Edward A. Cespedes, CEO of Tralliance and .travel, speaks to TravelDailyNews International about the benefits and the developments of “.travel” (dot Travel), the sponsored Top Level Domain (sTLD) for the tourism industry.
TravelDailyNews: What has .travel achieved over the past 4 years?
Edward A. Cespedes: I think that after going through our share of growing pains, we have proven we are a viable, stable, and very useful domain for the travel industry. The proof is in the results. You have to look no further than major destinations all over the world that have adopted .travel. And, consumers are finding these on search engines. Both are very important when noting our achievement of the past years. They show that the domain is specific and relevant.
TDN: How could .travel help change the economic downturn?
E. C.: All global travel and tourism sales begin with finding customers. The fact that .travel sites perform exceptionally well in search engines; makes it possible for more people to find .travel sites. This represents a clear reduction of customer acquisition costs, benefitting travel organizations directly in a time where profits are difficult to find.
TDN: Why should already established and successful travel brands in dot com and other TLDs change to .travel?
E. C.: As you know, we never advise companies to simply drop their established domain names. .travel represents another channel that companies can use to market their products in a very specific way. As companies realize the benefits of the .travel domain, they will transition their marketing accordingly. .travel says what it is. Non established companies don’t have the inertia behind a different domain (years of emails and advertising budgets) and shouldn’t waste time with a TLD that is not specific.
TDN: Are there really important projects, brands, destinations using .travel?
E. C.: Argentina.travel, ElSalvador.travel, Cancun.travel, Poland.travel, PhiladelphiaUSA.travel, Utah.travel, Egypt.travel, Slovakia.travel, SriLanka.travel, BruneiTourism.travel, South Pacific.travel, Promedia.travel, TopDeck.travel, Miki.travel, ClimateSolutions.travel, tiac.travel, ReduceMyFootprint.travel, Earthlung.travel, whl.travel, intheworld.travel, EXPOTUR.travel, Canada.travel and the list goes on. If all of these players on our board, it is clear the industry is moving to .travel.
TDN: There are some that support the opinion that authentication procedure became loose and it should be stricter. What would you reply to them?
E. C.: Authentication hasn’t been loosened. It has been changed. We moved from a policy of restrictive name use to a policy based on website use. It is very difficult for the Registry to determine which entity should own a certain name. For example, who should own MiamiBeaches.travel? Should it be the City of Miami, Miami Beach, Dade County, the CVB, the State of Florida, a travel agency with trips only in Miami Beach, the Delano Hotel?.
Instead, we have shifted our focus away from who has the right to the name. In other words, we care most that MiamiBeaches.travel has content relevant to Miami Beaches that way consumers will always find info relevant to what they are looking for.
TDN: What are your priorities for further development in 2009?
E. C.: Our principal priority is the continual increase of awareness of the domain. We have several plans that are in effect for the up and coming year that remain undisclosed until launch.