Sunday, May 21, 2006

Generating a use for all those users

An interesting story popped up on the BBC News website today about the gaming world and how it also set to become another industry dominated and shaped by consumers themselves.

[Read “User-generated future for gaming”]

Gaming companies are looking to utilise the creative talents of players in order to build storylines, design graphics or create characters.

On the one hand, as one of the commentators suggests, the gaming companies will be saving money by allowing customers to get involved in the development of their multi-million pound businesses.

In the meantime users are made to feel increasingly more like part of a community.

The travel industry is going through a similar renaissance, as talk of Internet 2.0 and the importance of user-generated content gathers pace.

Obviously the likes of destination and hotel review website Trip Advisor will continue thriving on the consumer’s desire to “get involved” with the process of travel.

There are others: TravelIntelligence, which is essentially a hotel booking site that only includes properties recommended by expert travel journalists, and Igougo, to name just two.

But so many conversations tend to lead towards how Site A or Site B will be bringing in some form of user-generated content in the coming months.

It is seen as a vital tool for either establishing or enhancing the relationship between the consumer and the travel provider, whether they are a tour operator, travel agent, airlines or hotel chain.

Interestingly, at the Travolution Summit last month, BT futurologist Ian Pearson spoke of how the gaming industry could be one of the key players in the digital world.

He also said that the travel industry was another business sector that could emerge as a significant participant because of the unique connection it has with its consumers.

Allowing users to generate or influence content is one of many steps that could lead travel to such an esteemed position on decades to come.

Kevin May, editor, Travolution

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