Travel sites focus on conversion, as competition is set to heat up

Posted on August 27, 2007. Filed under: Travel |

this latest study done in the UK says. I find the title misleading, as the word “should” is missing. As in “travel sites should” focus on conversion, which I don’t see thm actually doing. If they did, more of the tools generally described under the web 2.0 label for lack of a better term, would be seen on the major travel player’s websites.

The figures in this report pretty much mirror what’s been reported elsewhere in the past few months about the market, both in the UK, Europe and the U.S. In general, the public is using the web as the major travel research and planning tool and a great many want to use it also for booking. The reason they don’t actually book there is due to a still very often disappointing customer experience. As long as that is the case, I doubt that the players are actually focusing on conversion but rather on attracting traffic.

What the online traveler actually doesn’t need are dozens more new websites offering the latest cool web 2.0 inspired tools but only offering one part of the online travel buying experience. What’s the use of a great hotel video website when the booking then has to take place on another site and the air booking on another one still, and then comes the car rental or train ticket and the dinner reservation, and it goes on and on – all on different sites!

No, what’s needed for conversion to increase is a new and improved, comprehensive, one-stop shopping experience for the entire travel product. At the risk of repeating myself, as I’ve said this so many times in the past, a true dynamic packaging, multiple-component, multi-destination planning, research and buying experience is what customers deserve and want, although I haven’t seen them  describing this in any major study yet.

Eventually this will happen over the next few years, as the technology keeps evolving, with data talking to data and intelligent agents doing the hard work in the background, resulting in less work by users at the front end. The age of the semantic, or intelligent web then becomes a reality. Some will call it web 3.0, which doesn’t matter as long as the reality is what brings better business results.

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5 Responses to “Travel sites focus on conversion, as competition is set to heat up”

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You are right! What I focus on with my project HOLIDAYS-SWITZERLAND.CH is to show interested people pictures of Swiss destinations in hight resolution what I sometimes miss at other websites.

I think many people still prefer to book their jurney in a travel-office with a professional advice, after they informed themselfes thrugh the internet. It’ll also be a question of money: Online-booking will be cheaper then booking in a traveloffice but mostly elder people will prefer this way I can imagine.

Yours

Markus Müller

From a technologist’s perspective, in order to reach that point of consolidated bookings, we need more web services offered by the various suppliers. The key issues are control of the distribution of product and the complexity of pricing. If the systems are there and they are affordable enough for small suppliers and simple enough to integrate together by innovative developers, then new services could be built at relatively low cost that provide an all in one booking experience.

Stephen,

Yes, I know. That’s exactly the challenge as none of this is reality today and I personally doubt the technology for these systems will be affordable for small suppliers.

Joe

Markus,

A majority of travel bookings will be done online in the U.S. this year. The web has evolved as a tool that goes beyond collecting information and then go offline for a booking that was the reality in the late ’90s at the beginning. Where this is still true, is in the complex travel market, which is what I covered in my post.

As for high resolution photography, this is certainly useful – as is increasingly video – but it has to be available where the eyeballs are, in places like YouTube and Flickr and so on.

Joe

Looking at the scenario as a traveler, It would be very interesting to see a revolutionized way of booking a travel. As you said it, ‘one-stop shop’ for the entire travel product. This will definitely be a click to most, if not all, travelers as they will spend lesser time, money and effort to arrange for their trips. Personally, I am very excited to see it happening very, very soon!


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