Friday, May 8, 2009

Orbitz M.I.A. in Travelzoo Top 20

Orbitz's advertisements haven't appeared in Travelzoo's Top 20 deals newsletter, which gets e-mailed to some 15 million subscribers, since late March.

At least not in the ones that pop weekly into my in-box.

Orbitz's M.I.A. status in the Travelzoo Top 20 ain't no accident.

It's part of Orbitz's new strategy, as articulated by CEO Barney Harford to analysts this week, to play hardball with e-marketers that Orbitz perceives as too expensive.

Marketing is Orbitz's single largest expense, and Harford said Orbitz henceforth will use advertising vehicles that contribute not only to top-line growth, but deliver results that show up on the bottom line, too.

As contracts come up for review, expect Orbitz to put on its game-face.

Well, Travelzoo is no pushover on these things by any means, so I guess push came to shove regarding the Top 20.

Up until late March, Orbitz would offer advertisements in the weekly Travelzoo Top 20 deals newsletter with links like this.

But, I haven't seen an Orbitz advertisement in the newsletter in the past six weeks.

However, Orbitz continues to advertise in Travelzoo's SuperSearch, which may return a better ROI with its cost-per-click model than the flat-rate-based Top 20.

Orbitz's MIA status in the Travelzoo Top 20 may not be a permanent thing. Perhaps cooler heads will prevail eventually.

But, at a minimum, Harford has set a tone about the kinds of e-marketing deals he is looking for.

Meanwhile, Orbitz continues to participate as the exclusive online travel agency in the Kayak metasearch engine, and Orbitz's advertisements continue to appear in Kayak's Top Travel Deals newsletter.

I guess, at this juncture, Kayak is a sort of a very-preferred relationship.


Anonymous said...

What makes you think Orbitz dropped out? Travelzoo's Top 20 is about the best deals in travel. Did it ever occur to you that possibly Orbitz no longer has the best deals in travel?? With all the the "schlocky" deal newsletters in the market, Travelzoo is forced to uphold their image of the Top Publisher in travel deal publishing. Therefore they can no longer tolerate sites where 1) you can't find the deal advertised and 2) do not have the best of the best. Chew on that for a bit.

Dennis Schaal said...

Dear Anonymous: Orbitz was a REGULAR advertiser in the Travelzoo Top 20 until the end of March, three months into the tenure of Barney Harford. What? Do you think that Travelzoo is refusing Orbitz's ad dollars for the newsletter? Did Orbitz have some of the best deals in the market up until March, when Orbitz decided to review its marketing deals, and now all of the sudden Orbitz's deals aren't good enough for the Travelzoo Top 20? Even after Orbitz cut its hotel-booking fees and eliminated fees on air bookings? I know that dropping out of the Travelzoo Top 20 was a conscious decision by Orbitz, and I expected Orbitz will make similar decisions in the future. If you know otherwise and can further contribute to the discussion, feel free to contact me....anonymously or otherwise. And, by the way, thanks for the comment. For real. I'm "chew(ing) on that for a bit."

Dennis Schaal said...

Anonymous: Also, I forgot to mention that before posting the post, I checked back and found Orbitz ads in the Travelzoo Top 20 Jan. 14, Jan. 28, Feb. 11, Feb. 18, March 4 and March 18. And, then, as first quarter 2009 wound to a close March 31, Orbitz's ads disappeared from the Travelzoo Top 20. None in April, and none in the May 7 Top 20. So, Orbitz had good deals in January, February and March, and the deals went bad in April? Not up to snuff? Hmmm.