Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Travolution@PhoCusWright Brussels - Soskin and Loughlin on the march

Two travel publishers, but two very different people, take to the stage to debate the merits of travel deals.

Cheapflights chief executive David Soskin has battled with TravelZoo managing director for Europe, Chris Loughlin, many times and it appears that actually rather relish the duel.

The interesting part of all this is that they actually sing very much from the same song sheet: both are publishers of travel deals and both run newsletters programmes – both pretty successfully.

Cost per acquisition models attract the ire of both men. “Fundamentally misaligned,” says Loughlin. “If there was good tracking in place we would consider it more,” adds Soskin.

Loughlin, answering a question from the moderator, PhoCusWright chief executive Philip Wolf, who has a strong presence on the room as paces around continuously, also criticises the affiliate advertising model.

Large sums of marketing money have been spent on travel portals with noticeable results, Loughlin says (500,000 subscribers at the last count), but so-called blind deals across “thousands of sites” have yielded very little.

Strange, then, that affiliate deals are apparently going to help secure 20% of sales this year…

UPDATE: Apparently Sidestep is unhappy at Loughlin's reference to the company being a "meta search company".

Kevin May, editor, Travolution

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