So you want to compete with Expedia?
We can't tell you how many times we here this: "I want to be like Expedia." Is that even possible? Of course it is! Stop laughing, we are serious. Though probably not in the way you had in mind.
Here are 5 simple things you can do to start shifting your brand to be the Expedia in your space.
1. Stop trying to be Expedia.
Expedia has spent MILLIONS of dollars to become.... you guessed it, Expedia. Stop comparing yourself to them, you will never be them, and why would you want to?
Ask yourself why you are in the travel industry, what do you love the most about it? What do YOU specialize in? How can you take those expertise and best serve your client base? Who is your client base? What will it cost to reach your ideal client base? What are your personal goals as a business owner? How do you plan to reach those goals? When you can answer those questions, and come up with a solid plan, you will be on your way to being a successful OTA, and possibly the next "Expedia". Where to start? See Step 2.
2. Find a Niche'
Yes, we know this has been said time and time again, but the niche' game has changed over the last few years and the possibilities are endless. Along side destination weddings now sits join a jelly fish flash mob!
Today's traveler wants to focus on authentic, personalized experiences. What that means to you is that you can be as creative as you want to be. For instance, why not sell vegan friendly hotels to vegan zipliners? Dog friendly hotels to dog lovers. Thrill seeker packages and getaways. Maybe new mom retreats? You name it, there is someone buying it and producing it. Find your passion and hone in on it. REALLY hone in on it, become the best vegan hotel expert in the industry. Not only does this help you find a focus but also saves money on marketing. When you can focus all your marketing dollars on one area of expertise, ads become more affordable and PPC campaigns actually work, which brings us to our next topic.
3. Target Marketing
We cannot stress enough how important it is to identify your demographic. Marketing money is hard to come by, you have to make sure those dollars are being spent in the most productive way possible. Focus your dollars on getting in front of the most relevant eyes possible.
So you want to focus on vegans, where are vegans at? We can make some generalizations and assumptions of where they might be. Try farmer's markets, yoga class, Whole Foods, festivals, animal sanctuaries then decide where your dollars can best be spent in those places. Target those places and those people, and you will see big returns. Project and expect results. Get to know analytics and monitor your returns. Find what works and run with it.
4. Meet Your Goals
When setting goals, be a realist. Not all things are going to work, you will fail before you succeed. That is OK! Make sure that when you do find something that works, you reinvest, don't ever get comfortable. Travel is one of the most competitive online markets and the competition changes daily. It is also one of the most expensive sectors to advertise in. If you don't have goals and milestones to keep you on point you will get lost in the shuffle. Stay on top of news and happenings and stay focused, readjust your goals as needed, don't be afraid of change. We believe meeting goals by any means necessary are more important than setting a plan in stone and not modifying when it makes sense.
5. Stay Relevant
One of the things Expedia does best, they stay relevant. Whatever the travel trends or technology trends are, you can be sure Expedia is either heading the pack or at the very least keeping up. What does this mean? It means that you have to keep your website updated and fresh, with the latest technology. You need to be making videos, and writing blogs. You need to start trends. Give people what they want before they know they want it. How do you do that? People. It's all about the talent. Work with the right people. Work with technology providers that specialize in travel, work with marketers that specialize in travel, work with agents who love their job and who learn to earn!
Follow these 5 steps and you will be well on your way to a solid online travel business. Of course this is not all there is to it, but these steps will provide a solid foundation for you to grow from. If you would like a free consultation to help you start your journey - call us! We are here to help!