Archive for September, 2005

Online Travel to remain the leader.

Posted on September 20, 2005. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Study: Travel will remain largest online retail category in 2010.

The second decade of eCommerce will be marked by innovations that will make online shopping easier and more engaging. This will boost US online retail sales from $172 billion in 2005 to $329 billion in 2010, according to a new forecast by Forrester Research.

No doubt about that. What is also likely to happen, is that in the online travel space similar innovations to make it much easier to research, plan and purchase online vacations on one travel site – true one-stop-leisure shopping – will contribute to that growth, and more importantly to the profit margins in the industry.

I doubt the near doubling of the market size will be achieved by selling a commodity type product, such as individual trip components on a stand alone basis.

It will be interesting to observe who will introduce the superior customer experience first. Looks like the company in the post immediately below is on its way!

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Important step in the right direction

Posted on September 20, 2005. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Link: Travelocity gets personal.

Travelocity is about to embark on the next phase of personalizing customer touch points with an ad on the site’s home page serving travel deals based on who the visitor actually is.

While this is certainly an important step to improving the online travel buying experience for vacation products, an even more crucial development will be to  let the buyer build his own vacation based on components of individual choice and return a total package price for it – mass customization at its best!

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The demise of travel agents – revisited….!

Posted on September 7, 2005. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Are travel agents to be completely marginalized?.

Consumers’ use of the Internet combined with the airlines no longer paying commissions to travel agencies will continue to cause the travel agent profession to decline over the next decade, and be completely marginalized within the air travel industry.

This study reflects a situation that has been obvious for the past five years or so!

The oft proclaimed demise of travel agents is a recurring story, mostly supported by surveys about the online purchase of  airline tickets. Of course, the internet has already lead to a reduction in the number of travel agents for  obvious economic reasons.  This, however, will not lead to the complete disappearance of travel agents for a long time. What it does mean is  the end of "airline ticket order takers" which, unfortunately, a large number of travel agents became in the "good old days" of the ’90s when airlines still paid commissions for performing that task.

Most of those agents have already disappeared and the remaining ones  are by and large well trained professionals who know how to add value to travel transactions  by using their expertise to be true sellers of travel. Many of them thrive and prosper and increasingly use web based tools to their own advantage. Combined with their knowledge these new tools will keep them competitive, especially in the sales of what is often termed "complex travel" to multiple foreign destinations or specialized travel such as soft adventure or special interest vacations. It will be interesting to observe how this segment develops as new smart technologies will enable both travel agents and consumers to plan, design and book such trips in future online in a much easier fashion than is possible today.

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