It may dazzle you to know that the world travel industry is zooming at its highest speed ever. The fact that it has touched the mark of $6 trillion in both direct and indirect revenue clearly states how online platforms have put the traditional travel agents on the back seat, by capturing 38% of the whole travel planning. The credit for this remarkable difference certainly goes to Easy online payments and 100% transparency in pricing, which earlier was a hard nut to crack.
Still very few entrepreneurs are seen getting into online travel industry.The inhibitions that restrict them from touching this ground are no more than illusion because you certainly need not be an Expedia or TripAdvisorto be a part of this growing sector. Even if you decide not to give these well established brands a run for their money, there are quite fresh and innovative business ideas to introduce you to this travel industry.
A name worth a mention in this group is of Rome2Rio, which has risen to become the biggest revolution in the travel industry. It’s a website being used worldwide for multi modal, point to point travel planning with precise costing. All that it took to raise this platform was gathering historical data about airline from OAG. The data included all possible information about railway, bus routes and ferry rides. Till now the company has consolidated about 185,000 routes in its kitty.
Now comes the question, why a customer would use it and the answer lies in the fact that people who set out to travel get rid of spending months to plan their trip and prefer going to a search engine for. As with Rome2Rio they can get whole information in a single click. One need not research about various modes of transport separately and prepare an itinerary. Everything from cost to kilometers, whether it is through taxi, train or flight can be known at one place. Not just this but you can also see your entire journey mapped on Google maps.
In November 2012 the site reached 139,000 unique visitors, which rose to 550,000 by May, 2013, which is clearly four times the former. There is no advertising and all word of mouth and SEO, which brings traffic to them and all the commission they earn rolls in from booking and rentals. Apart from this affiliates are added source of income to them.
The home exchange model is emerging faster now, though it existed since 1950 but the inviting fact is that today it owns the power to reach a wider audience through online support. Not much dissimilar to what you would have seen in a much famed Hollywood movie, ‘The Holiday’.
These websites carry powerful functionality to suggest the most suitable match according to your profile and requirements. This makes the swap easier and comfortable. This is how almost 100,000 people every year trade homes online.
HomeExchange.com and Knok.com reaching out to travelers is the best illustration of providing a personalized experience with their online travel platforms. Such platforms are also well integrated with social networks like Facebook.
Most of the brands in this file limit contact options until you shell out some money. It drains out the chances of spammers and fake profiles. Membership fee ranges from $93/year for Knok and $120/year for HomeExchange. Membership charges become the chief earning source when you invest in such a platform.
Local tourist guide is another inviting path to explore tourism industry. Creating a marketplace to all of these guides makes things easier than never before. Each guide owns a personal profile which lists details about reliability, knowledge and service-quality. This business idea adopted by LocalGuiding.com proved miraculous as they proudly earn direct revenue from the website by allowing tour-guide booking after paying 10% advance.
Viator.com is another website catering to the similar class of tourist guides.
Local guides prefer such platforms because it gives them a global reach. In the absence of intermediaries, local guides get the ease of offering their services at a better price, which automatically benefits tourists and the guides as well.
If not this, then you can begin with something simpler like HotelQuicklythan a whole online platform. It is a mobile only application active in Australia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Macau, Malaysia, Singapore, Cambodia, Taiwan, Thailand & Vietnam that allows you to make last-minute hotel (noon to 4AM) bookings at the best rates available across Asia. This application is deemed best for its convenience level by Hotel owners as otherwise these rooms would remain empty.
Another simple yet perfect example of such effective business ideas is BingDian. It helps hotel brands connect directly with customers through discounts and benefits by facilitating booking straight through the app. If a traveler has a membership card for the partner hotels, he can store it in the app and avail their offers while booking. Another differentiation is that the app offers auction facility for some rooms and the best price wins.
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Becoming an affiliate of large travel companies offers you an edge over competitors. Moreover partnering with them will enable you to acts as a travel booking engine based on search technology to find the best deals for flights, hotels, cruise and rental cars bookings. In return, these websites earn high commissions based on a revenue model which is a combination of pay per click and pay per booking.
An additional source of income can be generated by advertising third parties on your website and selling travel related products.
Hipmunk.com is a known player in this industry which sorts flight results with a default parameter called “agony”.It displays weighing price, duration, and number of stops for each flight into a single factor while hiding similar flights to make the buying decision quicker.
Not a very new concept but still an untouched area that you must love to explore, digital accommodation is an online platform where people rent out their homes or spare rooms like a hotel. Both the tourists and the ones renting out are paid off well as the former gets to live with locals in a foreign land and have an entirely new experience and the latter fetch earnings.
Airbnb, which today is known as one of the biggest players in this cluster, earns through commission from both sides. The bigger share of its revenue comes from booking fees i.e. hosts who list a space are charged with 3 percent, and the guest with 6 to 12 percent. So, on an average they earn 10% on every booking.
All you need to run such a business is gradually developing a community of travelers and hosts. Apart from this there is a need of efficient support to entertain customer queries, whichever they come across. Hence building an engaging website atmosphere is more than a necessity which will eventually turn out to be an advantage, as not many people have tried to walk this track as of now.
With millions of users searching and booking travel services online, there is an ocean of opportunities to explore in the travel industry. An online venture is all that would suffice your purpose and meet your goals. Having said this, it can’t be denied that this technological wave brings with itself few challenges too.
The biggest challenge that is put forth is creating a website that informs visitors, communicates brand message, and generate maximum conversions.
You need not think twice before investing in a website if it is developed around the yardsticks that offer usability and simplifies complicacies. To build your brand, forward your doubts and queries through comments section and share them with us. We would be happy to address all your issues about creating a unique travel brand.
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