Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Travolution Summit-Personalisation not a priority for Ebookers

Alan Josephs, managing director of Ebookers.com told Travolution Summit delegates that the online world is a lot like the old anecdote about two friends running from a bear in the forest:

You don’t need to run faster than the bear…you need to run faster than your friend.


(And here I thought Josephs was such a nice guy.)

“So, which company is Ebookers outrunning then?” asked Travolution’s editor Kevin May.

“We’re running very, very fast,” is about all Josephs would say (quite understandably, given their rather delicate current circumstances).

What Josephs would reveal is that Ebookers’ immediate strategy is about getting the most fundamental functions right.

“I disagree that advanced personalisation will move the needle for online travel agents in next couple of years,” Josephs told delegates.

The fact is that great deals still move the needle faster than great content and advanced capabilities like high-level personalisation don’t come in the top 50 on Ebookers’ to-do list, said Josephs.

“The reality is that we have a long way to go to get to something that advanced. It’s more about easily showing them the price for flexible dates and giving them a map to see their inside of their hotel, how close the beach is, etc.

“It sound like simple stuff, but it’s a long list of simple stuff and I think this is where the focus needs to be.”

Tricia Holly Davis, chief writer, Travolution

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