How You Can Start The #1 Business Online
Successful businesses are everywhere. Even after the dotcom crash, and the current wave of the economic downturn, some online buddies are making record sales, and are still earning higher profits.
The reason ofcourse, comes from the fact that these smart guys have their successful niches in place. The dotcom industry is not dead. It’s still alive, and people who are working on the right humanized curve are actually making most of the money.
Travel is the #1 business on the Internet. This is primarily the reason why travel sites have sprung up all over the Net.
But it’s not all green — there are some principles to be followed before you even think of starting a travel site.
Let me present you some authentic reports that’ll serve to give you some idea about how large this opportunity is and what kind of growth you can expect in the future in this business.
1. Forrester research predicts that the revenue from the online travel industry will surge to US$ 20.7 billion by the year 2001. An additional US$ 29.5 billion will be added by the year 2003. Travel is one of the most expensive items people do buy online.
2. According to ZDNet, online travel sites are among the most popular and frequently visited sites on the Internet and have been since their arrival in Cyberspace.
3. Datamonitor predicts that the travel industry would account for 35 percent of all online sales by the year 2002. Travel and travel related products will be the single largest category of goods sold over the Internet.
What do you think? Have you started realizing the power and potential of travel sites?
Here’s whats happening…
More and more entrepreneurs and agencies have started specializing in particular niche travel markets, such as adventure travel, travel for the disabled, gay and lesbian travel, golf and religious tours,educational travel, family travel etc.
Expedia at: http://www.nichechallenge.com/expedia/ is the first of the established online travel retailers to bust free from those chains. Its new ESP fare search tool is a major leap forward, and the most meaningful difference to separate the Big Two in years.
http://www.bid4trips.com/ is designed for independent travelers who enjoy MILD to WILD vacations. Travelers can bid on trips by destination, type of trip and places to stay. Auction items offered will include eco-experiences, adventure travel, bed & breakfast accommodations and luxury resorts.
Travelocity at: http://www.nichechallenge.com/travelocity/ is one of the most powerful one-stop travel sites on the Internet providing secure online reservation capabilities for air, car, hotel and vacation reservations, plus access to a vast database of destination and other travel information.
These successful sites are not built over night. The owners of these mega successful niche sites actually had to come down at the grass root level in finding the perfect niche for their respective businesses.
Okay, you now have some fact and figures..
Now the question remains… how you can start the #1 business online? What are the steps to be taken? And why should you think seriously about starting a travel business even if you have a shoe string budget? WHY?
For those of you who are looking for perfect ebusiness, with a solid online income, this is where the real opportunity lies. And even if you have an existing online business, you should seriously consider diversifying your portfolio into the niche travel business.
Mark my words… this area IS, and WILL remain *red hot* over the next couple of years. There are some good reasons for this. One of the critical success factors is that travel is a big-ticket product that consumers enjoy researching and spending their disposable income on (and we’re only talking personal travel here). People enjoy researching destinations, accommodations, and arrangements in their free time.
The Web has enabled consumers to research their trips at the time they choose rather than waiting on the phone with call centers and travel agents during the workday when there is very little time for it.
According to the recent survey by a notable research firm cPulse http://www.cPulse.com, 42 percent of visitors to Web travel sites are very likely to return and another 25 percent are extremely satisfied. At entertainment sites, 36 percent are likely to return, and 19 percent are extremely satisfied.
But travelers are tired of impersonal meagsites that provide shallow content on a wide array of topics, and are now flocking to niche travel sites in increasing numbers. Keeping in view this smooth and steady trend towards smaller niches, large travel sites such as http://www.gorp.com and a few more have shifted their focus towards smaller sub-niches like families, jobs, food, disabled etc.
The number of new users to niche travel sites increased 82 percent in Q3 2000 compared to Q3 1999. Imagine where this industry is heading!
Here are some nice niche travel site URLs:
To become a member of this exciting, and rewarding area, you must narrowly identify and decide what segment, or group of travelers you want to serve. This can easily be done based on your personal interest, knowledge or some research in a particular travel-related area.
For example, lets suppose you spent 4 years in Swat, NWFP Pakistan, on an official assignment.
—— Side Bar ——–
Swat is a heavenly beautiful place full of natural sceneries and landscapes at 3500 feet above the earth surface, where weather remains delightful for most part of the year. Right now, it will be warm sunny days, with big white clouds drifting across the hills.
—–Side Bar Ends —–
…But you’re a New Zealander who stayed there, and are well aware of it’s people, customs, locations and tourist resorts. Now since you have the insider information about this wonderful piece of land, you can bundle it in a unique travel program in your local area by focusing a group of people who might enjoy the tour.
How about offering educational tours for people interested in learning new culture or languages in the sub-continent. And who also would enjoy sightseeing and love nature’s wonderful tropical creations.
Bear in mind, your niche travel site should be sharply focused on a single small community of people no matter what anybody tells you. Later you can always diversify it into sub-niche, or you can come up with an entirely different niche.
It Has Been Said, “Everyone gets in a rut… a perfectionist moves in”
Keeping in view your selected niche, i.e., educational tours for people interested in learning new culture or languages in the sub-continent, your primary pre-requisites for your niche travel site should include:
1. Accurate travel information
2. Useful content
1. Accurate Travel Information
Consumers perceive the information they get from niche travel sites to be accurate. Therefore, you must provide information that’s authentic, accurate and easily accessible.
2. Useful Content
Useful content offerings should come as no surprise because smaller, more focused sites don’t have to serve a wide spectrum of consumer needs.
Naturally you need to provide content more useful to the users than a site serving a mass audience. You can provide advice, personal recommendations, anecdotes, stories, testimonials, humor and other related stuff.
The trick, however, for your niche travel site is to turn customers happy with the content into business success. Plus, applying a personal touch to interactions with
consumers can dramatically improve the entire perception of your product and service.
Plus, there’s something interesting happening on the travel scene. Research from cPulse has shown that the attention niche sites are enjoying could encourage larger travel sites which are continually looking to improve their competitive position and bottom line — to seek partnership with the smaller sites and eventually to acquire them.
With the increasing popularity of electronic tickets, nothing needs to be shipped. Prices are always different, so tickets take advantage of the Internet’s strength as
a research tool.
So if you’re planning to start the #1 business online, my advice is to go and look for unique niche areas. Don’t try to start yet another over-filled niche travel site like
family travel, or honey moon travel etc. Rather create your own model, and go for something that people would really want from you. Something that they should take seriously and don’t mind paying extra money for your unique value-added travel-related services.
Amin Khan of http://www.NicheChallenge.com is the active soul for helping you develop a successful niche based business. Subscribe his FREE ezine ‘The LASER’ to join the select group of pros who are driving the Net for success. Send a blank email to: majordomo@NicheChallenge.com with the word “subscribe laser” (without quotes) in the body of your email.