A new record price for a domain name could be set this week when a web address that has been described as the “holy grail of the travel industry” goes under the hammer.
The web address could command such a high sum because “holiday” is one of the most searched-for terms online, with 90% of travel companies including it in the top-five keywords searched for by potential customers.
But Brian Sharples, the founder and chief executive of HomeAway site, said last year that his company paid $35m in 2007 for the name VacationRentals.com to ensure it was not bought by travel site Expedia.com.
Farad Laaforce, managing director of auction organisers Breathe Luxury, described holiday.com as a premium domain name.
“Holiday is the main key word in the travel industry. It is only in the United States that people use the term ‘vacation’. People in India and China also use the word holiday, so its potential is massive,” he said.
The domain is being sold by a US company that lacked the resources to fully exploit it, said Laaforce.
A one-word domain name can be valuable because it is easier to remember, said Richard Winslow, head of web hosting services at domain name registration site 123-reg. “Search engines like Google will value that if you have the right content behind it. But you need to have a business plan and to be able to use the name and market it effectively,” he said.
Short domain names are more common in the US than Britain, but B&Q owner Kingfisher has paid an undisclosed sum for the domains diy.com and diy.co.uk.
Simon Press, senior director of World Travel Market, said holiday.com would ensure a very high ranking in search engines for its owner. “This will see it attract a massive amount of interest both from leading travel industry companies and entrepreneurs looking to achieve a major presence in the sector,” he said.
Yet simply buying the domain name was no guarantee of online success, warned Tanasè Rivers, brand manager at online travel agent On the Beach.
“However much it sells for, significant investment would be required for the brand to out rank the major online travel sites, who have already stolen a march,” she said.
The auction on Wednesday will also feature sales of other desirable addresses including journey.com, paradise.com and doha.com, which is expected to sell for a considerable amount because of the World Cup in Qatar in 2022.
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