The industry continues to grow as entrepreneurs like you explore innovative ways to help travelers make the most of their business and leisure trips regardless of their destinations. All successful entrepreneurs began the process of determining the ideal approach to starting their companies by first determining which type of made the most sense for them to pursue.
The industry includes five types of online travel businesses:
Private Sale: This category includes flash sale, member-only, daily deal, and group-buying travel sites.
Tour/Trip Operators: "Trip" is the more accurate term as this category specializes in selling packaged trips to vacationers with no tour operations included.
Guides and Activity Providers: As the name states, this group does provide guided tours and other activity guidance during a trip.
Online Travel Agencies: Also called OTAs, this group sells everything general travelers need from lodging, air travel, and car rentals to full vacation packages.
Brokers: OTBs contract with travel suppliers such as airlines and hotels to represent their businesses and help them sell more of their travel products.
Each of these types of online travel businesses is discussed in detail in Module 1 of the Travel Business Academy's Startup and Growth Program. However, the first category-Private Sale -remains the hottest business model in this space.
Private Sale - Private sale sites operate on the premise that consumers look for-and enjoy buying-"act now or lose out" deep-discount deals.
Private sale sell travel products such as hotel rooms, cruises, and tours, from big-name travel suppliers that are willing to sell excess inventory at a discount but also need to protect their brand image. Rather than offering incredible deals on their own websites, these suppliers opt to offer them through flash sale, daily deal, or group-buying travel sites.
Do private sale or member-only travel sites cater only to exclusive memberships? Not really. Most require some sort of sign-up, sometimes via another member, simply to make their site look more upscale.
Social media contributes immensely to the success of private sale online travel websites. Private offerings with exclusive daily or weekly deals, strict deadlines, and significant discounts on high-end travel services such as five-star hotels quickly become hot topics on social media networks, where people love to share the deals they've discovered in order to improve their standing with others in their personal circles. Such an easy and free distribution and promotional strategy contributes to sales as well as memberships on the private sale websites that initiated and communicated the offer in the first place.