Social Commerce & Innovation in Online Travel
In a recent Bloomberg Businessweek article How Expedia Plans to Make Travel More Social Expedias vice-president of the US, Joe Megibow, discusses Expedias recognition of the value of travel bloggers and intend to introduce and their blog posts into the online experience of their travel customer.
Online travel is an industry which is best placed to benefit from developing an integrated social commerce and mobile proposition, which delivers each individual customer with a personalised service and has the potential to enhance the online experience and also combine a mix of travel content, bloggers, published content, customer reviews and local destination tour and activity providers to improve customers in destination experience.
In the spring of 2011, I met friends from Dallas in Paris for a couple of days, they were on a 5 day trip with their 2 sons and wanted to maximise the experience for all the family during their short stay. In order to do this, Laura, carried out extensive desk research from her home using both online and guidebooks she purchased about Paris, she identified a range of activities from sightseeing, guided historic walks, places to eat, drop by for a coffee and take time out to relax and from this built a great schedule which she skilfully led, with the aid of her iphone, her husbands blackberry and google maps, their 5 day trip and my couple of days with them.
This inspired me to carry out research into the online travel space, an area I have been interested in since 2001, to look for a joined up consumer experience which would have created the type of city break my friend and her family were looking for and was surprised to find that this was not available, there were vendors doing the individual areas, but there IS NO_ONE joining this all up to create a streamlined customer experience….so I met with a number of technology vendors and carried out research into what makes travel sell on line and developed a contecept called CITEZE – a social commerce and mobile citybreaks travel service which I introduced to a couple of online travel companies, who expressed some interest but no urgency to develop this new customer experience and I have to ask why?
Below is an outline of the travel concept and I welcome views and opinions and volunteers companies and/or individuals who may be interested in developing this beyond a concept…look forward to hearing from you…..