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.