From the Middle East to Asia: Growing Direct Bookings by Working With Influencers

How one Middle East-based operator has excelled in growing their direct bookings by leaning into influencer marketing, and is now expanding into Asia

Reading Time: 2 minutes 15 seconds

Recently at Arival 360 | Berlin 2023 I sat down with Yaron Burgin, owner and co-founder of Abraham Hostels & Tours. 

We discussed the balance between direct bookings and distribution channels, working with influencers to expand direct bookings, the state of pandemic recovery and expanding from the Middle East to Southeast Asia.

Burgin reveals that about 70 percent of his bookings are direct, which he credits in part to his company’s emphasis on affiliate marketing and working with influencers. 

Working With Influencers to Grow Your Brand

“Working with influencers is a great way to expand and expose your brand overseas,” shares Burgin. Abraham Tours invites influencers to come, stay and experience their tours for free. “In return basically what you are getting is SEO,” explains Burgin. “It’s great, high quality SEO and in many cases it’s also cheaper than hiring a company to do SEO.” 

“Besides that you meet great people, they are experienced travelers and they give you great feedback on what you are doing.”

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One of the keys to an effective influencer marketing strategy is a long-term focus, according to Burgin. “Don’t expect a travel blogger or influencer to come and the next week get a lot of bookings,” he says. It doesn’t work like that, “it’s a long term process, it’s building your brand, it’s another form of PR.”

Burgin doesn’t discount the importance of working with distribution channels such as online travel agencies, though. “We are working with OTAs, in order to grow you need both. You need to grow direct and you need to grow with OTAs and other agents.”

Expanding Into Asia Pacific

As Abraham Tours grows, they are expanding beyond the Middle East, having recently expanded to Egypt and the Philippines. “There was an opportunity and we seized it,” he shares. “We believe that bringing the essence of Abraham Tours experiences is something that will be valuable for travelers in Asia.”

Watch the full interview here:

Abraham Tours owner & co-founder Yaron Burgin discusses direct bookings, influencer marketing and expanding to Asia with Arival editor Janelle Visser at Arival 360 | Berlin 2023

Learn more at Arival | Activate Bangkok 2023

Join us in Bangkok in June 2023 where together we’ll learn more about working with influencers to increase direct bookings and mastering the OTA relationship with a special focus on the Asia Pacific. 

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