Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Travolution@WTM-Those Promiscuous Punters

The online travel market is a decade old, but despite 10 years of impressive growth and success, online has not engendered the loyalty and trust of consumers, John Bray, vice-president advisory services, PhoCusWright, told delegates during the Travolution conference at World Travel Market.

Rather, Bray likened the current online marketplace to a bazaar, where "consumers are walking from place to place and are not sure what they will find, what the prices will be and what inventory will be available. That has left consumers with a lack of loyalty."

Maz Darvish, CEO, Internet Business Group, agreed that the promise of lower prices on the internet means travel companies have become their own worst enemies.

"There are an overwhelming number of products online and that has led to price comparison sites, but one side effect of all of this price comparison is that brand value has been eroded and the consumer has become promiscuous."

This is likely to change, however, thanks to the advent of Web 2.0.

"Until now, online travel has been all about bringing the lowest prices to consumers, but
Web 2.0 will change that," said Bray.

Indeed, the next generation of search will go beyond delivering the cheapest price and take into account consumers' interests and passions.

"All this talk about passion and promiscuity...who knew online travel was such a sexy industry?", mused Dean Harvey, director, Spannerworks

Tricia Holly Davis
Freelance Journalist

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