SM: What is your growth strategy?
CL: Growing a network is pretty straightforward. You build out the sales team and you add more publishers. We plan to continue on these core aspects while establishing more specialization, new products and barriers to entry. We have plenty of room for growth both in publisher audience base (there are 10,000 travel websites out there) and in advertiser share of wallet (we’re not quite at 1% of the $3.2 billion a year in revenue). So there’s no shift in strategy other than going deeper with our publishers, deeper with our advertisers and expanding things on both sides.
On the travel side, we’re seeing a volatile market when it comes to travel spending. Consumer confidence is shrinking and discretionary travel spending tends to shrink with it, but the market is bolstered by the business travel sector and the luxury travel sector.
Eventually the trend is offset by marketers raising their rates to acquire those travelers who are in the market. We saw this in the recession of 2001 and 2002. I don’t anticipate that a down market will impact the travel sector for very long because travel is becoming a lifestyle.
Perhaps the most exciting growth we’re seeing is in the international markets. We expanded in to the United Kingdom just about six months ago and it is already representing a double-digit percentage of our revenue.