Anyone who has worked in the travel industry or booked a hotel in the last few years would recognise Wotif as no stranger to the online travel market. They have proven it is possible for one online company to change the way traveller’s book accommodation, now it seems they’re set to change how you book a flight!

Rumours circulated that Wotif was expanding its product suite and air travel seemed the most logical next step. The 17th confirmed this with the company launching its latest product WotFlight.com, targeting domestic flights.

The company’s promotion, Qantas Oz Race – allowing consumers to win domestic flights, may prove to be an astute move. The important point is that to increase the benefit of the exposure they will gain over the next several days they are offering a smart way to build their marketing database from day one – not waiting several months when all the initial hype has died down.

The first market they seem to be aiming to corner is a very competitive Google Keyword: ‘cheap flights’. Since Wotif have proven they can be aggressive and win a large portion of the online accommodation market, ‘wot’ established airfare players are they looking to upset?

Google.com.au ranking for ‘Cheap Flights’:

  1. Iwantthatflight.com.au
  2. Cheapflights.com.au
  3. Expedia.com.au
  4. Webject.com.au
  5. Flightcentre.com.au
  6. Jetstar

The first obvious point is that it will take some time for the company to be ranked highly in organic search, so by building up an email marketing database with the Oz Race competition they are better positioned to compete.

The benefit of having multiple websites is that you can use banners to cross-promote your products and support new offerings like WotFlights. They have already starting buying traffic using Google AdWords to support initial bookings and to encourage people to try the new service.
I have noticed that they have been bidding for lower positions in the search results. By using this technique they can better understand the possible search traffic before committing serious amounts of money to an AdWords campaign.

The new website seems a little buggy and slow to respond, has a very natural interface and most of the initial feedback is that people seem to like it and want to use it to book their next flight. With my small test group we found some errors and functions that we would expect to be available but are not yet and obviously there is a bit more work required to make the website more search engine friendly.

The WotIf group are a perfect example of a company that understands user experience wins over flashy corporate websites and will likely cause a large shakeup in the market as it is only a matter of time before they expand worldwide. They are also a company that understands big investment in online marketing can win so if you are in the online air travel market now would be a bad time to be cutting budgets.