Monday, February 11, 2008

Venere buys beware the vanishing SEO traffic

Seems like you go on holidays and everyone else goes round buying all the SEO players they can find. While the BOOT was in New Zealand counting sheep bought Asian SEO accom player Asia Web Direct and Euro accommodation giant Venere has announced the acquisition of European destination SEO specialist (thanks Hotelmarketing). This is Venere's first acquisition (that we know about)

Details of this deal are:
  • adds 2.5mm registered uses;
  • adds 6,000 properties (adding to Venere's existing 20,000 but there are sure to be overlap);
  • 2008 targeted gross bookings for the group is EUR500mm;
Nothing on the dollars involved. Worldby corporate site says the following about the business:
  • more than 7 million page views a month
  • 100,000 unique reservations a year
  • more than 5,000 Hotels & Resorts All on direct contracts (presumably out of date)
  • Average of 34 large size photos and 10 webpages of descriptions per Hotel (180,000 photographs online, Sept. 2006 figures)
It is the photos, content and resulting SEO traffic that must be the main attraction for Venere as the volume add is not huge and the brand is not anywhere near the strength of Venere. I presume the acquisition model focused on the cost synergies plus improved inventory brought by Venere on top of the "free" SEO traffic of Worldby making the deal cheaper than actually marketing. Makes some sense. But buying a company that is dependent on SEO traffic is a very dangerous activity. The behind the scenes magic that keeps the traffic appearing can disappear unexpectedly, especially once the chief SEO magicians (founders) leave the stage.


Anonymous said...

So are we in the next phase of eyeball accumilation ? are they running out of puff ? has the market started to plateau ?

Tim Hughes said...

So long as the travel boom continues and Wotif, Priceline and others enjoy unbelievable multiples then the this eyeball acquisition-a-thon will continue

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