I first encountered Travelzoo in 1998 when founder Ralph Bartel was offering three shares of stock in his new company to anyone that opted in for their e-mail deals. This was during those irrationally exuberant days when the Internet was a land grab where the pioneers took arrows in their backs while the settlers took the land. Travelzoo ( an ETS sponsor since 2008) pioneered the travel deals category and today they thrive with a base of 24 million worldwide subscribers and deals are all the rage. We caught up with Shirley Tafoya, President of their North American division, (pictured below)for an update.
Q: What was behind the founding of Travelzoo?
Travelzoo was founded in 1998 by Ralph Bartel and is one of the first deals websites (something people tend not to know with the recent daily deal website boom). Ralph’s frustrations with not being able to find high-quality deals and accurate information online led him to start Travelzoo. Travelzoo employs more than 250 Deal Experts in 24 cities worldwide who research and evaluate thousands of deals each week. Each deal published by Travelzoo is verified by the Test Booking Center® to ensure the information is accurate, the deal is available and easy to book.
Q: How is Travelzoo integrating social media and mobile in your marketing offers?Travelzoo recently launched the free Travelzoo iPhone app where travelers can search, purchase and redeem vouchers direct from their iPhones without having to print them out! We also utilize Facebook, Twitter and You Tube to share relevant deals, deal-hunting tips and other travel-related information with our 24 million subscribers worldwide.
Q: What new initiatives has Travelzoo embarked on this year to remain current with competitors?
Travelzoo focuses on publishing high-quality deals. In addition to launching our iPhone app and social media initiative described earlier, we recently launched Travelzoo Getaways and opened a new office in Austin, Texas. The new office will allow Travelzoo to easily source high-quality deals for the Texas market.
Q: What will you be presenting at ETS? At E-Tourism Summit, we’ll be discussing the ever-changing landscape of the deals market and our Travelzoo fits into the puzzle. We’ll have information on the consumer-buying process and how companies can leverage deals to drive incremental business during key need periods.