All the recent search-and-booking activity for historically less-visited destinations will make it easier for them to justify marketing expenditures even after the pandemic wanes, says Expedia's Cyril Ranque. Could be true, given the curious logic of algorithms.
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Travel giant Expedia Group has been seeing less-visited destinations have more popularity as domestic tourism increases during the pandemic. The trend may have surprise lasting effects for destinations that have been under-visited, such as non-urban domestic attractions.
“The fact those destinations are getting more traffic and more bookings on multiple marketplaces and booking sites will build more equity, in reviews, search data, and booking data, that will put those secondary and tertiary destinations on the map of travel,” said Cyril Ranque, president, travel partners group, when he spoke for Skift Forum Europe on Tuesday. “That is something that will stay.”
“The problem facing those destinations is that historically they couldn’t get enough visibility on search engines … so that the ROI [return-on-investment] of marketing them actually makes sense,” Ranque said. “Now, with all that [search and booking history] history being built, I think that’s a structural change … in the balance between secondary and primary destinations.”
Popular Recovery Fund
Expedia Group in May launched a recovery package for small- and medium-size travel suppliers in 30 countries, including many in Europe, for hotels, destinations, and managers of vacation rentals. It’s offering marketing credits, reduced and delayed commission payments for hoteliers, and credits from Expedia Group Media Solutions for destinations’ co-op advertising campaigns.
“The reaction [from partners] is incredibly positive, and [the adoption level is] a little higher than our forecast,” Ranque said. “So it may end up costing us a little more money.”
Ranque also talked about Google’s effort to work with advertisers to provide coronavirus relief. Google’s small business support program, announced in late March, provides ad credits for future business, and some travel sellers are disappointed at Google’s perceived stinginess. Some smaller companies have asked Google to stop its bill collection efforts for first-quarter advertising services as well as offer data services to help make the most of the recovery.
“I would’ve thought Google would have been a little more generous, especially with the small partners who advertise,” Ranque said, in response to a question from Skift Executive Editor Dennis Schaal. “Their [Google’s] business is to get a lot of liquidity in the marketplace, get a lot of partners and advertisers to succeed and have healthy profitability. And for that, normally, you try to help [the partners] when they’re in real need.”
“I read the Skift piece on it, and it doesn’t look like a lot of money for some of these partners,” Ranque said.
In his role, Ranque helps all travel partner segments use the group’s marketing, distribution, data, and technology solutions. This job includes connecting conventional lodging, vacation rentals, air, cruise, car, activities, destination marketing organizations with its traveler audiences on its brands. Before joining Expedia Group, Ranque was vice president of marketing and distribution for Louvre Hotels.
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Photo credit: A view of Lausanne, Switzerland, a tourist destination that's less visited than Paris. Lausanne Tourisme