Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Battle Of The Ugly Sisters

The reps for the main travel guides have hit the road on their annual pilgrimage to win the hearts, minds and advertising budget of moteliers.

The "ugly sisters" of travel media, Jasons and AA have formed the basis of motel marketing for many years.

Their core product is to sell print advertising, however their future relies on solidifying their web offer and encouraging advertisers to tick as many web-add-on boxes as possible.

So, we are interested to observe the battle between Jasons and AA trying to outperform one another in cyberspace stats.

In their latest newsletter to advertisers, Jasons announced that their January's web stats were their best ever. Jasons even produced the following graph that revealed that Tourism.net.nz were outperforming them just to prove a point that their website, Jasons.com is being viewed by more unique browsers than their main rival, AA Travel.

Source: Jasons Travel

In their latest newsletter, AA Travel also had a record month. They preferred to focus on domestic browsers that were attracted to their site, aatravel.co.nz more than all others in Nielsen's Travel category:

Domestic Unique Browsers - Jan 2009 - Jan 2010

Source: AA Travel

So, what have we learnt from all of this?

Well, aatravel.com appears to attract more
Kiwi unique browsers and jasons.com attracts more unique browsers overall.

The AA make the most of their dominance of Kiwi unique browsers by saying:

"Our site was visited almost 2,400 times more than the Jasons website site every day from Kiwi visitors – and, of course, our visitors were looking at your business, not your competitors in Australia or Fiji!"
Hey that's impressive!

Jasons hit back by asking: "Why is 'Total Unique Browsers' an important measure?"

"With a 10% growth in Australian visitors numbers to New Zealand (January 2010) we believe it is vital that we show you all the visitors that come to our site, and therefore have access to your listing."
Hmm...that make sense too...

Lookers are all very well, but surely it's the bookers that count the most to motel advertisers?

In January this year, AA claim to have had over 5,000 live accommodation bookings and in the same period, Jasons claim to have generated bookings valued at over $1.8 million.

By our reckoning this puts Jasons well ahead here, however it is unclear what proportion of bookings are being generated from Jasons.com and individual websites using the Jasons/Holidayguide "commission free" booking engine.

So it begs the question for moteliers: "After deciding what size advert to place in the accommodation guides, how many web add-on boxes will you be ticking this year?"

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