Is Holiday.com the Holy Grail for the Travel Industry?

When a well-known Internet domain name becomes available for purchase, people take notice. That’s certainly the case this fall, with what some are calling the “Holy Grail” for the travel industry hitting the auction block. On Nov. 5, U.K.-based Breathe Luxury Limited will be auctioning the domain name Holiday.com at World Travel Market (WTM).

Jag Singh, domain broker and consultant for Breathe Luxury, points out that the word “holiday” is short, memorable, and globally recognized. That makes it especially desirable from a marketing viewpoint.

“As holiday is a dictionary keyword, it’s extremely rare to see a domain name like Holiday.com come up in the domain aftermarket,” he says. “Travel companies are forced to rebrand their online business due to the fact that the domain they really want is not available to best describe their business. Holiday is a key domain name for holidaymakers worldwide, and it’s highly unlikely we will see Holiday.com up for sale again after our auction.”

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Singh says a number of prospective buyers have preregistered for the auction, and interest has been expressed from some of the major travel companies across the globe.

While others might speculate on how much the sale might bring, Singh declines to make a prediction.

“No one really knows, as this is a truly a first in the domain name aftermarket,” he says. “We are confident that World Travel Market is the best platform for Holiday.com to go under the hammer, as this is the leading event for the travel industry.”

Bill Sweetman, president of Name Ninja, a domain name consulting firm based in Toronto, notes that the true value of any domain name will be determined at the point a buyer steps up and actually buys it.

“Holiday.com is the best possible domain name to build a ‘holiday’ brand and business around,” he says. “It defines the holiday category better than any other domain name could, although a domain like Vacation.com is likely its biggest domain competitor.”

Sweetman adds that English language, one-word .com domain names that are related to a popular business vertical typically sell in the $100,000 to $500,000 price range, but there have been historical sales above that range.

“Domain names are your business address on the Internet, and for many companies, they are the primary retail location and the first impression an online consumer may have of your company,” Sweetman says. Owning the exact-match .com domain that defines a business or market readily projects that company as a leader in the field, he adds.

“It saves you money on marketing because the domain name is so memorable,” he says. “You get instant traffic from people that type the domain name into their Web browser all day long, and it helps you with your search engine ranking.”

Sweetman cites Hotels.com as a top example of a category-defining domain name.

“What says, ‘We’re all about hotels’ better than hotels.com?” he asks. “Some other category-defining domains in the travel vertical are Trip.com, Fly.com, Timeshares.com, SkiRentals.com, and AutoRental.com.

“The right ultra-premium domain name can bring a company more respect, more traffic, more customers, and ultimately more revenue,” he continues. An investment of $100,000 in a domain name could conceivably bring 10 times that amount of revenue into a company over its lifetime, Sweetman notes.

“A great domain name should be seen primarily as a marketing investment and a crucial business asset that has the power to transform a company and how it is perceived by its prospects and customers,” he says. “Having a great domain name won’t guarantee that a company will be successful, but it will certainly make that journey easier.”

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