Hi Colin, can you introduce yourself to our readers?
Hi, I’m Colin Carter and I’m one of the founders of Weather2Travel.com, an online travel affiliate that helps people decide when and where to go on holiday based on their preferred weather.
Weather2Travel.com is an online research tool that helps people find the right holiday destination for them while sharing deals and discounts from holiday companies, OTAs, airlines and much more to help them get away for less. We also publish authentic tried-and-tested travel content written by expert travel writers to promote destinations around the globe.
Personally, I’ve been working online since 2000 and in travel and affiliate marketing since 2005 and 2006 respectively.
When was Weather2Travel.com created and why?
We started Weather2Travel.com back in 2005 as a B2B company offering climate guides to travel websites. We quickly realised the value in publishing this content online and the benefit to consumers to inform and inspire them when choosing where to go on holiday.
We’ve evolved over the years to offer a wide range of weather-related content and tools along with more commercially focused content around travel products and promotions plus authentic blog content that inspires our readers to travel.
Although we still offer weather and climate data as a service to travel websites, the B2C side of the business now dominates. We also work on partnerships and are always open to new ways of collaborating.
How does Weather2Travel use affiliate marketing?
As a non-transactional website in a world where the internet is free-to-air in the most part, we rely on affiliate marketing along with advertising and direct partnerships to generate revenue.
We sit firmly in the research stage of booking holidays and travel. So we are perfectly placed to promote travel brands at that time when consumers are still deciding where and when they plan to go away.
We utilise affiliate partnerships by intertwining our weather and travel content with more commercial brand information, products and promotions. Because so much of what we do is related to destinations that link between where someone is going to and the travel brands that serve that destination, it’s an ideal space to leverage our affiliate relationships.
What is the best way that an advertiser can help support their partnership with you?
We work with advertisers in many ways, but certainly the closer the relationship the better we can understand their business and they can understand how we can promote their products.
We certainly view ourselves as an online travel business that works with affiliate marketing, rather than an affiliate marketing business that works in the travel sector. So we have a better understanding of the travel industry than more traditional publishers.
Advertisers who are engaged with what we do and are keen to collaborate and push the envelope to provide additional product information and insights are certainly the best type of partners.
What kind of products and deals resonate well with your audience?
We are firmly in the leisure space of travel, so holidays (in all its forms) is the most aligned product to our audience. Planning your next big holiday is a long-winded and time-consuming task. What the weather is likely to be is an important aspect of that decision-making process.
Beyond that, any travel products that relate to leisure travel will be relevant to our readers – from flights and hotels to travel extras such as car hire and airport parking. The key is to understand how each product is researched and booked – which is often different in every case.
How do you see the travel industry evolving over the next year or so?
Well, we seem to move from one crisis to another in the travel industry. We’ve survived years of austerity, terrorist attacks, Brexit (at least for now), major travel company failures and now facing a possible coronavirus pandemic.
It’s almost impossible to know the overall impact of current events, however, one thing for sure is that travel is being disrupted and this is likely to get worse. We certainly expect more travel companies to struggle.
While some destinations will become unavailable, others will be able to take up the slack and benefit in the short term. People are unlikely to change their long term plans to go on holiday, but it may mean they delay their booking.
This means that the “summer lates” market could potentially be vital for many businesses’ survival. It’s a very fast-moving story, so it could drastically change in the next few weeks or months and we will hopefully get more clarity.
It’s difficult to see beyond this at the moment, however, I do believe there are more dramatic changes in the travel industry ahead. How the likes of Google, Facebook and Amazon view opportunities in the travel industry could have a massive effect on all our businesses.
We are moving towards more personalised micro travel products and a need to be more sustainable with our holidays in terms of climate change and our awareness of the social and economic impacts on local communities.
Do you think social media and mobile have an impact in purchasing behaviour, specifically in the travel industry?
Certainly, both mobile technology and social media have growing influences in the travel industry. The use of mobiles to research travel has certainly now overtaken computers, however, in terms of bookings I think it depends on the travel product. People are much more likely to book a hotel room or flight than a big family holiday or cruise on a mobile phone. So quite often holiday research might be done on multiple devices but the holiday booking is still done on a computer.
Social media has become a major player in the research process. People will ask for recommendations, share experiences and of course photos of their travel. The best way for travel companies to plug into this is still evolving as consumers quickly turn off from sales techniques and advertising.
Travel influencers born out of social media platforms have already changed the way that people discover and learn about destinations and products that would have traditionally come from word of mouth, guide books, magazines and the travel brands themselves. I would expect this to evolve even more in the near future.
Do you have any upcoming promotions, new launches or exciting news you would like to share with our readers?
We have some exciting new products coming this year. We’ll be launching some unique research tools and content which should change the face of holiday research. We are also looking at personalisation and how we can align our content to our customers’ needs.
We are always looking to improve and build more strategic partnerships with travel companies. We believe we can mutually benefit from working more closely together to create unique travel products.
Lastly, where and with whom did you spend your last holiday?
A few days in Scotland was my last (so-called holiday) and before that was last summer break in Spain. Not very exotic I’m afraid! In between, I was lucky enough to spend a few days in Antigua for work. Makes me want to do some holiday research right now!