The hills around the town are full of quaint and expensive inns, bed and breakfasts, antique shops and multi-million dollar homes. Into this bucolic scene, inject a Motel 8 or a Days Inn. There's a chance it could happen.
The phrase "serial entrepreneur" describes Vik Kachoria perfectly. During the past 20 years, Kachoria – who has a degree in physics and math from Boston University and an MBA – has worked in M&A and business development roles. He has also found the time to start two successful technology companies.
His current endeavor, five-year-old Real Adventures, reflects his passion for worldwide travel. It's an award-winning vacation planning portal for a wide range of tastes and prices. From romantic bed-and-breakfasts to luxury vacation rentals, from bungee jumping to safaris, and from Alaska to Zimbabwe, Real Adventures is a comprehensive resource for travelers around the world.
"We're not travel agents or tour operators, and we don't book trips, make reservations or lead tours," says Kachoria. "We help travel companies market their products and services online to a very large and diverse audience of travelers, vacationers and adventure seekers." Working from a small office in Brookline, Mass., he employs a virtual team of eight to solicit and manage paid listings from thousands of businesses featured on the site, and serves over a million monthly page views.
"It was easy to get started. It took just a few minutes to place the ads on my pages."
As a cost-conscious entrepreneur, Kachoria is alert to the relationship between effort and benefit. "Though I've tried banners, links and other ads on the site, I've never focused much on advertising revenue," he says. "First, I don't want to clutter up the site; second, I don't have a dedicated sales force; and third, I never expected the ad revenue from banners and links would be worth the effort."
Kachoria got curious about Google AdSense™ ads when he spotted some on a Czech tourism site. When he learned that AdSense could run ads that closely relate to specific destinations and trips across his site's large number of categories, he decided to give it a try. "Real Adventures has a lot of information, but we don't always have all the answers. What is key for us is making our customers happy. My theory was that if I provided relevant, non-intrusive ads for travel destinations and information, then my site would be a more valuable resource to travelers. And a side benefit, I would generate some ad revenue," says Kachoria.
"At the beginning I was very concerned I might lose traffic to competitors," says Kachoria, who took a cautious approach. Initially he only used AdSense on a limited number of his site's pages. "I watched the stats very carefully. If traffic, pages per visitor or conversion rates dropped I knew I could easily pull the ads," he says.
"It was easy to get started," Kachoria says. "It took just a few minutes to place the ads on my pages." Given his cautious approach, he was eager to see results. "I knew and trusted Google's reputation, but did not know how much I'd get paid," he says. "From the first day, we made a lot more than I had expected."
"Since implementing AdSense, our ad revenue has increased more than tenfold."
"Since implementing AdSense, our ad revenue has increased more than tenfold, compared to past advertising I had tried. And this is without any sales overhead, which in the past didn't leave much profit. Not only is 100 percent of my available inventory sold through AdSense, but it's entirely supplemental income, and significant at that. At last I can focus on our primary business," he says.
Kachoria says volume of traffic and revenue per action – the two most important indicators of how his business is performing – have continued to grow. "Not only are more people coming in," he says, "but two months since implementing AdSense, conversion rates are still increasing. So not only does AdSense provide a revenue stream, but it has helped me help my clients."
When fellow entrepreneurs share their war stories, Kachoria has a bit of advice: "I tell them AdSense is a great way to add a significant revenue stream to your website without cluttering it up, for minimal effort, and doing so with a trusted brand name company."
About Google AdSense
Google AdSense is a program for online businesses, enabling them to earn revenue from serving ads precisely targeted to specific web content and search pages. A broad universe of sites profit from AdSense, with service levels ranging from online sign-up to dedicated support management. Google's thousands of advertisers also benefit from AdSense by gaining exposure on sites across the Google Network, including AOL, Ask Jeeves, Lycos and EarthLink.