Wego launches Australia local site


SYDNEY – With significant growth expected in the Australian online travel market and a 30% increase in Australian traffic since its relaunch from Bezurk in May, Asia’s fastest-growing travel search engine Wego has launched www.wego.com.au.

Australia has become the second-largest market for Singapore-based Wego, and the launch here is the first of a number of localized sites the company will roll out across Asia Pacific.

“Australians are sophisticated online users when it comes to travel, and there is enormous potential here. Growth for the Asia Pacific online travel market has been estimated to hit 50% from 2006 to 2009 and Australia is a key market,” said Wego chief executive officer Martin Symes.

The introduction of a local site in Australia will allow Wego to better serve Australian travelers and offer new opportunities for travel partners. Wego.com.au delivers ready-to-buy, ready-to-travel traffic to partner sites, resulting in a better ROI for partners than generic search engines, said Symes.

Furthermore, Wego’s distribution partnerships with some of the region’s biggest portals (among them Yahoo!, MSN and Lonely Planet, as well as Australia’s news.com.au) give its partners access to millions of people around Asia Pacific and the rest of the world.

“Over a hundred travel sites from all over the world already partner with Wego,” added Symes. “We believe in offering partnerships that are performance-driven. Our partners’ success is our success.”

Travel sites offer a number of advertising options, including sponsored listings, deal listings and display advertising.

A Wego Sydney office has been opened, headed by newly-appointed marketing manager Sam Lindner. Lindner, who has strong online digital marketing experience, was most recently general manager at Neo Digital.

News Digital Media, the digital media arm of Australia-based News Limited has a significant minority stake in Wego, which it acquired in December last year.

“We will be looking to leverage the expertise and market knowledge of News Digital Media across our business in Australia, particularly in a marketing sense,” said Symes.

Wego’s marketing activity will center around a regional ad campaign created by Lowe & Partners Worldwide based on the tag line “Before you go, Wego.” In Australia, the campaign will run in national, metro and regional newspapers, magazines and online. Mediacom has been appointed to handle the media strategy and buying.

The strategy behind the campaign is to demonstrate that where people buy their travel online can make all the difference between getting a good or bad deal – and Wego should be the first port of call.

Public relations and publicity will also be a key element and Wego has appointed Access PR in Australia.