Five reasons why online travel partnerships fail and how to fix themNewsBy Viewpoints | October 14, 2010Share This article was originally published on Online travel agencies are striking more partnership deals with airlines, metasearch and hotel chains.Throw in deals with media companies (such as online portals, newspapers and TV channels) and the opportunities to drive more business and monetise more and more impressions are vast.It's not always so easy, however, so here are the five main reasons why partnerships often fall apart, and how to avoid such failures in the first place:1. The partnership does not provide an end to end travel experience.The travel booking process is made up of six stages: Inspire, Book, Plan, Experience , Remember, Share.If the partnership does not inspire, or provide a call-to-action to book effectively then the credibility of the integration will be hindered.Any travel partnership between an OTA and an online partner should consider how the partnership will address all these stages.The planning process is not only a financial discussion but also involves ticking the six boxes above.2. No differentiation.Unique editorial content, pictures, prices, discount coupons, travel exclusives, travel filters, and unique traveller insight are key to ensure that users feel there is a reason to start their travel journey at a media site.“Why would anyone use this solution?” is a key question. Make sure the partnership adds value for the user.3. Weak technical integration.Seamless, fast and secure is a minimum requirement.Co brands, white labels and deeper integrations are all credible options depending on the brands in play but if it is clunky – the partnership is dead.4. What you start with is not what always works…Deal makers and marketing teams are very good at putting together world beating, global dominating ideas on a white board in a meeting room. 90% of the time these ideas need to be measured, examined and then revisited.What you planned to sell, conversion, traffic numbers and customer behaviour can be very hard to predict and not always what you planned for.The key to avoiding failure is to recognise this, act humble, and continue to invest in changing the integration to optimise with your intial learnings.Make sure that both teams are ready to invest in development at launch and then do so again soon after. Don’t let the tech team take their eye off the ball after launch.5. Work It Baby.Online travel partnerships, like the front page of newspapers and the home page of OTAs, need work… all the time. Customers need to see vibrant and relevant content… all the time.Once contracts are signed, requirements are written, development is complete and integration is live its easy to lower the energy levels… but actually the energy levels go up and not down from here.In any preliminaries to a deal make sure the other side has the people, culture and commitment to keep working the partnership long into the future and if possible get contractual commitments to ensure this.