Zoo Residents come together to collaborate on exciting new travel venture
posted by Marie Dalton - Head of European Marketing • 21 Jan 2013
The new year brings exciting new developments from the Zoo, as two of our residents Chris Cooper and Olaf Spinkel partner up to develop the travel site www.infinityswimmingpools.co.uk
Chris is founder of asseenonthetv.co.uk, a website to help people find products that have been featured on TV programmes such as the Gadget Show and Dragons’ Den. The idea was initially based purely on gadgets that had been on TV, but we have developed the site and aim to help people discover a range of new, innovative and interesting products.
Olaf is founder of AWESEM, web design and development agency, specialising in WordPress. One of AWESEM’s key products is Compare - a price comparison theme for WordPress for affiliates and internet entrepreneurs.
Olaf had just returned from his honeymoon and mentioned how tricky it had been to find the right hotel with an infinity pool: which was his one criteria! This led us to explore ways in which we could work together to fill the gap in the market and take advantage of Tradedoubler’s strong presence in the travel sector.
A couple of weeks later www.infinityswimmingpools.co.uk was born! The site provides a definitive guide to the world's most spectacular hotels and villas with infinity pools.
1. The Zoo Project brought your two businesses together to create www.infinityswimmingpools.co.uk. In what other ways has being part of the Zoo Project benefitted your performance marketing ventures since you joined?
We’ve both benefitted from the mentoring and the support. We’ve also been able to network with Tradedoubler staff, fellow Zoo residents and the Dragons. We’ve made new contacts and won new customers – all thanks to being part of the Zoo!
2. Can you tell us a bit about infinitypools’ user base?
We decided to target the high end luxury market as ABTA, the UK travel trade association, predicts strong demand for this type of holiday over the next few years, even despite the downturn. Our customers are looking for luxury resorts with an infinity pool for their holiday or honeymoon, so infinityswimmingpools features only the best four and five star hotels from around the world.
We’ll be closely monitoring search engine rankings, visitor numbers and conversion rates to improve the site and inform future developments. Although we are focusing on the UK market first, we will obviously be considering adapting the site to roll it out to other countries where there will be strong demand in the luxury market in the future.
3. The site is based around a very specific niche within the travel sector, what attracted you to the travel sector this year and do you think that concentrating on a niche is the key to success in a mature market?
We both feel that our chosen niche is a very visual and aspirational topic. From Olaf’s initial problems researching ‘hotels with infinity pools’ when he was booking his own honeymoon, we knew there was a gap. In doing our research we also noticed that blog posts featuring images of stunning swimming pools around the world had high social media ‘shares’ and with the growth of sites such as Pinterest and The Fancy, we felt that bringing together a comprehensive resource of amazing images of infinity pools would be a great ‘catch’ for people thinking about this type of luxury holiday. With such a massive range of choice of holidays available at sites like Expedia, where do you start? We think the way people browse or want their buying choices presented is changing. With the growth in smartphones and tablets, people’s research and browsing is much more image based. In a multi-screen world we think sites like infinityswimmingpools can be seen as a digital equivalent to, for example, picking up a travel brochure from your local travel agent.
4. What marketing strategies have you got planned for the coming months?
Initially we are looking for exposure from luxury travel blogs and newspaper travel sections. We also see wedding magazines and websites as a good fit, as it’s a good way to tap in to the honeymoon market. We have ensured that we have optimized the site for SEO and obviously our aim is to work our way to the top of natural searches for our user base. Our content is designed to attract social media shares and can be used for guest blogs such as the ‘most romantic hotels with infinity pools’.
5. How can advertisers get involved with your site? Do you have tenancy placements available?
Yes, there are various opportunities available. If you’re interested please get in touch.
6. Tell us about your plans in the mobile space – do you plan to have a mobile optimised version of the site or app developed?
As the site uses AWESEM’s Editor WordPress theme – it’s already responsive by design. It will automatically adjust to smartphone, tablet or desk top devices and we don’t think there is a need to create a separate mobile site or app for this project.
7. What do you perceive to be the main targets and challenges for a new performance marketing website to flourish in the travel sector in 2013?
Travel is a very competitive online environment. Travel affiliates will really need to know where the demand is, look out for gaps in the market and be tapping into mobile and social media channels. But, this is a new area for us so time will tell!
We think the challenges are the same for any new performance marketing website. Firstly, it’s such a crowded marketplace that it is very difficult, especially without a large budget, to get any recognition and develop traffic. Also, in a ‘last click wins’ world it’s always going to be difficult competing with large cashback and voucher sites. As sites like Pinterest become more prevalent we hope that consumers will collect images for their inspiration for, for example, something like a honeymoon. We have set up boards on Pinterest for each of the categories and included images of the 100+ hotels that all link back to the site, so as people share and repin images the link back to our site will also be shared. Essentially, the site was fun to set up, a good learning experience and in some ways an experimental site. And it’s very much what we feel the Zoo Project is about: looking for new ways to develop ideas in the performance marketing arena and being given the contacts, expertise and, most importantly, the time to develop these ideas.