What ELSE happened during the 25 years of online travel?
The Guardian newspaper in the UK asked us this week to pull together some of the milestones of online travel in the 25 years so far of the web.
How 25 years of the web inspired the travel revolution was the result, covering everything from the birth of the world wide web itself to the present day.
These are the major points we picked out:
- British computer scientist Sir Tim Berners-Lee submits his proposal for the web
- Travelweb creates the first catalogue (and later booking system) of hotels.
- Jeff Greenwald posts what is later claimed to be the first travel blog.
- Internet Travel Network (ITN) oversee first airline ticket booking made over the web.
- Viator Systems launches platform to book destination tours and excursions.
- Lonely Planet makes its first tentative steps into online publishing.
- Microsoft creates a division to tackle the growing enthusiasm for travel services – names it Expedia.
- Larry Page and Sergy Brin discover a new way to catalogue everything on the web with a search engine called Google.
- EasyJet and Ryanair, new low cost carriers entering the market in Europe, push their respective websites as the primary way to book flights.
- Lastminute.com becomes the iconic ecommerce brand of the period, launching its playful online travel agency in Europe.
- FareChase triggers what eventually became a major online travel shopping process – metasearch. Led to Sidestep, Skyscanner, Kayak et al.
- The pizza parlour-dwelling review service TripAdvisor is launched – hotels were never the same again.
- One of many unintended consequences of the September 11 attacks materialises as suppliers realise the web is a significantly efficient way of shifting unfilled inventory.
- Priceline starts heading down the road on which it eventually gives it a mighty position in the travel ecosystem – buying Active Hotels and then Booking.com a year later.
- Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg launches Facebook, the social network that inspired generations to live their lives (and travels) on the web.
- Apple unveils its first foray into mobile communications with the iPhone, bringing access to the web from a handset to the masses. Thousands of travel-related apps follow.
- AirBedAndBreakfast (later renamed to Airbnb) leads the charge of a second wave of online travel brands, bringing short-term travel rentals into a web marketplace.
- Twitter takes hold and inspires real-time messaging and engagement between travellers and travel brands.
- Google ramps up its interest in the industry (beyond taking its advertising spend) and buys ITA Software.
- HotelTonight leads the wave of travel brands which probably could not have existed before mobile services kicked in – same-day booking of hotels via a handset.
- Europe-based airline KLM decides the only way to figure out how to use social media effectively is to experiment with it – massively. The flagship project being its Meet & Seat service.
So that was our list for the Guardian (read the full version and analysis over here).
But we thought (not least from fielding a a bulging mailbox since the article’s publication earlier this week) that there must be countless other moments behind the scenes other or launches on the web which have helped shape the industry over the past 25 years.
- The budget end of the accommodation world hitting the web, such as HostelWorld.
- Direct-connect scrapes involving American Airlines.
- Launch of Hotels.com.
- Travelport and Worldspan merger.
- Creation of Orbitz and Opodo as airline-led OTAs.
Over to you in the comments…
NB: Evolution technology image via Shutterstock.
Kevin May is editor and a co-founder of Tnooz. He was previously editor of UK-based magazine Travolution for nearly four years and web editor of Media Week UK from 2003 to 2005.
He has also worked in regional newspapers (Essex Enquirer) and started his career in journalism at the Police Gazette at New Scotland Yard in London. He has a degree in criminology and a postgraduate diploma in magazine journalism.