January in the online travel arena

January 23, 2007

You may (or may not) be aware that January is the busiest booking month for the online (and offline) travel industries. Quite why everyone suddenly wants to spend all their hard-earned on a holiday right after Xmas I’m not sure. It could be that the return to work, miserable weather and no holiday in sight may make people long for far off shores. Or perhaps people just have an atraction to getting into more debt after spending the family savings on Xmas.

What this means for people like me who work in online travel is your website is going to get a good hammering! I’d been campaigning for an increase in capacity since November with little to no response from our IT department. And what happens? January 3rd our servers whimper, roll over and refuse to keep serving the vast number of users. This was quickly rectified after a day or so of hasty server purchasing. Sadly it’s my opinion that this day or so of slow to no response from the servers has drastically damaged our profit this month. As we all know, when encountered with errors/bugs/server problems users don’t tend to stick around or come back very quickly. I believe we lost so much good will on those extremely busy days it will have affected the bottom line significantly!

We weren’t the only ones to experience issues. Two of the biggest tour operators have had very slow websites and others have been unavailable at times.

The moral? IT need to listen to the people who deal with websites on a day to day basis, listen to their marketeers/ebusiness professionals and take advice (rather than pretending they know best). I long for the days when I had control of my websites technology platform and it wasn’t in the hands of what amount to desktop support!!

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