Part Four – So what happened to travel tech in 2010?
NB: We asked the Tnooz Nodes to reflect on their Predictions 2010 from 12 months ago – do they have Oracle status or did something come along to derail their forecasts.
Also, what were their favourite posts of the year, on Tnooz or elsewhere, by themselves or others.
Prediction 2010 #1:
Consolidation in the sector (surely!). This is a left over predictions from 2009. The conditions in the year of the GFC seemed perfect for consolidation.
Stock prices were depressed, cost cutting acceptable and appetite for organically funded expansion low. But we saw virtually nothing that could be called a “big deal”.
There was deal activity but was at the lower end such as through regional tuck-ins (ie Travelocity buying Travelguru, and Ctrip buying EZtravel), small local deals (ie Wotif buying GoDo) and constant content site acquisition by TripAdvisor. With bankers chasing bonuses and companies chasing growth in 2010, I expect to see some consolidation in the big end of online travel town.
So I predicted consolidation would come and recommendations would be the future of search. On consolition this is my second year in being proven wrong – so it is officially time to give up on predicting M&A activity and go back to talking tech, trends, search and social media.
Prediction 2010 #2:
Recommendations as the future of online travel: Search – as a means for customers finding what they want in online travel – is no longer as effective in 2009 as it was in 2005.
Two causes – the explosion of content through the UGC revolution and consumers desire to seek answers to open ended questions (ie where should I go next) that are not easily answered by a search model based on taking you to one site.
2010 will see even more investment by start ups and established companies on different ways of searching and on methodologies for recommending. The long term future is the ability to generate a recommendation of one based on the individuals unique combination of desires, needs and interests of an individual at a particular point in time (EveryYou).
The 2010 future is increased profiling, increased data collection and even more start up activity around search and discovery.
On recommendations and the future of search it is clear that we are at the begining of the most profound changes in search since the launch of Google Adsense.
Google got into the recommendation this year with Google Places, sparking a war with TripAdvisor and a complete rethink by the industry on how to build for search engines
Favourite articles of 2010:
- Four tips on a how a travel supplier should build a social media strategy – Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4 [Tnooz]
- Google Instant is just the beginning in the search revolution in travel [Tnooz]
- Business Traveller Tip – 10 tips for surviving economy class flying [The BOOT]
Tim Hughes is an online travel industry executive who has been blogging since June 2006 at the Business of Online Travel (the BOOT).
The BOOT covers analysis of online travel industry trends, consumer and company behaviour and broader online/web activity of interest to online travel companies (with a bias towards Tim’s home markets of Asia and Australasia and with the odd post on consuming and loving travel thrown in).
In late-2010 the BOOT clocked its 1,000th post, 200,000th visitor and 300,000th page view.In his work life he is the CEO of Getaway Lounge - a premium travel deal site based in Australia.
Tim has worked for both Orbtitz and Expedia. Prior to the travel industry Tim was a commercial lawyer and venture capitalist. Tim’s views are his alone and not necessarily the views of Getaway Lounge or any of its investors.