Mobile travel, consolidation and innovative pricing models are to be the biggest trends to hit online travel in 2008, according to PhoCusWright.
The annual trends list predicts the year will see even more ways to connect and grab the attention of consumers who spend an increasing amount of time involved in travel-related activities online.
While new travel 2.0 start-ups are emerging all the time and the presence of private equity nurtures the sector there will also be consolidation especially when online suppliers find it increasingly challenging to differentiate their services.
Consolidation is also likely in the emerging markets such as India where larger entities seek to gain a foothold or increase their existing presence through acquisition.
The trends report anticipates an answer to the big question surrounding a commercial model for social media through its convergence with e-commerce. PhoCusWright predicts developments such as Google’s OpenSocial will help push travel companies to get more closely involved.
This year is also likely to be the year mobile travel will come into its own with the launch of the iPhone late last year demonstrating that rich content can be accessible on small devices.
Finally, further moves towards the media-based pricing model Expedia unveiled in November are on the cards. The online giant will undoubtedly reveal similar deals with other large suppliers and other OTAs are likely to follow suit.