The focus starts to shift away from price….

Posted on November 15, 2005. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Latest News and Financial Information | Reuters.com. – Travelocity
Latest News and Financial Information | Reuters.com. – Expedia

"It’s about time…!"

These reports from the latest PhoCusWright Conference further signal a shift away from the exclusive focus on lowest price for travel services purchased online. The CEOs of the two major online agencies seem to realize that to remain competitive and keep expanding their marketshares, they need to offer a superior customer experience, combined with added value services to their customers.

In my opinion, this will have to include the sale of packages that go far beyond today’s limited offerings of simple single destination trips with some added local services.

What it will take, is a great online buying experience for dynamically packaged  and priced complete travel, including multi-destination trips. Only by offering this type of  flexibility and freedom of choice  online, using next generation technology, combined with great service enhancements, such as the ones mentioned by the Travelocity CEO, will online travelers see an advantage to use intermediaries vs. shopping for the lowest price for individual components on supplier sites.

It will be interesting to observe, how long it will take for this shift away from pure price focus to take place and what impact a vastly improved online planning and purchasing experience will have on the  traditional tour operator/travel agent landscape that today largely controls this distribution channel and how the online and offline world will converge.

One thing seems clear, the online players with their brand recognition and considerable financial resources to put into both technology and marketing are on the move and the game is on!

 

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