I've been heavily entrenched in the travel & tourism industry for years-formal education, 1000s of books, reports, market research, etc. When I look at people trying to make money online with travel Web sites, I see a few fundamental flaws. Today, I'll point a couple out so that you can avoid these common pitfalls.
Lacking Market Research
Many travel web site owners simply look for some keywords, write some articles (or outsource them) and call it a day. They then wonder why clicks are low, orders are nonexistent and profit is hard to come by.
It is imperative that you know at least the basics of the market you're engaging in. For instance, simply knowing that "people like to visit Italy" isn't enough. There's all that who, what, when, why and how stuff too.
Unfortunately, finding travel patterns, demographics and solid market research without conducting it yourself can be either very difficult or very, very time consuming. Thankfully, there are sources that take the work and cost out of it all for you.
Going Far Too Broad
The next issue that plagues many travel site owners is the one of scope. By having a wiper scope your actually lowering your profit potential.
Let's keep with Italy for a moment. Imagine you put up a Web site about traveling to Italy. What type of content do you fill it with and who is your audience? The answer is "who knows," because people could be coming for all sorts of reasons, such as:
- Family vacation
- Thrill seeking
- Historical travel
- Religious travel
- Foodie travel
- and on and on and on
It's possible that 95% of the traffic coming to your travel & tourism site is just being wasted. And the more you try to appeal to everyone, the worse it gets. We could narrow it down to just Rome and still have major site issues due to all the possible travel personalities and desires.
Before rushing out to stake your claim to the billions of dollars in the travel & tourism industry, take some time to get to know the specific market you want to target. If you can't afford to spend hundreds of hours or thousands of dollars in research, look for the sources that do it for you. For instance, honeymoon tourism has billions at stake, but if you just rush out there with a honeymoon travel site without knowing something about the honeymoon market, you'll be missing out.