04 Dec GUEST BLOG FROM WEATHER2TRAVEL.COM: UNCERTAIN TIMES IN THE TRAVEL INDUSTRY
With political instability, frequent natural disasters and shifting socio-economic factors collectively upsetting the balance. All have caused disruption for online travel publishers. In Blog 10, we have a Guest Blog from Colin Carter of Weather2Travel.com discussing the impact on the affiliate marketing world.
We live in uncertain times with political instability, frequent natural disasters and shifting socio-economic factors collectively upsetting the balance. All have caused a great deal of disruption, both directly and indirectly, for online travel publishers such as ourselves at Weather2Travel.com and the wider affiliate marketing world.
Brexit and the demise of Thomas Cook
The seemingly never-ending discussion and debate around Brexit has dominated UK politics for the last few years, long before the vote back in 2016, and shows no signs of going away any time soon. What is clear is that the travel industry has been disrupted by the uncertainty around the UK’s future relationship with Europe.
Most recently, the demise of Thomas Cook was partly put down to Brexit, along with good summer weather killing the last minute holiday market, the UK recession and austerity plus a whole host of other reasons. The warning signs regarding Thomas Cook had been there for a while, however, many thought they were too big to fail only to be proved wrong. We’ve been here before, of course, as it wasn’t long ago we lost Monarch and lowcostholidays.
The repercussions for the affiliate industry and online publishers are wide and varied, from the financial burden of lost earnings to the operational and technical headache of updating content and finding suitable replacements. The travel industry has broadly been praised for its reaction to Thomas Cook’s closure with many competitors such as TUI stepping in to offer jobs to Thomas Cook employees and Hays Travel buying 555 shop outlets.
The effect on affiliate marketing
High profile companies going out of business offers a unique opportunity for competitors, big and small, to fill the void with their products and marketing messages.
However, with question marks still outstanding over Brexit, many companies are likely to act cautiously especially with ‘peak’ (post Christmas/January sales) just around the corner. Uncertainty makes a difficult job even harder for content publishers working in affiliate marketing. Travel brands tend to focus on the pointy end of the funnel and forget about brand awareness and top of the funnel exposure.
Modernise or die
A new wave of companies is slowly changing the landscape in the travel industry. Since Airbnb and Uber burst onto the scene there has been an ever increasing array of travel startups appearing with new products or ways of working.
The way we travel is also evolving with a younger audience demanding more personalised experiences and flexibility. Traditional package holidays are being replaced with dynamic packages and customised trips, although there is still a place for both – for now!
Legacy travel companies have started to modernise with new products and updated technology as they don’t want to be the next Thomas Cook. As companies update their products and websites, we, as affiliates, need to stay on top of these changes. There is also an opportunity to work more closely with the new breed of online travel companies as they clamber for branding and market share.
It’s all about the destinations
Just last month, the FCO lifted the ban on flights to Sharm el Sheikh in Egypt. Before the bombing of a Russian jet in 2015, the Red Sea resort was one of the most popular destinations for UK holidaymakers. It will take some time for travel companies to return to the region, but it will be interesting to see how quickly it re-grows as a holiday destination once more.
Travellers continue to look for new destinations to explore off the beaten track parts of the world. As more focus is placed on overtourism and responsible travel, a new generation will lead the move away from old favourites to exciting new destinations.
It’s important for online publishers to keep up-to-date with these changes as well as react to world events such as natural disasters, terrorist attacks and political instability. No matter what happens in the near and distant future it is certain to keep us on our toes.