Archive for November, 2006

A worthwhile goal

Posted on November 27, 2006. Filed under: Tourism |

Improving the U.S. Image Abroad

I applaud any initiative in this directon and can only wish the travel industry the best of luck. Based on past experience with Switzerland I know this is an enormous task. That country which by an large has a very positive image abroad, came under criticism in the past from visitors entering by car for the unfriendly manner they were treated at the border. The toughest group to educate on the necessity of not only a friendly approach but clear information, are the immigration officials. Their entire mindset from initial training on is to be suspicious and alert to anything negative. Most of them do not consider themselves part of the tourism industry but rather the defense establishment. Keep the bad guys out is their mantra, not be welcome to visitors because they are good for the economy.

It is one thing to get message across to people in the industry and maybe even cab drivers but the immigration and security staff are a major challenge.

 
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Not surprising, but….

Posted on November 25, 2006. Filed under: Tourism |

Over 50% of Vacations Now Planned Online

it begs these questions:
– what kind of site does that planning process start?
– what happens on that site to move the traveler along the path from planning to booking?
– how many more sites need to be visited until the trip is booked?

My guess is that if the planning starts on a destination site – which is very likely based on destination name searches – most travelers will find a wide range of information, probably more than they need, but will in most cases not be able to book the entire trip on that site.

That, in opinion, is a lost opportunity for DMO to generate much needed revenue for themselves and for their local suppliers. With the right kind of combination of information content – of course, including the user generated kind – and booking functionality one stop shopping could become a reality. Compare this to today’s situation where all this stuff is somewhere on the web on many different sites and often requires hours of "work". Granted, researching, planning and dreaming about a future vacation is more fun than many other online activities, but the process should become much more interactive and integrated to raise it to the level of fun it could truly be.

 
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Looks like putting up a brave front to me

Posted on November 22, 2006. Filed under: Travel |

Travelport relies on diversity to compete

after having overpaid for acquisitions to the tune of about $ 1.2 billion they sure face giant hangover and maybe this is the strategy to go but the jury is definitely still out. They are a typical intermediary albeit one with long supplier relationships, especially Gulliver’s, but still a company in the middle with suppliers gaining the upper hand.

It will be interesting to follow their progress, especially abroad and in the direction of selling complex travel which is where the margins are for the OTAs.

 
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And growth continues in online travel too….

Posted on November 21, 2006. Filed under: Travel |

U.S. Non-Travel E-Commerce Spending By Consumers Increased 23 Percent in Q3 2006

Although the travel category shows lower growth figures than others, it comes from a much larger base as it remains by far the largest single category online and will continue to be for quite a long time. In 2006 total sales will exceed $ 70 billion and should hit the $ 100 billion mark in 2010. Quite spectacular when only in 1995 it was zero!

 
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It’s a sure thing.

Posted on November 20, 2006. Filed under: Travel |

Nonstop Growth for Online Travel

This prediction doesn’t surprise me at all. We can argue about the exact number five years out, but the fact remains that travel is moving inexorably online, even if growth rates might slow down. With more innovation coming at an ever faster speed it’s a trend that will not be reversed. In terms of revolutionary user experience we haven’t really seen what’s possible. Even Travel 2.0 is only a next step in what will happen in five, ten years from now. The semantic web, artificial intelligence and nano-technology will all have an impact on how travel is researched and booked. I’ve often used this analogy: Compared to the development of telephony, we’re today about where we were back in the days of black rotary phones…..! Agree?

 
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Another interesting technology is offered by

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

Cadabra a New Zealand based company. Targeted at tour operators for selling complex products, I got the impression that their functionality would be well suited as an integrated planning tool on DMO sites. It allows map based online planning and customization of trips than then can be booked as well. A demo of the product can be found here.

 
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More stuff from the PhoCusWright Conference

Posted on November 19, 2006. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Tech~Surf~Blog

is where you can find more interesting comments about last week’s conference and some of the interesting presenters. Very revealing is Graeme’s comment about how "with-it" the travel space is when it comes to Web 2.0, especially considering he is a tech blogger.

 
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More stuff from the PhoCusWright Conference

Posted on November 19, 2006. Filed under: Travel2.0 |

Tech~Surf~Blog

is where you can find more interesting comments about last week’s conference and some of the interesting presenters. Very revealing is Graeme’s comment about how "with-it" the travel space is when it comes to Web 2.0, especially considering he is a tech blogger.

 
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Why not integrate this into your DMO site?

Posted on November 18, 2006. Filed under: Travel2.0 |

Viator.com relaunches with Web 2.0 features

One of the best presentations at the recent PhoCusWright Executive Conference was by Rod Cuthbert the CEO of Viator. His company has managed to make all those important elements of a vacation bookable in advance. But what impressed me most is his company’s take on travel, namely that visitors want to be travelers rather than tourists. This simply means they want to experience a destination as insiders. DMOs by and large share this philosophy and many take this approach in their marketing.

This begs the question why they don’t integrate a booking functionality on their sites for the kinds of products that Viator offers? After all they can get all the relevant information on the DMO site, so why not take the next step and capture that business. I’ve encouraged Viator to look at DMOs as a future business source and am curious to follow the progress of what I consider to be a winning relationship with great customer benefit.

 
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PhoCusWright’s Executive Conference and some thoughts on DMOs……

Posted on November 17, 2006. Filed under: Tourism, Travel2.0 |

Another PhoCusWright Executive Conference is history and what an experience it was. In keeping with the them of “Travel 2.0 confronts the Establishment”, this truly was a 2.0 conference in terms of innovation in structure and staging. From everywhere in the entire conference area, including the trade show floor, and terrace for laptop users the more than 800 attendees could follow all presentations not only visually on screens but verbally by using the portable audio devices. Questions could be asked by SMS, e-Mail too for the timid who don’t want to raise their hand.

The level of participants, the content, the excitement, the buzz and the very high production values combined to make this the best ever in what is now an event with a twelve hear history. There is no comparison with others in the travel industry. As always,well staged and managed with the punctuality of a Swiss train schedule by the folks at PhoCusWright. Congrats!

All the major industry players were on hand including venture capitalists, financial analysts, the searchers and meta-searchers….In brief presentations, a select number of entrepreneurs were given the opportunity to present their innovative new web 2.0 ventures to the audience. Two of the more interesting new networking and collaboration tools are Plum who’s tag line is “you google, and then what?” very relevant to future online travel planning and a similar play Gusto concentrating on travel.

Conspicuous by their absence were, once again I might add, the DMOs. Granted there were a handful and the Canadian presence was larger than that of the U.S. No major city CVB, nor state office and hardly any foreign offices, except from Denmark and Ireland, were present.

It continues to puzzle me how so many of these organizations ignore an event recognized as the leading one in the travel industry focused on the future and fail to take advantage of the opportunities to see what the latest developments are that will have an impact on their role in the marketplace and let’s be quite frank about it, their future relevance.

Many DMOs complain about the problems they face to be taken seriously as professionals or to get adequate funding to remain active. Why then, are they so reluctant to seek outside strategic advice and engage people who are able to keep them on the leading edge of what’s going on in the online marketspace where today customers are making the decisions affecting their destinations?

 

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