Travel Ads Network
Travel Ads Network converts publishers' travel content keywords into monetized links, helping generate revenue from resulting clicks or sales.
Founded in 2017, Travel Ads Network uses machine learning to know which brand and product will convert best based on publishers’ traffic and brands' conversion data sets. Partners include Expedia, Booking.com and Klook.
Describe both the business and technology aspects of your start‐up.
Travel Ads Network maximizes advertising revenues for travel publishers through automated content monetization.
We aggregate inventory from major travel brands and leverage travel data to predict insights that will drive conversions and proactively prevent churn, using machine learning and exclusive insider knowledge on the Southeast Asia travel market (consumer behavior trends and conversion drivers).
Travel content is driving sales. We make it easy for publishers to monetize their content and generate revenue, while connecting them with their favorite travel brands. We measure and expand their influence with all their customers' data in a single place through automation.
Micro-publishers, aka micro‐influencers, should spend time creating great content, not tracking integration and maintenance. We automate these processes for them, so they can turn their passion, expertise and unique insight into a sustainable business.
Larger publishers, such as travel guides and magazines, often work with hundreds of content creators worldwide, and have issues integrating multiple travel brands' offers to monetize their content. Our automated set of tools converts travel content keywords into monetized links, maximizing revenue from a resulting click or sale. Our Smart Links, WordPress Widget and Snippet tools parse the content and automatically insert revenue‐generating links on keywords such as destinations, points of interest, hotels, properties, tours and activities and more.
What inspired you to create this company?
Our passion for travel inspired us to create Travel Ads Network. Both co‐founders are French and lived abroad for over 12 years, working in the United States in the early 2000 and now in Southeast Asia for the past 10 years.
We have tech ad travel expertise, previously working at Expedia, Air France, Accor and Agoda, where we had the opportunity to work in multicultural environments. Every time we travel, we use our network’s insight and recommendations to get the most out of our trips, experiencing the local cultures and discovering destinations off the beaten track.
We lived the digital transformation while working in the online travel industry, and Asia has shown impressive growth trends in the last 10 years. With the highest levels of mobile penetration and use of social media, the audience in Asia consumes more content than anywhere else in the world and craves for unique insights and recommendations.
This is why we focus on travel, even though our solution can be used for other verticals. We plan to expand to insurance and real estate next year as we already get traction from both industries.
Give us your SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis of the company.
Strengths: Living in Southeast Asia for the past 10 years and working in the online travel industry gives us a unique expertise of the Asian travel ecosystem.
Weaknesses: Talents acquisition is the hardest part; tech giants offer packages that are hard to match. We bet on our industry focus and company culture to attract and retain talents.
Subscribe to our newsletter below
Opportunities: Southeast Asia is the fastest-growing market for travel. Google and Temasek expect the Southeast Asia online travel market to multiply by four by 2025, reaching about 90 billion at a 15% compound annual growth rate.
Threats: Time! Velocity is part of our DNA, but we estimate a two-year window to own the market before competition starts investing massively in this part of the world.
What are the travel pain points you are trying to alleviate from both the customer and the industry perspective?
Customization and customer acquisition.
Customers search for recommendations online and then will check an average of nine travel websites before making a booking. All customers have the same broad experience landing on the travel brand's main pages.
We link publishers' content to targeted search result pages, increasing the customer experience by optimizing their effort and clicks. We also use machine learning to prescribe which brand and product will convert best based on publishers’ traffic and brands' conversion data sets.
For example, a French customer traveling to Thailand has higher probabilities to book a hotel room in Koh Samui on Booking.com, while a Chinese customer would book a room for Phuket on Trip.com.
On top of the rising costs of traditional digital marketing, knowing that “86% of Southeast Asian web users say they would lose trust in a brand if they felt an ad lacked authenticity,” the online travel industry needs to find new ways to reach and engage with customers while not being too intrusive. Content marketing that has an intrinsic relevance or value for the target audience is one solution to this challenge.
So you've got the product, now how will you get lots of customers?
We have a great personal and professional network in the travel industry and are also part of communities such as Travel Massive, Tbex and other travel groups on social media. We are also very proactive in business development and constantly looking for new publishers online through multiple channels.
Tell us what process you've gone through to establish a genuine need for your company and the size of the addressable market.
Being from the online travel industry was key, as we initially looked at solutions to solve our own problems as corporate employees. We could not find any alternative to combine tech and marketing to optimize our publishers’ performances at scale.
The paradox is that online travel companies are collecting huge amount of data but are not yet able to share relevant data insights with publishers, resulting in a one‐way partnership with poor performances.
Welcome to the Hot 25 Startups for 2019
for a who's who of new businesses to watch over the course of the next 12 months.
We also had the opportunity to run user labs all over Asia and Europe to understand how we could work best with existing publishers but also non-partner publishers. We were amazed to see that all publishers have common issues, believing they are too small to partner with major brands or don’t have the knowledge or time to integrate touch points into their online content, missing revenue opportunity.
We partner with publishers from any size and automate the integration for them, while optimizing their performance by collecting and analyzing brand data thanks to machine learning.
The global online travel bookings market is expected to attain a market size of $1,143.6 billion by 2023. We are a global company, with a focus on Southeast Asia, looking at a $183 billion total addressable market. The referral channel is now responsible for 16% of online sales in mature markets, but we expect even bigger share in Asia, as Asia is home of social media and influencers.
How and when will you make money?
We already generate revenues through our partnerships with over 60 travel brands globally and 40,000 travel publishers worldwide: 80% in APAC and 20% in North America and Europe.
What are the backgrounds and previous achievements of the founding team, and why do you have what it takes to succeed with this business?
Chris, co‐founder and CEO of Travel Ads Network, has an entrepreneur background, launching ventures in the U.S., Europe and Asia since 2000.
Charles, co‐founder and CTO, was previously co‐founder and CTO of TVtrip, acquired by TravelClick, and Wipolo acquired by Accor.
We have complementary profiles, combining marketing and tech expertise within the online travel industry. Our corporate background also gives us a huge advantage in terms of process, strategy and product development at scale.
What's been the most difficult part of founding the business so far?
Focusing on our core business. Every day is a battle against distractions. Investors, brand partners and publisher partners all have different points of views and specific needs. We had to learn to say no in order to stick to our road map and deliver the right products that are generating 80% of our revenues.
This is also our differentiator: We have a clear vision allowing us to test/fail and move on fast to create the best product for both parties.
Generally, travel startups face a fairly tough time making an impact ‐ so why are you going to be one of lucky ones?
B2C startups will definitely have a tough time making an impact competing with big guns with unlimited budgets. We are a B2B travel startup, where we believe there is still room to make a big impact.
We are solving problems on both sides, delivering more qualified traffic to travel brands to increase sales and automating content monetization for publishers driving qualified traffic.
PhocusWire Startup Stage
to learn more about our profiling of new travel companies and how to apply.