Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Travolution@ITT - Part 15 - Lazy Boys on the Lazy River?

Ed Whiting from Comtec writes:

This year we are seeing the change and innovation in the travel industry established and in full swing. It has come probably quicker than most had anticipated.

At the ITT this year it is evident that among the varied range of companies attending - the usual crowd of traditional media, traditional principals, traditional tour operators and travel agents - there are online tour operators, bed banks, technology companies, search engines, new essential consolidators, online travel agents also here.

These companies have embraced the change and I would bet that there are not many companies attending that haven't embraced the change.

What is the change? Hard to describe exactly but the internet/technology has a big influence, being a catalyst for new business models, new distribution channels, new ways of selling travel direct, and new entrants.

Only two to three years ago I remember when the new players such as Expedia, Opodo and were scorned upon as the bad dangerous entrants into the market place that people steered away from and didn't understand.

Now they are the norm and very accepted rubbing shoulders with the traditional businesses. At this year's ITT we are seeing search engine companies, which are one of the fastest growing distribution channels for the industry.

This time I note that they are already being accepted into the travel community a lot faster than the likes of Expedia, Opodo, – the travel industry is getting used to the change.

Why the title? Well at the conference there is a circular man-made river running between two of the hotels which is used to transport hotel guests on lie-back inflatables.

It is called the Lazy River. I was amongst several delegates gliding down the Lazy River to the next bar – looking at them you could of easily thought that they were a bunch of lazy boys.

However, reality is that these are the people from new successful travel businesses and are relaxed with the fast pace of change.

[Conference photos on Flickr - including the Lazy River and a member of the Travel Weekly team]

Ed Whiting, product director, Comtec (Europe)

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