Travelling on the Internet: Travelzoo shows the fangs

Travelzoo, the 100% digital media (full digital, some would say to be trendy) has just celebrated its 20th anniversary in New York, while its French subsidiary has only 10 springs. For this double anniversary Travelzoo has added a new string to its bow, the « dynamic package », which, it must be said, is very much in tune with the times.

Travelzoo was born in 1998 at the beginning of the Internet explosion. It was a German journalist Ralph Bartel who, at the very beginning of the Internet wave, pioneered the « good travel tips » that he wanted to make accessible to as many people as possible.

Ralph Bartel (photo opposite) is still the head of Travelzoo, in which he remains the majority shareholder with 51% of the shares. The 2nd largest shareholder owns less than 5% of the company, which gives Travelzoo a very high degree of stock market stability.

Travelzoo is a Nasdaq-listed American company founded in Mountain View, California, and now based in New York.

Since its first newsletters, Travelzoo has been offering its community of members every Wednesday a selection of the week’s top 20 best deals, the « Top 20 », a weekly choice that is varied and full of surprises, with the strict criterion of presenting only exclusive offers (for fairly short periods) with the best price/quality ratio.

In principle, everyone wins. The partners who are about 2,000 in the world thus avoid having large stocks of unsold goods, and the kind members benefit from significant discounts. Those who surf on the Travelzoo website are not looking for a destination a priori. They are travellers, often frequent, who rather seek to go to beautiful places at a lower cost.

The good deal will decide the destination, while guaranteeing them a quality product, because for Travelzoo an offer must also have a good location, be easily accessible and have a satisfaction rate above 80% on media like Tripadvisor.

In addition, the discounts offered by the partners must be real and substantial, and may not exceed two short periods per year.

For Nancy Faure (photo), the brand new Managing Director of Travelzoo France, the challenge is to reinstall Travelzoo in the Top 3 by 2020 by recovering lost market share.

Today Travelzoo France has about 700,000 subscribers, while in 2012 they were almost 900,000, Travelzoo’s success having inspired strong competition in this growing market.

And to achieve this, Nancy Faure intends to rely on several levers. First, increase the audience through marketing and notoriety campaigns this month on social networks, Facebook and others.

With in addition an animation towards the fan community (40,000 in France) with daily publications to make you dream. At the same time, Nancy Faure wants to further improve the search for partners of excellence offering the best possible products.

The big step forward is coming for Travelzoo with the use of new technologies that allow it to develop offers in « dynamic package ».

Travelzoo has been working in partnership with HAG since last December, a German company that is able to provide it with air capacity (low-costs and regular airlines) and that excels in hotel and aircraft assembly through the use of the analytical tools of the Peachworks platform.

To develop these new products and reach its target of one million subscribers by 2021 Travelzoo will have to strengthen its teams, with a recruitment of new talent that Nancy Faure estimates at around +25% this year.

For Travelzoo, the role of producers, these « in-house travel experts », is essential. Each producer receives the offers, examines them, checks them and validates them, or not. An offer that does not comply with Travelzoo’s editorial standards is rejected as it stands.
It is also the producer who then writes the article, thus ensuring an honest and qualitative presentation of the product, which is the very essence of Travelzoo’s services.

Frédéric de Poligny

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