Social media deals publisher specialist Holiday Pirates says it will stick to its tried-and-tested formula and not get into the “vicious circle” of becoming a full-service OTA.
The Berlin-based travel firm does offer some customers a booking service on its website in some of its core German speaking markets.
But chief executive David Armstrong told Phocuswright Europe it was unlikely that a model in which it acts as the merchant of record would be rolled out more broadly.
“That could happen in other countries, but we are not necessarily pushing towards that direction,” he said.
“If it makes sense we will do it, if not, we do not have to. The most important thing is to stay relevant and find these great deals.
“We operate as a lead generator for many brands and they love to work with us to promote their products because they are not addressing social media traffic themselves.”
Armstrong added: “If you are an OTA you find yourself in this vicious circle of throwing money at Google ads and SEM and eventually doing TV ads, and everyone is doing more or less the same.
“It’s not very sustainable. We are looking at the customer retention side. But I do not want to get into that vicious circle. We want to stay innovative in the way we acquire traffic.”
Armstrong said Holiday Pirates, which began life as a blog, has never taken any outside investment but that it may consider it in the future to spur growth.
“At some point that may make sense when you want to grow even faster. We are not there yet, we are growing fast as it is.”
Holiday Pirates is working to diversify its channels with visual platforms like Instagram and chat service like WhatsApp becoming more important.
Armstrong said as these channels update and change their models and tweak their algorithms, in essence they will always want relevant content which people share among their networks.
Asked about what Holiday Pirates considers success, Armstrong said as it grows how it monetises its activity is becoming more of a focus as well as continuing to grow its reach on social.
But he said it was important that the brand does not become to “salesy”. “It’s more like, we have found this great deal, check it out.
“The perception is we do not want to sell you something, but that we have found this great deal and want to share it. That’s the essence of our success, otherwise we would not have got the reach we have.”
Armstrong said today around 25% to 30% of deals Holiday Pirates promotes are advertiser content. “Everything else is what we find,” he added.
“If we find great content it just works. All markets are different…but what they have in common is people love to travel, it’s just a question of where and what exactly triggers them.
“Once you figure that out it’s successful and it works well for us.”