Northstar steps into b-to-c with Your Travel Insider

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Northstar Travel Media this month acquired Your Travel Insider, an e-newsletter publisher and direct marketing company that targets consumer travelers. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. The acquisition moves Northstar, a b-to-b media leader in the corporate travel and conferences and conventions sectors, directly into the consumer travel market for the first time. YTI publishes two e-newsletters, Your Travel Insider and Luxury Cruise News, but “it's really more of a direct marketing and content marketing business,” said Tom Cintorino, exec VP-digital media at Northstar. Roy Weiss, who founded YTI in 2003, will serve as group publisher for YTI within Northstar. He brings some 30 years of direct marketing experience and 14 years in online publishing. Under his leadership, YTI has been offering its advertiser clients a host of services beyond banner advertising, including targeted email campaigns, custom newsletters, email and direct marketing consulting, detailed campaign metrics, and database analysis and data mining. Weiss said YTI uses proprietary behavioral targeting capabilities to line up the interests of the travel marketer with people who are planning vacations. “We have ways of determining which people have a high probability of having interest in a specific destination or type of vacation, even if they never expressed it themselves,” he said. “Roy Weiss is a direct marketer who is focused on the b-to-c model of direct marketing,” Cintorino said. “That know-how is outside the model of circulation and Web audience development you would have in a traditional b-to-b media company.” While YTI's two newsletters combined have more than 1 million subscribers, its total database is in the range of 35 million to 40 million records. More important, the YTI team has developed unique capabilities for targeting consumers with the right message at the right time based on their digital behavior, Cintorino said. “YTI provides a foundation [upon which] we can build a consumer travel business that can leverage all the assets of Northstar,” Cintorino said. Those assets include Northstar's relationships with suppliers across the spectrum of travel, from airlines and cruise lines to hotels and resorts, as well as the travel agents served through the Travel Weekly and TravelAge West brands. “In the travel industry, the aisle between b-to-b and b-to-c is very thin,” Cintorino said. “Suppliers work with travel agents, and they work directly with consumers. We now have the opportunity to connect them in new ways that will add value to that supply chain.” Northstar will also be able to provide YTI with a wealth of travel-focused editorial content and expertise; website design and back-end technology; sales and marketing expertise; and lead-generation and marketing services capabilities. Meanwhile, YTI provides Northstar with a valuable entrĂ©e into the consumer travel sector. “Northstar is putting a lot of focus on this area,” Cintorino said. “We had already done a lot of market research and testing. Now, we've made the acquisition of Your Travel Insider. You will be seeing more interesting things coming up.”
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