Friday, March 10, 2006

A sharp intake of what's next?

At the coalface, you might say, during the Comtec e-commerce forum at the National Motorcycle Museum in Birmingham.

A Travolution-chaired discussion panel, featuring the likes of Yahoo! Search Marketing, AdPrecision, Cosmos, Hotelconnect and the host Comtec, through up some interesting points.

All was going well with the debates, covering search, the general state of the industry, email marketing and the increasingly murky boundaries between what constitutes a tour operator and travel agent (“because we’re often doing the same thing these days,” said one delegate).

But throw the dreaded “Internet 2.0” into the equation again and, yes, you’ve guessed it, rows of blank faces appeared within the audience.

[Read previous Blog entry]

It’s hard not to feel some degree of sympathy for the average travel business that has spent – more often that not – vast sums of money getting itself online in the first place and functioning well, only to be confronted with what is coming round the corner.

As Ed Whiting, Comtec’s product director, suggested to the delegates: Internet 2.0 is a pretty loose term in some respects and some parts of what the IT eggheads call “the future” have actually been around for a few years already.

Perhaps this allayed the fears of some delegates, concerned about being left behind by some crazy new development in the online world.

It’s very easy to peer into a crystal ball and forecast where online travel will be in terms of technological developments in the coming years, but there is still a large part of the industry getting to grips with search engine optimisation and dynamic booking facilities.

Forget video-casting, consumer interaction and travblogs for time being… One delegate said confidently: “It all remains a question of price still.”

Kevin May, editor, Travolution

1 comment:

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