Thursday, November 09, 2006

Travolution@WTM-All Good Things Must Come to an End

Well bloggers, the Travolution conference at World Travel Market finally wrapped up yesterday, after two-days of star-studded performances by leading experts in the online travel world.

True, there wasn't any singing or dancing (well, at least not until we all got to the pub), but there were some heated debates about what the future will hold for online travel.

Nancy Lyndhurst, product manager for travel, O2, said website owners need to produce simplified, mobile-friendly sites if phones and PDAs are to take off as a method for booking travel.

Several panellists theorised about how long tailing will change the search process and price point.

Is cost-per-click dead? Maybe, maybe not, but site owners must be willing to pay to get their brand noticed.

"As soon as Google doesn’t find you slowly die," warned Adam Freeman, deputy commercial director, Guardian News & Media.

Not surprisingly, the final discussions of the conference turned to the importance of social networking and user generated content, and the impact these will have on the online space--a recurring theme throughout the two-day event.

"I’m incredibly jealous of TripAdvisor," Graham Donoghue of TUI, exclaimed during the closing session. "The more we trust the customer, the better off we'll be."

Freeman agreed, "You need to share your space with consumers and re-think control. As long as customers come back to you as a source of information, then you will be OK".

Delegates from Gail Kenny Executive Search, which hosted the closing soiree, asked panellists how they are dealing with the current talent shortage.

Most panellists said they were resorting to kidnapping.

No, they didn't really, but admitted that it's an issue.

Finding talented people will probably be more of an issue now that the Democrats have won back control of the American Congress and Donald Rumsfeld has at last resigned.

That is to say all the Silicon Valley wiz kids who have been hiding out in Britain for the past few years, can now safely return home.

Don't worry though, we'll be back for next year's conference.

Tricia Holly Davis
Freelance Journalist and American Refugee

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