OnHolidayGroup’s ‘Google Bypass’ Could Change Travel Advertising

British travel firm On Holiday Group (OHG) plans to bypass Google’s expensive advertising plans through a new social media promotion scheme. The company will offer commissions to Facebook and Twitter users in exchange for action-driven purchases – whenever a user’s contact purchases a flight, hotel room, or holiday package through a coded link, they’ll be given a £25 commission.

It’s one of the travel industry’s first consumer-driven affiliate schemes, and it has the potential to forever change the way similar companies operate. The vast majority of travel agencies offer their services using Google’s proprietary Adwords advertising network – a two-part search and content advertising service that charges advertisers based on how many clicks their creatives generate.

The current scheme is quite profitable, both for Google and its myriad advertisers. But with almost seventy percent of each sale commission being eaten up in advertising costs, it’s one that a growing number of travel agents wish to do away with. The Google Bypass Scheme – as it’s been dubbed by OHG – aims to allow users to market holiday products that they are interested in independently.

If the scheme is a success, it could result in a prompt shift in travel industry advertising methods. A total of almost sixty British travel firms have bit the dust in the last twelve months, leading many to believe that the industry’s current marketing methods simply aren’t effective. Google’s current plan is simply too expensive for travel firms, with many facing multi-dollar bids for small commissions.

For those involved in social media, the system could also represent a turning point for an industry that’s long been thought of as fairly worthless for direct sales. OHG are bracing themselves for a major success, and we wish them well. With revenues declining and a number of major firms out of business, it’s this kind of innovation that could potentially save the travel industry.