Archive for July, 2006

Travel 2.0

Posted on July 28, 2006. Filed under: Travel |

C2C Is New Travel Buzz Word

That might well be the case, but the trend is clearly visible. Customers are taking control.  They are enabled like never before and it’s more than blogs, it’s mashups, vertical search, social networking and all the manifestations of Web 2.0, or the Next Net as it is also called.

It comes as no real surprise that these developments would affect travel. It has long been the largest vertical on the web and lends itself to the application of many of the technology developments mentioned earlier. You can blog about cars or DVD players but you’re still not able to build your own, but you can build your own trip.

Of course, this opens up new options for indpendent travel agents by becoming enablers an facilitators, although my own guess is that the majority of those adopting Travel 2.0 will be independent travelers that are in a self design mode. Fascinating to observe how this develops.

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Guess they overpaid!

Posted on July 26, 2006. Filed under: Travel |

Cendant to take $1 bln charge for Travelport sale

Cendant said on Tuesday it expects to record a non-cash impairment charge of more than $1 billion during the second quarter of 2006 related to the sale of Travelport, its travel services division.

and that’s the penalty for buying assets at overvalued prices and then not integrating them fast and determined enough to get the benefit of those often touted synergies from these acquisitions. Ever so often they’re just not there.

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Caveat emptor….

Posted on July 26, 2006. Filed under: Travel |

Too many CIOs fail to ride Web 2.0 wave

Riding on the coattails of Web 2.0 technology are vendors who want your business — and they’re trying all sorts of tactics to get it. But experts warn: Stay away from vendors that promise a Web nirvana in a box.

As always, buyer beware of false 2.0 claims…..

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That's the target audience online travel intermediaries want and need to satisfy

Posted on July 25, 2006. Filed under: Travel |

Branded travel sites not living up to potential?

If they want to continue their growth and more importantly profitable growth, this is exactly the audience they need to attract and establish a relationship based on brand trust. All the major online players have live customer support and need to stress that added value to this group of potential customers vs. lowest price, a no win proposition. With new technology developments allowing more complex travel to be transacted more easily online and in a customer friendly manner, the need for phone intervention should diminish over time with a positive effect on margins. Let’s remember, we’re still in the black rotary phone stage of web development with much more coming onstream that will again transform the way travel is researched, planned and purchased. Travel 2.0 is happening fast and customers are increasingly taking control keeping everyone in the industry on their toes.

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It will, but not in the short term.

Posted on July 24, 2006. Filed under: Travel |

User-generated content transforming Internet travel landscape

Last week’s official debut of Yahoo’s Trip Planner helps fuel the notion that any globe-trotter with an Internet connection can become a guidebook publisher – and it provides more evidence that user-generated content is transforming the Internet travel landscape.

This is certainly a trend worth watching, but as with all the past developments on the web relating to travel, there is a segment of the market that consists of early adopters who have embraced social networking in other areas and now use it in the travel arena. My own guess is that most of them are younger and heavy web users overall.

But let’s not expect that this will mark the demise of guide books and content provided by destinations and suppliers themselves. Like the oft predicted disappearance of travel agents, this is not going to happen. It’s going to have an effect in the medium to longterm but Lonely Planet and Fodors will not go out of business overnight.

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Better late than never!

Posted on July 19, 2006. Filed under: Travel |

Internet Travel News – WTM launches Travolution

It’s amazing to me how long it took for the mainstream of the travel industry and organizers of the old style trade events to finally pay attention to what is happening on the internet. After all, it’s only the most significant development since the industrial revolution. In addition travel has been the largest vertical online since day one. So, what have these people been paying attention to until now, I wonder?

The grand daddy of mammoth travel exhibitions, the ITB, last year was the first to add Travedex, and event dedicated to online travel in a partnership with PhoCusWright, the leader in travel intelligence and trail blazer in the industry having organized the most successful and influential events totally dedicated to online travel since the late ’90s.

Now, it seems WTM has caught up to it. It wouldn’t surprise me, if in a few years time the focus of these events will shift from the hardware focus with ever fancier booths by suppliers and destinations will shift to a software focus that puts the emphasis on technology, social networking, customer participation and all the other Travel 2.0 developments that will change the industry even more radically in the years to come.

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100% Pure Marketing

Posted on July 19, 2006. Filed under: Travel |

Hotel Travel News – Report: Marketing a key role for NZ tourism

New Zealand is one of those destinations that, as the Tourism Minister
states, has to make sure its marketing produces above average results.
This reminds me of the country I was personally involved with,
Switzerland. Both can’t just rely and build on the automatically
generated attention that is created for major tourism destinations such
as France, Italy or the United States. One advantage Switzerland
enjoys, is geographic proximity to its major source markets, with the
exception of Australia, New Zealand’s other markets are a great
distance away. One key strategic element for New Zealand is the unique
combination of natural beauty not found elsewhere. This was reflected
in the very attractive and I think effective 100% Pure campaign.
Another is the cultural history of the country. The correct combination
of assets effectively communicated with smart marketing that cuts
through the clutter and sameness of so much tourism advertising should
bring positive results. In New Zealands case that is most likely a
visitor staying longer in the country and is a higher spending one that
in many other countries. Both are results that many destinations have a
harder time to achieve.

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Easier said than done!

Posted on July 19, 2006. Filed under: Travel |

Top Stories & Trends – Study Says Travel Industry Needs to Build Brand Equity

The results of this research show the difficulty for the online travel industry to work itself out of the trap of being preceived as the provider of lowest price airline tickets and hotel accommodation, with all the negatives of what is a typical commodity market where brand loyalty is absent and the suppliers can directly sell to consumers cheaply on their own sites.

Especially the online travel intermediaries have to move towards establishing strong brands and gain online travel buyer trust. This will not be easy due to the aforementioned low price focus, that the industry has brought on itself since the earliest days of online travel. Most online travelers now expect a Neiman-Marcus experience at Wal-Mart prices and that’s just not possible, even in travel….!

To get that point across is critically important for future profitable growth and success. It requires an improved, fully integrated online research/planning and buying experience for complex vacations. Only with this kind of added value services can brand become a decisive factor and brand trust a reality.

Travel is a complex industry, as many technology focused players are finding out, now that the low hanging fruit of just providing an easy to use booking engine for lowest price air fares and single travel components has been picked. Now, the game gets tough, often to the surprise of Wall Street analysts, who expect ever higher growth rates and margins. There seems to be no clear understanding of the leisure travel industry as a complex, integrated market and the challenges this poses, at least in the near term to many intermediaries to maintain a strong position and move up to the next level in the value chain.

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Storytelling: Escaping the Price War

Posted on July 12, 2006. Filed under: Travel |

Advertising Age has this great article on what should be a no brainer for destinations in their marketing efforts. Every country, state, region or city must have numerous stories that are most likely uniqu to the place and of great interest to prospective visitors.

Such stories should also help avoid destinations from falling into the all too easy trap of “me-too marketing” which is so common. Many destination ads tend to look interchangeable using the pretty pictures. Why not tell an interesting story. I bet, most have a more interesting one than Perrier……

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Not just a vacation but "my” vacation….

Posted on July 12, 2006. Filed under: Travel2.0 |

Editor’s Forum – Why Americans Need a Vacation

YPBR publishes useful research on travel patterns and buying habits of Americans and it’s reassuring for the industry to see that demand for vacations is strong. In terms of how the web is used for travel planning an purchasing, it seems to me the speaker is basing his comments on today and yesterday instead of on what will happen tomorrow.

He correctly states that travelers have learned that the web increasingly lets them to individualize their leisure trip. At the same time the frustration level is high. This is mainly caused by the fact that many of today’s websites are not built to offer a high level of personalization but focus on lowest price offers.

In Travel 2.0, with metasearch and the influence of social networking, more and more sites are allowing travelers to provide their personal feedback easily accessible to others and this information becomes a key tool useful in their own travel planning and personalization.

These developments, and they are coming on fast and in all age groups, will present a new challenge to any intermediary as many suppliers are already in a strong position to leverage their own web presence and tap into the conversation. The latest Sheraton site is only one of many more to tap into this trend.

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