
This model ensures all parties benefit from the consumer offer, Mazza said. The consumer gets a great offer through a media outlet to which he or she subscribes, and suppliers can sell their products without eroding profitability.
“This is the best of both worlds. The consumer can book where and when they want, and an agent is always involved,” Mazza said.
Not a new model
Offering deals in the form of coupons and vouchers (which is how Groupon, Living Social and the Analog Analytics Bigger Better Deals actually work) is not a new concept, Mazza said. The industry has been doing that for years.
Nor is this the industry’s first attempt to fit into the Groupon type of model. In August 2010 Virtuoso launched a partnership with private buying website Rue La La to provide value-add laden travel deals.
Media channel is differentiator
A primary difference between the two partnerships is the fact that the TRAVELSAVERS Partner Services initiative delivers deals through media outlets on a massive level.
“The fact is that as many as 50 million emails are being sent a day. Where better than in the media to have travel offers?” Mazza said.
Technology provider Analog Analytics works with thousands of advertisers to syndicate coupons, deal certificates and its Bigger Better Deals to local publishers and broadcasters, including Time Warner Cable and NBC TV, as well as to other private groups, including Blue Cross/Blue Shield.
Mazza said the daily deals program, which launches in late February, is the first of many TRAVELSAVERS Partner Services programs that will emerge from its partnership with Analog Analytics – all aimed at bringing agencies into the world of flash sales and daily deal coupons, both in print and online.
Article source: http://www.travelmarketreport.com/retail?articleID=6860&LP=1
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It’s a good idea to start planning your trips for the year now, so you can keep your eye out for the best deals and you won’t have to resort to paying expensive last-minute prices.
If you already have several destinations in mind, check out travel flash sale sites, which can save you hundreds of dollars!
Here are a couple to browse through:
The deals stay live for seven days or until they run out. The site offers a good mix of national and international travel deals.
Hot recent deal: $39 for $100 toward a round-trip Virgin America flight from San Francisco to Chicago. The deal has already sold out, and over 5,000 Grouponers bought this deal.
A luxury travel site that offers deals up to 50 percent off only the most luxurious and exotic hotels around the globe. Each sale lasts about five to seven days.
You can pay 10 percent of the trip price to “hold” a trip for three days to decide whether to book it. If you decide not to purchase, the 10 percent becomes Jetsetter credit that never expires.
Hot recent deal: A hotel in Rome, Italy, that’s going for $130 a night. This compares with the regular nightly rate of $220.
Read on for more sites.
Living Social, Groupon’s main competitor, offers different travel packages every week to various locations in the US and around the world. The majority of the picks seem to be US cities.
Hot recent deal: $420 for a $1,050 three-night stay in a Yosemite cabin that fits up to four guests.
SniqueAway, which was launched by TripAdvisor, offers up to 50 percent off all hotels and only features hotels that have at least a four out of five rating on TripAdvisor.
If you missed a good deal, you can just click “like” on it and vote to bring it back. You can even vote for new hotels as well. Sales go up on the website a few times a week and they last for a week or until they sell out.
Hot recent deal: $219 a night at the Cheeca Lodge Spa in Florida Keys. Original room price is $349.
Trip Alertz is a part flash sale, part group-buying site, and as more people buy in, the cheaper the deal will become.
Hot recent deal: Although only a rare few can afford it, the $95,000 trip to space seems like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The original price is $100,000.
This site is more luxury-focused and has the thumbs up from the travel experts of Travel + Leisure magazine, who select the offers. You can save up to 60 percent.
Hot recent deal: Tower Club hotel in Bangkok for $130 a night, up to 35 percent off regular rates.
Remember, not all of the listed sales are always good deals. You need to do your research on the actual hotel websites and other deal sites to see if you can get an even bigger discount.
Always read the fine print before purchasing because these deals usually are only available on specific travel dates and have a number of other limitations.
Brits ‘securing early travel deals’
Many people in Britain have taken steps to secure early travel deals in 2012, new research has shown.
Carried out by Direct Line, the study revealed 8.7 million individuals have already booked their main holiday this year, while a further 8.9 million have started looking at their options without finalising an agreement.
In addition, the investigation suggested a high number of Brits are eager to secure travel deals on the cheap, with many taking advantage of flight discounts and package holidays in order to make their money stretch further.
Tom Bishop, head of travel insurance at Direct Line – which began operations in April 1985 – advised vacationers to get hold of travel insurance as soon as they have booked their holiday.
The industry figure added: “You’ll be covered for cancellation should you be unable to travel for an unexpected reason and you won’t have to hunt around for a deal at the last minute.”
HONOLULU – United will launch a daily non-stop flight between Washington, D.C. and Honolulu in June — raising to three the number of regularly scheduled direct air connections between Hawaii and the East Coast, the airline announced Tuesday.
The airline, which was formed out of a merger between United and Continental, will use Boeing 767-400 planes on the route serving Washington/Dulles International Airport. The company said it was capitalizing on the combined resources of the two airlines.
“The flexibility of our fleet allows us to put the right aircraft in the right markets to serve new communities and to add additional flights to communities we already serve,” James Starnes, United’s director of domestic planning, said in a statement.
Currently, the only nonstop flight from Hawaii to the East Coast is United’s route from Honolulu to the airport in Newark, N.J., which serves the New York metropolitan area.
Hawaiian Airlines announced last year it would begin daily direct service from Honolulu to New York City’s John F. Kennedy International Airport in June.
The Hawaii Tourism Authority, a quasi-state agency that promotes the islands to the world, said United’s new route is “outstanding news” for local tourism. It estimated the route will bring in about $135 million in visitor spending and $14 million in tax revenue each year.
Both the Washington flight and Hawaiian’s flight to JFK airport will provide “much needed access” from Hawaii to the East Coast, the agency said in a statement.
Hawaiian Airlines CEO Mark Dunkerley has told investors that the rival company’s Washington addition wouldn’t affect his airline’s forecast for the performance of its own East Coast offering. This is primarily because Hawaiian’s partner on the East Coast, JetBlue Airways Corp., doesn’t have flights from Washington to JFK that that would allow for easy connections to Hawaiian’s new nonstop service.
MANILA, Philippines – Gunmen in the restive southern Philippines abducted Swiss and Dutch tourists and a Filipino bird photographer Wednesday and took the trio away by boat, authorities said.
They were the latest kidnap victims in an impoverished region infested with al-Qaida-linked militants and criminal gangs that often seek ransom for their foreign hostages.
The tourists were snatched along with their Filipino companion by an armed group in the southernmost Tawi-Tawi island province and dragged to a waiting boat, military spokesman Lt. Col. Randolph Cabangbang said.
The Filipino man later jumped out of the boat and was rescued by fishermen, a local governor said.
The tourists were identified as Dutch Ewold Horn and Swiss Lorenzo Vinciguerra, and they had been visiting the region to photograph wildlife.
The Dutch Embassy in Manila confirmed the kidnapping and said it was working on the case. Switzerland’s Foreign Ministry said the Swiss Embassy in Manila was in contact with Philippine authorities and working to secure the hostages’ release in good health.
Cabangbang said the abduction happened in Parangan village in the township of Panglima Sugala, in the remote islands that make up the province.
The southern Philippines is considered unsafe for foreign visitors and governments have put up advisories against travel in the region. Tawi-Tawi is home to small islands known as Turtle Islands, which are close to Malaysian waters.
Tawi-Tawi Governor Sadikul Sahali told The Associated Press by telephone that the tourists, Filipino bird photographer Ivan Sarenas and their boat skipper were accompanied by a town council member and an unarmed police officer because the foreigners refused armed escorts, Sahali added.
He said the group was overpowered by the five gunmen.
“It has been our practice that we secure Caucasian visitors,” he said. “Next time, if there will be a next time, I will not allow them (foreigners) to go around without armed escorts.”
The gunmen ordered the councilman, the police officer and the boat skipper to jump out of the boat before escaping with the three captives, Sahali said.
He said Sarenas later escaped by jumping off the boat. He was rescued by fishermen and brought to the police in Languyan township.
Sahali said the tourists had arrived about 10 days earlier and stayed most of the time in the mountains to photograph rare birds. They were scheduled to leave Thursday.
Authorities have no suspects and no ransom demand has been made, Sahali said.
He said about two dozen policemen earlier headed to a southern village of Tawi-Tawi, where the foreigners were reported to have been sighted. The military and police cordoned off the area, while marines were mobilized to help in the rescue.
But it turned out the gunmen fled toward northern Languyan township, he added.
Muslim rebels have been fighting for minority self-rule in the predominantly Christian nation’s south for decades. The most violent group, al-Qaida-linked Abu Sayyaf, has been notorious for terrorist attacks and kidnappings for ransom.
Cabangbang said Abu Sayyaf has been active in Tawi-Tawi, coming from their strongholds in nearby Basilan and Jolo islands.
The militants are believed to be holding a former Australian soldier who was kidnapped before Christmas. In January, a video surfaced of him pleading for his life and urging the Philippines and Australia to raise a $2 million ransom being demanded by his captors.
Associated Press writer Oliver Teves contributed to this report.
ATLANTA – Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed kicked off the construction of the city’s $94 million streetcar project, which they say will be a catalyst for jobs and economic development and a boon for the downtown tourism district.
About half of the funding for the project comes from a federal grant the city won in 2010. The streetcar will run on a 2.6-mile route with stops at major attractions including the World of Coca-Cola, the CNN Center, the Georgia Aquarium and the historic Auburn Avenue district, home to the birthplace of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
Supporters are touting the project as the first phase of what could be city and region wide transportation efforts that will also attract businesses to a long-depressed economic area.
The northern lights bring fabulous streaks of greens, blues, yellows and pinks across the night sky in northern climes including Alaska, Canada, parts of the northern U.S. and Europe.
Canadian outfitter Brewster Vacations offers a “quick escape” tour with two nights spent viewing the surreal color fest at Fort McMurray, an 1870 Hudson Bay Co. trading post in Alberta, Canada. Guests check out the town by day and then stay up late for guided viewing of the aurora borealis.
Be prepared for cold and snow on this trip (warm clothes come with the package). There’s no guarantee bad weather won’t interfere with viewing, but Fort McMurray is known as a consistently good spot to see the light show.
Dates: The Aurora Borealis Quick Escape departs Feb. 17 and 24 and March 16 and 23.
Price: $630 a person, based on double occupancy; $800 for solo travelers (prices vary by exchange rate and don’t include tax). It includes two nights in a hotel, tour guides, transfers from Fort McMurray Airport, use of winter clothing, a three-course welcome dinner and more. International airfare is extra.
Contact: Brewster Vacations, (877) 791-5500
Finding a bargain at Arizona desert resorts is pretty easy during the triple-digit heat of summer, but winter deals present more of a challenge. Enter LivingSocial, with a limited-time offer at Loews Ventana Canyon in Tucson that comes with extras — and nice temperatures. It costs $195 for a one-night stay that includes spa discounts, food credits and more.
The Deal: LivingSocial loads up the deal by adding parking, Internet and fitness center access onto the discounted price of a luxury room. Other goodies: a $40 credit for food and drinks at the Flying V Bar Grill, half off for up to two massages at the hotel’s spa and a 40% discount on up to two rounds of golf.
When: To get this deal, you have until Tuesday to buy the voucher and must stay at the resort by May 1 (with some blackout dates). Read the fine print on the deal page for more details.
Tested: LivingSocial tallies this deal at more than half the usual cost. I checked on a stay in a luxury room for Feb. 11, for example, and found the price to be $249 plus tax. By the time you add on parking ($9), Internet ($10.95) and some of the credit/discounts, that’s likely a fair comparison.
NEWARK, N.J. – The Transportation Security Administration says an airline employee has caused a security breach that briefly closed a terminal at Newark Liberty International Airport.
Spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein says a worker going through security screening exited the checkpoint before completing the process at 11 a.m. Wednesday in Terminal A.
The woman was found just before 1 p.m. and rescreened. The terminal reopened shortly afterward.
The TSA rescreened about 190 passengers in the terminal who were waiting to board flights.
On Tuesday, the TSA said it was pursuing disciplinary actions against six baggage screeners at the Newark airport, including some suspected of sleeping during their shifts. The employees have been suspended from screening duties while the cases proceed.
Newark is one of the nation’s busiest airports.
KINGSTON, Jamaica – The eastern Caribbean may soon have an inter-island ferry system.
A British investment company says it plans to lease a “wave-piercing” catamaran to Barbados-based Fast Caribbean Ltd., which hopes to transport people and goods between Barbados, Grenada, St. Vincent, St. Lucia and Trinidad.
Lorraine Johns of London-based Montrose Global LLP said in an email Wednesday that they believe the service will have a “positive impact on travel and trade within the region.”
Johns says Fast Caribbean is working closely with Trinidad to determine the 112-meter (367-foot) vessel’s configuration.
Trinidad Transport Minister Devant Maharaj says the private ferry system will be based in Port-of-Spain. It’s not clear when the service might begin.