Online Travel is $534 Billion Industry – These 5 Business Models Rule

online travel

This guest column is authored by Smriti Wangnoo, Internet Marketer at FATbit Technologies

Travelers from all over the world visit travel websites to book tickets or read reviews about popular tourist destinations. Statistics say that about 95% people read reviews before planning a holiday trip to their favorite destination. With such a vast consumer base, having a website is important for people associated with travel industry or for entrepreneurs who want to start a new online travel business.

There are many online travel business ideas to choose from. As in this post we are explaining the business model behind each idea, we will also look at an example based on it. Take a look at the following five profitable business ideas in tour and travel industry.

Online Travel Affiliate Programs

A travel affiliate website can boost your income by multiple folds. Starting a travel website enables you to quit your full-time job and work from the comforts of home. The deciding factor is the payment method that you will choose while becoming a part of a travel affiliate network.

There are three different types of affiliate payment methods such as cost per acquisition, cost per lead, cost per click, and fixed cost. You can choose to sign up with different travel affiliate programs, but it is good to know how a travel affiliate network works. Let take an example of Travelerrr, a leading custom travel website provider that comes with a high paying affiliate network.

How Travelerrr works?

Travelerrr provides custom travel website integrated with their booking search engine. They also provide membership to their high-paying affiliate network along with the website. Affiliates are paid under pay per click and pay per booking model. Its travel booking search engine lets website visitors compare booking prices of hotels, flights, cruises, car rentals, and more. Major sources of revenue include advertisements, product sale, and affiliate.

Online Marketplace Connecting Travelers with Local Hosts

Staying at a hotel can take away the experience of living like a localite. Most travelers look for a unique experience that can last a lifetime. To create such magical moments, travelers can choose to stay with locals at the destination of their choice.

This concept of a home away from home experience was initially started by Airbnb and the company has seen exponential growth ever since. As of 2016, Airbnb has a presence in 190+ countries and is valued at $30 billion.

How Airbnb works?

The website offers a minimalist interface to keep information at visitor’s fingertips. Becoming a member and listing the property on Airbnb is absolutely free. The major source of revenue for Airbnb is the 6% to 12% transaction fee, which it charges upon successful booking of a property by a traveler. A 3% additional fee is charged if the amount is paid through credit card.

Online Travel Booking Website

Online travel booking websites present a win-win situation for both, travel companies and affiliates. Travel businesses can earn more profit, while bloggers and travel agents make extra profit by becoming a part of travel affiliate networks.

It builds trust with customer reviews and lowers the fraud rate for travellers as booking is completely automated. The most common example following this business model includes MakeMyTrip, which is widely used to book flight tickets, domestic and international holiday packages, hotel reservations, rail and bus tickets, and more.

How MakeMyTrip works?

MakeMyTrip starts with a simple homepage, which displays search feature for flights, hotels, holidays, and more. Below the search section, it shows offers on international flights, hot deals, and last minute deals. The last section is dedicated to travel ideas, which it accomplishes through content marketing.

In addition, MakeMyTrip offers stories from travelers, a tool for planning trips, android/iOS smartphone apps, and much more. The website earns income through booking commissions, selling tour packages, travel insurance policies, online advertisements and more.

Online Travel Guide and Trip Planning website

Starting an online travel discussion website presents an online business idea with almost negligible scalability issues. The user generated content plays an important role in a travel discussion website. The most appropriate example is Trip Advisor, whose user-generated content took nearly 16 years to build up covering reviews hotels, restaurants, tourist attractions, bars, tours, and more.

How Trip Advisor works?

Trip Advisor’s USP is in its honest reviews. The sheer amount of information available on Trip Advisor’s servers makes it one of the largest trip reference websites for travelers. Also, the website enables a traveler to book hotel and flights, find restaurants, and more. The website uses smart recommendations engine which provides most relevant results.

Trip Advisor’s revenue model includes displaying advertisements on website, subscription, and affiliate revenue.

Online Travel Activity Marketplace

People prefer booking trips online and statistics shows that in the past 5 years, internet travel booking revenue has grown by 73%.

Aspiring entrepreneurs can take the travel industry forward with specialized travel activity websites. To save time, you can choose a platform like Funaway to build a travel activity website within a matter of days. Websites like Footloos delivers the best travel experience by enabling the traveler to choose their experience type such as culinary, adventure, fitness, water sports, and more.

How Footloos works?

Starting right from the homepage, Footloos works to engage the user with its high definition images and travel activity search feature. Visitors can book different experiences like fitness, diving, adventure, local events, and more. The website deals with major tourist islands in Asia such as Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, Koh Tao, Koh Chang, Phuket, and more.

Revenue model involves selling tour packages.

Conclusion: The travel industry changes as you read this article. With the right business model, you can ensure the profitability of your travel business. The five online travel business models above have a huge scope for entrepreneurs in the times to come.

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