CondeNast is moving into the blogosphere

Posted on April 24, 2008. Filed under: Marketing, Social Media, Travel |

according to this TechCrunch post CondeNet Tries To Blogify buying HotelChatter and jaunted from SFO Media.

jaunted-logo.png hotelchatter-logo.png

Looks like an attempt to capitalize on the expanding social media scene that might have led to a decline in traffic to their main site. The two blogs will also give them more media inventory to sell as the article mentions. It’s another move of main stream media in the direction of the social web where the conversation is taking place.

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Predicting flight delays

Posted on April 16, 2008. Filed under: Travel | Tags: , |

is what Delaycast does as explained in the latest issue of Springwise the trend newsletter. Should become a welcome and useful tool for travelers as we head into the summer season.

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On My Way

Posted on April 2, 2008. Filed under: Marketing, Travel | Tags: , |

There is usually not too much positive to write about when it comes to airline travel these days but here is a new service introduced by our neighbors to the north called – Travel Info – On My Way. It offers a whole range of support services in the event of flight delays caused by weather conditions, airport and air traffic delays, which, as we all know, are all too frequent these days. Who knows, maybe one of the U.S. carriers will come up with a similar solution. It wouldn’t be too soon.

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Yahoo Search Casts Lots with Semantic Web Technology

Posted on March 14, 2008. Filed under: Marketing, Search, Travel, Web/Tech |

yahoo.jpgreports MarketingVOX. This is further proof of improved search becoming a reality in the not too distant future and here’s a quote relevant to travel

For example, instead of searching for hotels in Miami and having to sift through results that include hotels, travel vendors and hotel deals, one could query for Miami hotels that allow pets, are five minutes from the beach and cost no more than $150 per night.

It will be interesting to observe how the travel meta-search companies will react to the major searchers offering more relevant results.

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Here’s part of the discussion at the ITB

Posted on March 10, 2008. Filed under: Travel |

Embedded Video

on the topic of journalists vs bloggers which covered a wide range
of opinions expressed by the panel.  Adding to my opinion recorded in
the video, I consider B2B travel blogs a valuable resource for leaders
working in the travel industry, one they should use to keep abreast of
what’s happening now and what will happen tomorrow on the web and how
this will affect their business. As I mentioned, the purpose of this
blog at least, is to add knowledge which, as Ram my fellow panelist
mentioned, is different from information.

B2B bloggers come from different backgrounds that influence their
opinions about travel and the issues the industry faces. This adds a
layer of personal interpretation to the basic information out there one
that creates value. Taken together these opinions and comments, can be
utilized by people in the industry, who are often very focused on their
immediate tasks and challenges facing their companies or organization. 

Bloggers mostly have personal business experience in different
sectors of the industry and that is another key difference between them
and more traditional trade journalists. So the issue is not one of “us
vs. them” but to combine the skill sets of both for an improved overall
result that adds to the overall quality of the world’s largest industry.

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Online travel satisfaction continues to decline

Posted on February 20, 2008. Filed under: Marketing, Travel, Travel2.0 |

this study, the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), released today by the University of Michigan with e-commerce partner ForeSee Results is a wake-up call mostly for the online travel agencies, but if I were a travel supplier I wouldn’t be too pleased about myself either.

It clearly shows that the low hanging fruit in selling travel online have by now all been picked. The pace is picking up as far as innovation and foremost improvement of the buying experience is concerned.

Consumer expectations have been raised by those other online categories, especially retail with companies like Amazon leading the way. The fact that it requires much more complex technology to sell a complete vacation online, especially one tailor made to customer requirements, than selling books, records, DVDs etc. is not relevant to the discussion, a the online shopper doesn’t know or care.

What needs to happen, is a step-up in technology that allows for more personalization and a combination of the various travel tools that are out there but only address part of the total chain in travel research, planning and buying. The whole process has to become seamless and performed on one site, as is the case with online retail. The customer expects no less in travel and as we all know, a successful business depends on satisfying customers.

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The 2008 Trends List

Posted on February 4, 2008. Filed under: Travel |

published by PhoCusWright FYI gives an overview of what developments we can expect in the year ahead of us and how they will affect the travel industry. It’s been an accurate predictor for many years and a worthwhile read and I’m not saying that in my capacity as Senior Destination Marketing Analyst but as a former client who gained valuable insight from the research the company publishes.

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It’s pretty much a no-brainer why!

Posted on January 29, 2008. Filed under: Travel |

Hotelmarketing has a long post on Why “David” Virtuoso can coexist with Goliath “Expedia” which deals anew with the much predicted demise of travel agents proclaimed a few years ago. This, of courses, has not happened as that much hyped demise was never in the cards. What nobody can deny either, is that the number of  travel agents has not only shrunk considerably, but that the “order takers” sitting a a green screen and selling the easiest to sell deal to an uneducated consumer have indeed gone the way of the dodo bird.

That Virtuoso members never were in the latter category is known by pretty much anyone who knows anything about the U.S. travel industry. It might – despite a pretty effective PR machine – not have been a known fact in the public at large and the mainstream media who now use their success as proof that nothing has changed and the equally foolish prediction is being made that the online players like Expedia and Travelocity are history.

What tends to go unreported in this discussion is the fact that any intermediary between customer and supplier that does not add value will most likely disappear in today’s travel 2.0 market with total transparency and a better educated travel consumer than ever before. It doesn’t matter whether you are a “David” or a “Goliath” as in this market size really doesn’t matter.

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Travolution Blog: Autumn Conference

Posted on November 2, 2007. Filed under: Travel |

Can meta search move beyond flights and price? raises a valid question.

Ever since the start of online travel the focus has always been on the lowest price. This was reinforced by most media stories and became the mantra, much to the detriment of online travel agencies, who after all are intermediaries, and need to make profit to survive.

With the introduction of meta search that focus became even stronger, with added transparency making price comparison total.

Paul Furner is right that there needs to be more than price in the equation as otherwise all travel risks to be commoditized even further, as has largely happened with airplane seats, not the least due to their dominant share in the overall online travel market.

What’s disappointing, is that many travelers seem to no longer realize that in travel – as any other product or service – you get what you pay for!

The sooner the developments now starting to be seen on the semantic – or intelligent – web become available for use in travel the better. This type of enhanced data will very likely make meta search better and develop in the direction of adding more evaluation criteria than price.

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Efficiency secrets from Shanghai Airlines

Posted on September 13, 2007. Filed under: Travel |

reported by James Fallows the Shanghai based Atlantic Monthly writer. The most surprising to me is this one about buying tickets online:

Buying tickets is easy – you can walk into the airport and pay in cash, or order online through a unique high-tech/low-tech process I’ll describe some other day.*

* OK, I’ll describe it now. C-Trip is a popular online booking service that covers most of China’s airlines and is faster and easier to use that most US sites. You choose your flight, push “buy now” – and two hours later, a courier shows up at your house or office to hand you your ticket and collect the exact-change fare, in cash.

Interesting. Looks like the Chinese version of an e-ticket is a "c-ticket" as in "courier"…….! I guess the booking fee collected by U.S. online travel agents eliminates this option.

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