Thursday, September 22, 2005

...What does e-Bay and Skype have to do with travel anyway?

Well, one truism of the web is that when certain site functions become reasonably established ( consumer reviews, forums, multimedia content)- consumers expect them on every site they go to. e-Bay's purchase is all about recognising that telephony and the interent work well as merged channels- talking to someone via the internet whilst you are both interacting with a site is useful. For e-Bay, having buyers and sellers talking over the internet makes perfect sense- as well as the potential to increase bid frequency: Being able to telephone in a bid from your mobile- just as you're about to lose that crucial 1973 Blue Peter annual (Noakes, Singleton, Purvis in construction hats)- and have that voice bid logged on the site- has user benefits, and will help e-Bay drive bid prices up, which of course underpins their model.

The potential for IP telephony in travel is huge- where consumers often take responsibility for trip research via a site, and then phone a call centre. If the integrated web/voice becomes an established consumer channel (and e-Bay are a pretty good driver), they'll expect it from travel providers. So keep an eye on IP telephony and its applications.

And let us know if you spot that '73 annual anywhere.

1 comment:

Matchmaker86 said...

100% I agree ebay are no fools (they may have paid a bit much) but they know IP technology is going to play a vital part in the way users will interact in the future. IPTV (internet protocol TV) is also going to be big, with the PC moving from the office into the living room. We will all just have one big pipe that does TV, Voice and data, what out for the 50MB broadband trials in the UK later next year, oh and don’t forget about HDTV (high definition)