Pause for thought in the online travel industryNews / OnlineBy Viewpoints | August 12, 2014Share This article was originally published on There are some who remain very concerned about the digital strategy of many within the online travel industry.NB: This is an analysis by Enrique Fernández, EMEA sales director for AffiliRed.A recent Econsultancy report was specifically concerned with the industry’s apparent languid approach to responsive websites, given the rise in mobile transactions and the rapid growth rate in the global ownership of tablets.There was a clear message that with the rise in services like mobile ticketing, boarding passes and the demand for on-the -go bookings the travel industry has got to get on board the mobile juggernaut now.Furthermore, Tnooz reported similar findings in a report on airlines’ websites, announcing that 18% of the top 11 airlines don’t have a mobile website and PhoCusWright predicting a fifth of online travel bookings will come from a mobile device by 2015.However, before you go rushing off to your finance director requesting more funds to make your website more responsive, just press pause for a while.Take a breathWhilst I agree that many brands need to join this trend, I also believe the importance is relative.It is much more relevant, and therefore urgent, to a business with a short cycle of purchasing. For example urban destinations where you can browse and book a hotel room on the same night.It’s rather less relevant to travel brands or destinations still using tour operators.In these cases I don’t believe that browsing on mobiles factors highly at all.When major planning is needed by the traveller, booking in advance is essential and this tends to be completed on a PC or laptop where people can take time before they make their choices.The plain fact is many companies are more traditional than others. So for some, having a responsive site is rather urgent and for others it isn't important at all.Mobile executive for IAB, Mike Reynolds, said in a recent article: "Different advertisers often have different needs, and what’s right for some might not be for others. The key message is for them to think about why they aren’t investing in mobile?"Share this quote I completely agree with Reynolds, and it’s an approach that we often see when dealing with web managers.Bigger pictureAs someone involved in the performance marketing sector, of course I’d welcome a different approach.Affiliates that make huge efforts with mobile websites are affected by the lack of tracking across this channel.In fact, the number of advertisers that include affiliate marketing in their mobile strategy is minimal.If affiliates can't track their sales in mobile devices, why should they make the effort?Add to this the fact that multi-device navigation can make it hard to run CPA marketing campaigns and it becomes clear that we have some work to do in this channel. But that’s a problem for us to deal with.The upshot is that the travel industry is at the cutting-edge when it comes to online marketing technology.Booking.com is arguably one of the best websites in the world and its advertising strategy is, in many respects, pure genius.Many tourist companies (particularly pure players), are leaders in online commercialization and new trends in online marketing.However, for many companies, turnover from the online direct channel is pretty marginal, so it's understandable that online is not that important for them.Some businesses, whilst keeping an eye on the situation, are simply going at their own pace.NB: This is an analysis by Enrique Fernández, EMEA sales director for AffiliRed.NB2:Sunset beach image via Shutterstock.