The New York Times (NYSE:NYT) is one of the most well-known news sources available offline and online, attracting nearly 7.5 million people to its website in December 2006. With the launch of the new Travel section, the NYTimes.com entered a partnership with Expedia (NASDAQ:EXPE), making this online agency the exclusive booking engine for the NY Times.
Given the affluent demographic of the NY Times audience, its online travel section is a prime property for Expedia to have struck up a promotional partnership. The travel section attracts just a small slice of the overall pie, however, pulling in 210K visitors per month, or slightly under 3% of NYTimes.com total visitors.
Of the travel section visitors in December, 46K (22%) clicked through as referrals to Expedia.com. Once on the Expedia site, however, booking levels were not as high for the NYTimes referred individuals than the average Expedia.com prospect.
Quite obviously, there are 3 key actions that need to take place in order to make the Expedia–New York Times partnership a promotional success:
1) Effectively channel more NY Times visitors into the travel section
2) Drive more travel section visitors to use the Expedia content module
3) Effectively convert NY Times referrals who land on the Expedia site
Steps 1 and 3 seem to need the most improvement. If acted upon, the relationship between Expedia and the New York Times would evolve into a highly effective lead-generation vehicle.