Is turning dreams into reality the way to solve trip inspiration?
Inspiration. An over-used word around these parts. But inspiration remains one of the final remaining challenges in online travel.
If you can only make someone WANT to go somewhere, then you can sell them the flight, the hotel, the tour, etc. So the theory goes anyway.
Historically, trip inspiration was left to travel magazines and photographers. Online players focussed on solving problems once a consumer has decided “how do I get from A to B”, “where shall I sleep” etc.
But now online transaction players are paying more attention to inspiration.
No one has really got a full handle on it yet – maybe because inspiration is so individual (based on the traveller’s culture, type of trip, destination, budget, etc).
Too many variables creating too big a problem to solve.
Who can remember Expedia’s Inspiroscope from five years ago? Most inspiration tools haven’t moved on much more since then.
Maybe also the problem is that content that is inherently inspirational (a great photo, a well told story, a wonderful video) is inappropriate at converting someone to book.
Hence inspiration remains within DMO (Destination marketing organisation) territory as ultimately they don’t mind WHO you book with, just that you choose their region over a competitors.
Maybe traditional cycle tour company Tour D’Afrique has a solution. Certainly worth a look. They have built a section of their website they call Dreamtours. Helping people dream is closely related to inspiration.
On Dreamtours you firstly create your dream cycle tour, plotted on a Google Map. This tour is then published on their central website. You can then sell spaces on the tour to other cyclists with a dream.
The clever part is that the cycle tour company will commercially help run the tour for you – if you get sufficient people to sign up (ie. by providing tour leadership, logistics support, support vehicles etc).
Making dreams a reality.
A fantastic combination of public dreaming and inspiration, user generated content and REAL commercial revenue to the cycle tour company.
Maybe this is how inspiration should be solved – let people dream, and then deliver the dream.
Could hotels take this approach? How about destinations?
Alex is a contributing Node to Tnooz and writes about travel technology, travel startups, specialist tour operators and the tours & activities sector. He has previously led ecommerce, social media and reservation system projects for airlines, leading mainstream tour operators and hotel distribution companies in both leisure and business travel sectors.
He is the CEO of TourCMS, a web based software-as-a-service reservation system and distribution platform used by many specialist tour operators worldwide to take online bookings and distribute to 3rd parties.
He also moderates Small Fish Big Ocean, a community that welcomes small tour operators and niche travel agents to come and discuss travel ecommerce issues. Alex has a computing degree, is passionate about usability, speaks French and still writes and reviews code.