Travel People allows clients to advertise across lastminute’s five brands, including lastminute.com, Rumbo, bravofly and Volagratis, as well as working with nine external sites run by partners through its Travel Alliance consortium.
Clients include HomeAway, Eurostar, Turkish Airlines and Hilton, as well as tourist boards such as Gran Canaria and Korea.
Alessandra Di Lorenzo, lastminute.com group’s chief commercial officer – media & partnerships, explains what Travel People offers and plans for the future.
What’s the concept behind Travel People and the services you offer?
“We launched Travel People, lastminute.com group’s media business, two years ago to offer brands the opportunity to reach customers across our entire European network of online travel sites.
“Since then we have built technology that allows us to buy and sell media inhouse. With this we can plug in our wealth of first party data and give partner brands – both in and out of the travel sector – a huge range of digital marketing campaign opportunities, from targeting by people’s passion points to building bespoke content together, that offer great ROI (return on investment).
“This year we launched our Travel Alliance, which is a consortium of platforms – including Rough Guides and AccuWeather – that essentially allows marketers to reach a bigger and more robust audience.
“Finally, we’re increasingly creating products for marketers. Two of these, Travel Insights, a programmatic consumer insights tool, and ContentHUB, a cloud-based content management system (CMS), started as tools we developed for lastminute.com group’s own marketing – and they worked so well for us that we decided to offer them to other brands as well.”
How quickly has this business grown since 2016? What are your growth plans?
“In our first year, we ran over 1,200 campaigns for more than 300 clients, and we saw a 30% year-on-year growth in top-line revenues. We are on track for another great year and have lots of exciting plans in the pipeline.”
How do you work with your partners as part of the Travel Alliance?
“Our Travel Alliance is currently formed of five of our lastminute.com group owned and operated brands and nine external partner brands.
“Each of these partnerships is unique. Let’s take travel publisher Rough Guides as an example; by combining our inventory, together we have created a one stop shop for marketers – offering brands the opportunity to target the lucrative travel audience across both Rough Guide’s site and lastminute.com group’s European sites.
“With other, smaller publishers, we’re using our tech and expertise to help them to create additional revenue streams, like we’ve done for lastminute.com group.”
What are your development plans over next 12 to 18 months?
“Over the next year or so, our Travel People team will be looking to further build out and strengthen the Travel Alliance, developing new and existing partnerships.
“We’ll also be looking to expand our portfolio of products. We have already created a trading desk, the Travel Insights tool and our ContentHUB content management system. We’ll also continue to look for new ways to add to the marketing mix and offer more advanced and complete solutions to partners.”
How will new technology such as artificial intelligence and data analytics allow you to further improve your products?
“Our business is built on data and our primary objective is to engage and inspire customers with relevant content – and artificial intelligence could help us do this more effectively in the future.
“While we wait for technology (in the form of data management platforms) to catch up, we’ve taken the first step towards AI through predictive analytics. These capabilities that we’re exploring are still based on human input, but use machines to make smarter decisions based on our insights.
“For example, if someone is looking on lastminute.com for a one week family break to Tenerife or Mallorca, our technology will predict that they’re interested in a short family beach holiday in Europe. This means we have a greater understanding of what content to serve our customers and when – which in turn helps us to offer an improved customer experience and better ROI.”