Testing Travels.com on Booking.com

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screen-shot-2017-01-10-at-9-13-19-amI am clearly biased, but I think Travels.com is a great travel domain name. I also think a well funded startup or a major travel company will acquire Travels.com for quite a bit of money some day. It’s the reason I passed on a low 6 figure offer this past July, and I am steadfast in that belief.

In the meantime, I decided to try something besides parking Travels.com. If you visit Travels.com right now, you can see that it is a hotel booking site powered by Booking.com. Essentially, Booking.com does everything with a Travels.com logo.

Travels.com gets thousands of visits a month and makes a decent chunk of pay per click revenue. It also gets quite a few offers and inquiries. I am willing to forego this PPC revenue while I test this Booking.com affiliate page. My thought is that a couple of hotel reservations a month will likely produce more revenue than pay per click advertising. We shall see.

The downside risk is that it is not obvious that the domain name is available and for sale. I presume an entity that wants this domain name badly enough to pay what it is worth will know how to contact me or use an intermediary that knows how to get in touch.

To be totally upfront, I doubt I will share any financial information as it relates to this test. I have no idea if that is even allowed, but there is no incentive for me to share it even if it is allowed. However, I thought I would share that I am testing this to show that there are many monetization options available for people whose domain names get traffic. If you check out Travels.com in a few months and see a parked page, you can make your own assumption about the test.

I am hopeful that this test will yield positive results. If it doesn’t work out, I can easily shift it back to the PPC page.

37 COMMENTS

    • Sharing an alternative monetization option others might not know about.

      I am sure your time is valuable, so I am very sorry you had to waste it on a comment within a lame blog post like this.

    • Yeah, Elliot. So there! “Anyone with guys will agree.” I’m not sure if I have guys or not. Is that a new strain of the flu virus?

      If these trolls don’t want to fully sign their post, I personally wouldn’t publish their crap. My immediate reaction to the post was, “I appreciate the reminder to think creatively about monetization when holding a domain.”

      Thanks for all you share, Elliot. It’s always helpful to me.

  1. Hard to let that amount of traffic go to parking etc.

    Isn’t it called “white lable” or “co-branded” affiliate sites?

    Good luck with your experiment.

  2. I can tell from owning both Traveler.com and Room.com that you will make nominal reservations from a site that has no unique content and uses an API from another site like Priceline or Booking. Room.com does this and it does not compare to Traveler.com which has content.

    These days you have to invest time and energy in a name like Travels.com to make it worthwhile for people to spend money there. Visitors have so many other options. Its an over saturated market on a big-ticket vertical.

    You may find your best option is to wait for the right price. Things are looking up for new businesses in the new year and there should be many more offers coming you way. Good luck.

  3. Good luck with this Elliot. I know this area and your going to make 3-5x of what ppc could of. I guaranty this will do better. What people don’t get is that your getting people to your site which normally costs about 2.00 a click for the term hotels, travel etc in google. If your getting say 1000 hits a month your going to be making about $ 800 a month per 1k hits. With a traditional PPC it is about $200 a month but that will vary with parking company and keyword. The majority of this traffic will come from the UK because that is what they use that term for when they travel.

    I have always said if you have the right name go direct with affiliate program.

    It is a general keyword so I would for sure test it out with Trivago if booking does not pan out as they have more hotels to choose from but less commission. so it could be a wash.

    The thing with travel/hotel sites is that you must have patience as you don’t get paid until they stay at the hotel then it takes about 30 days after.

    This is name is worth over 100k easy, not sure why anyone would say it is not. Intrinsic value of the name plus revenue probably puts this name in the 400k-500k area. I would never sell this name it is going to be a cash cow for a long time like 2500 to 3k per month. Summer time is when the hits explode. $$$

    Donny:)

  4. All the feedback is appreciated. IMO, in terms of revenue, it goes like this:

    1) Full blown developed brand
    2) Website with affiliate feeds
    3) White label affiliate website
    4) PPC

    I am starting off slowly to see how an inexpensive option will compare to PPC. If it is successful, I can decide whether to invest in content and other features to go along with the affiliate feeds. If nobody books any hotel rooms, I can either go back to PPC or think that people are looking for airfare or vacation packages and try again.

    The revenue risk is relatively small with a test like this, and it can give me a decent amount of insight.

  5. Seven figure name. A good in to that competitive segment.
    Would actively market it as for sale myself.
    Maybe this move will bring it to Booking.com attention 🙂

  6. Did try Expedia API once on a domain name. The domain went from 1sp page to 10th very quickly in Google search. No revenue was generated. Waste of time. Your best bet is to create your own content site, approach a company that needs traffic and willing to pay some money for their placement on your site. Build up and wait for a buyer for your site to come along. There will be other big players that want to start a travel site. You need to prove that money is well spent on your domain name rather than money spent marketing some goofy name like Trivago.

  7. Not that you care:

    If I was helping you “stage” Travels.com, and you were adamant about using a white-label, I wouldn’t forward all traffic to one white-label partner. I suggest you rotate partners or build a meta/aggregator (all in one page with multiple lead gen & affiliate partners together). This allows you to test your traffic against varying landers/affiliates – but it goes deeper than that: You do NOT want anyone else to have access to your traffic data: stats, conversion ratios, sources, etc as it can be used against you in the future to hinder a sale. If I was staging it for you, I’d go a completely different route than leadgen/aff.

    If I was helping you find a buyer, I’d ask you to stop discussing that this is a 6 figure domain. Why put a needless cap on your domain’s potential? Perhaps, you’re trying to seed that price point into a suitors mind, but you are closing the door to maximum returns. Of course if you’d be happy with 6 figures, that’s not a problem, but if you sold it for 6 figures and then found out the buyer was a billion dollar giant and they had already earmarked 7 figures for the acquisition – what then?

    Granted – TRAVELS.com is not TRAVEL.com (in my opinion, an achievable 8 figure domain sale at mid-high range, undeveloped), but TRAVELS.com should command a mid-high 7 figures if you had someone relentlessly grinding everyday. You may even touch 8 figures, if you position the deal correctly.

    Though I can’t guarantee TRAVELS.com would sell for 7 figures, I guarantee you won’t get 7 if you are asking for 6.

    But no matter what anyone says, it is an amazing domain name – worthy of being the flagship in your portfolio. Well done!

  8. I bet if I knew exact traffic stats and used my ole conversion probability calculator I could get awful close to what you’d see. Each industry is different but I would imagine you under stand Every 1000 uv may generate X lead(s) for X affiliate pay.

    What is the affiliate deal like? Hope you see several thousand uvs a month and any referrals 🙂

  9. I bet if I knew exact traffic stats and used my ole conversion probability calculator I could get awful close to what you’d see. Each industry is different but I would imagine you under stand Every 1000 uv may generate X lead(s) for X affiliate pay.

    What is the affiliate deal like? Hope you see several thousand uvs a month and many referrals 🙂

  10. Okay, folks, here are the facts of life:

    Travel.com is worth 8 figures. 7 would be a bargain price.

    Travels.com is worth 7 figures. 6 would be a bargain price.

    Any questions?

    • OK, question.

      I will concede travel.com 7 figures+ no doubt.

      Now justify travels.com at anything greater than $XXXk.

      If you are talking about basing it on revenue, traffic, hard numbers I bet you have a hard time, no impossible JOhn, never see 7 figs based on numbers. Unless you have either an end user with a great business plan and seed money or a buy by travel.com for the sake of it, not going to see 7 figs.

      Furthermore no one in their right mind would pay big 6 figs considering travel.com exists.

      jmo

    • I didn’t ask for anyone’s opinion on the value of Travels.com and I have no interest in discussing, debating, or having people “justify” a valuation that means nothing when the domain name is not even on the market.

  11. A suggestion to the commenters… Like seeing the input, but generally skip over the unsigned comments. Good discourse relies on source credibility. For those who share the facts, would you mind fully signing your name, along with your email and site? One of the hallmarks of this industry is the generous spirit of folks helping each other. Be brave and identify yourself. Thx.

  12. I do something similar with CreditRepairCenter.com, which had made $10 per month, on average, from a PPC landing page. Now, I forward CreditRepairCenter.com to CreditRepair.com as an affiliate, with tracking tag and tracking toll free number. Every two months or so when I check my P.O. Box, there’s a check for $75 from CreditRepair.com waiting for me, usually for a transaction that occurred two months prior. Sometimes the consumer filled out the form, sometimes the consumer called the phone number. In 12 months, that’s $450 per year, on average. It’s not much, mind you, but it’s profitable with better performance than the old PPC landing page.

    I do the same thing with FreeCreditAnalyzer.com, which gets higher monthly traffic volume than CreditRepairCenter.com, but has resulted in zero mailbox checks.

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