Travel predictions for 2008

February 5, 2008

PhocusWright has released it’s 2008 Travel Trends report which looks at some of the developments in the marketplace that it expects to dominate the year. There’s a brief overview here.

In short they expect:

  • Mobile to grow (no massive surprise there, it’s been coming for years but travel has been very slow on the uptake)
  • Consolidation in the industry to continue (again a safe bet, I don’t think we’ve seen the last of the mergers, however this year I expect to see online only concerns looking at mergers to stimulate growth and increase market share)
  • Social and e-commerce approaches to converge (strange one this, I know there’s a lot of social experiments that are totally unconnected to a companies e-commerce facility but this will continue as players find their feet in the social waters. Any decent foray into social should always have an e-commerce edge anyway, even the most brand focused campaign should be aiming to drive bookers at the end of the day)
  • Metasearch to come of age (this could be the biggy! I’m waiting for Kayak or someone like that to launch fully dynamic packaging through metasearch, that could be a clincher that sees off the competition. I also expect tour operators to move towards a more metasearch model online by supplementing their product through GDS’)
  • Media-based pricing (interesting move from Expedia earlier this year that has triggered this one, will certainly be interesting to see if others move this way, especially those with their own stock as price flexing to match their media spend will be more difficult)

I think they’ve missed one big thing that we will begin to see on travel websites and that’s intelligent or guided search. My number one complaint is the lack of relevance in cross/upsell offerings that are pushed at you during an e-commerce process. The rise of tagging and meta data on products will help push this forwards (as well as the rise in technologies that provide this kind of functionality). Another interesting area to watch will be semantic web, expect to see a travel site of some sort try to get this right this year. Interesting year ahead!

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