While the GDS has long been considered a cost-effective way to deliver targeted messages to travel agents at the point of sale, the tasks of ensuring best available rate (BAR) display in those ads and measuring advertising reach have been a challenge. Now advertisers have a new level of sophisticated functionality and transparency for GDS ad placement that is currently unrivaled elsewhere online.
Through a year-long collaboration using DoubleClick/Google ad serving technology, TravelCLICK and DoubleClick/Google have identified and leveraged unique predictive characteristics within both the ad serving and travel agent hotel shopping environments. The result of the research and corresponding development is two significant enhancements for advertising on the GDS.
The first enhancement, Dynamic Rate Update, instantaneously inserts a hotel’s BAR—specific to actual check-in date—into the ad copy displayed to the audience. By dynamically updating BAR data, it is much more likely that the advertised rate will be available when the audience responds to the advertisement, increasing the likelihood of a booking.
“Fueled by the influence of increasingly sophisticated online advertising options, the industry is demanding targeted marketing strategies that are more relevant and effective,” said John Hach, Vice President of Media for TravelCLICK. “Our research showed a consistent lack of reliability in advertised rates—primarily due to the dynamic nature of pricing and purchasing within the GDS marketplace. Through our partnership with DoubleClick/Google, hotels can now leverage a new level of technology to improve ad integrity and relevance. This is truly a dynamic solution designed for a dynamic environment.”
Second, a next-generation methodology isolates and identifies advertising-enabled travel agencies and measures the hotel booking revenue that they produce in participating GDS. While the actual advertising reach has not changed, this new methodology quantifies the hotel revenue an advertiser can attempt to influence within the channel. For full year 2008, the total hotel booking revenue delivered to the hotel industry by these advertising-enabled travel agencies exceeded $8 billion.
“Our mission is to empower customers with advertising solutions that deliver maximum flexibility and a robust feature set,” said Jonathan Bellack, Group Product Manager of Publisher Advertising Platforms at Google. “We are pleased that TravelCLICK was able to use the DoubleClick platform to enhance the relevance, transparency, and measurement of advertising within the GDS.”
The American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) has been instrumental in developing TravelCLICK’s Dynamic Rate Update and advertising-enabled hotel booking methodology. In today’s highly competitive marketplace, it is imperative that hoteliers provide best available rates to travel agents for bookings made on the GDS. “TravelCLICK’s development of Dynamic Rate Update demonstrates their commitment to the ongoing important and influential role travel agents provide within the hotel selection process,” said William Maloney, Certified Travel Counselor, and Chief Executive Officer of ASTA.