In the year 1993, Holidayline (UK) Limited launched its brand Directline Holidays, which was originally a phone based travel agency, based in Surrey, the United Kingdom. The company moved online in the year 2000 when it started its first website called DirectLineHolidays.com which was later changed to Directline-Holidays.co.uk. Later in year 2013, the company and the brand was acquired by Broadway Travel, a Luton based company. The brand Directline Holidays, however, was retained as a trading name and the website directline-holidays.co.uk still serves as the online portal for the business which offers inexpensive holiday packages, flights and hotels. The website offers a live-chat and call-back options to its visitors in case they might need any assistance at pre-booking stage and eventually at selecting any deal pertaining to travel package, booking online flight tickets or hotels at the lowest possible price. Its sales team deals exclusively with new bookings while the customer services team takes care of the entire after sale support enquiries. The brand is well-known among online community within the UK and is one of the top visited websites in the travel agency and operator segment, there. In the summer of 2008, it recorded more than 2 million visitors and 10 million page views by Directline-Holidays.co.uk and its related websites.
Business Objectives of DirectLineHolidays.com
Businesses having their focus on travel related products online often struggle with comprehending the behavior of their potential customers visiting their website. It is difficult to tell what exactly will make a customer visit their website, make him stay on it and get converted into a sale. If a company does manage to attract a significant number of visitors on its website with the help of good content and product related offerings or other advertising and promotional efforts, the number of the visitors who actually buy the service remains considerably low, somewhere between one and ten percent of the total traffic. For such companies, it becomes imperative to target that unconverted traffic so that it could become a source of revenue for the company.
The websites of Directline Holidays were receiving a high number visitors and page views. Most part of the traffic, however, would not convert into a sale. Hence, the marketing team of the company which was headed by Matt Adams spotted a huge opportunity to monetize the traffic which visited Directline-Holidays.co.uk and its related websites. With that goal, the company started looking for ways to monetize the traffic so that it can have an extra stream of revenue. While doing that, it was cautious to not to affect the already good incoming traffic in a negative way. After considering a number of options, the company realized that most of these options could emerge as being intrusive to the visitors or distracting, which, in turn, may lead the customer get turned off and leave the site.
Adams says “Banner advertising, pop-ups and data collection did not appeal because we thought they were too distracting, took-up too much valuable space, were poorly targeted and generally offered a disappointingly low CPM”.
Strategy Adopted by DirectLineHolidays.com
After analyzing various options, Matt Adams came across AdSense which is a service offered by Google to the website publishers under the Google Display Network and enables these publishers to host and display ads of a third-party website on their own website. The products and services of these third-party websites match the content of the website publishers under Google Display Network. The ads are sorted and maintained by Google by using its technology. Once the AdSense account was set up, Directline Holidays started hosting ads for various website publishers. The advertisements of direct competitors were blocked in order to avoid the potential customers on the website shifting to the websites of competitors. Ad of different shapes and sizes and their placement on the website was tested comprehensively and the one with higher results was chosen finally. The color of the ads was also customized so that it may blend well with the look and layout of Directline-Holidays.co.uk and did not appear out-of-place. With these flexible testing and optimizing features offered by AdSense, Directline Holidays could host the ads which worked best in terms of contributing to their overall revenue. The ads appearing on the website seemed natural to the visitors as he was reading a content which was more or less similar to the content of the hosted ads. Also, the reporting offered by AdSense enabled Directline Holidays to keep a tab on the performance of the ads hosted on its website and it could take further actions to stick to what was working for it and discard what was not working.
Result Achieved By DirectLineHolidays.com
Directline Holidays started witnessing positive results since the time it started its association with Google AdSense. No negative impact was observed in the incoming traffic to the website. An entire new source of profit was created which increased the overall revenue of the company by monetizing the unconverted traffic. The company was being paid for displaying the ads the each time a visitor viewed or clicked those ads. By ability to block the ads of immediate competitors appearing on its website, it could control the cannibalism and eliminate the competitors.
Google AdSense is a great option to be considered by those publishers of websites which have a significant number of traffic coming to their websites and are looking for ways to earn money out of it. Just by being a part of Google Display Network and setting up an AdSense account, the publishers can choose to display the ads from third-party advertisers and get paid for it. The flexible features of Google AdSense allow the publisher to tailor and customize the ads as per the need of the content and layout of his website and enable the website publisher to display the ads without distracting the readers on its webpage. Many bloggers are also using AdSense to create a source of income for themselves. Even mainstream media publishers such as newspapers and video websites are using AdSense to earn significant revenue.
Image Credit: LinkedIn Page of Directline Holidays