30 May 2007

Web 2.0 and the travel industry

When you are usually in a highly saturated and old-fashioned industry expect everything else to be the same.
Travel has undergone phenomenal changes in the last 10 years with the rise of Expedia, Lastminute.com and many other smaller independent companies that drove the massive change in bookings and distribution through the internet.

The big players were very slow to follow and had to buy their way in, to play online, as there was very little they understood and even less they understand today.

This is perhaps the only reason why the online travel industry is lacking still behind in three major areas:

- Content
- User participation
- Imagery

Content seems to be an unwanted commodity in the travel industry. If it wasn't for search marketing the only content available would be the directions to the hotel.
Most businesses borrow content from well known providers such as Lonely Planet.

User participation is also part of the fear factor in the industry. Only recently reviews have been encouraged by certain websites and the rest followed by buying those reviews (Tripadvisor). Such is the lack of initiative on this front by all the major players that the whole industry stinks of a hotel room that hasn't been refurbished for 30 years.

In a heavy cost-cutting environment it is not only the price that is discounted but also the experience.

Endless challenges for the travel boys and girls worldwide and another major revamp of their marketing as Web 2.0 heavily kicks in. How scary must it be that the little guy from Bronx can scream and shout about his crappy hotel visit in Mexico. A few years back he would be banging his head on the industry's wall.

Bring on the margaritas Pablo!

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