Social networks not suited to booking travel – Question Time Report

Consumers are not ready for social networking integrated with travel booking it emerged at Travolution Question Time earlier this week.

While social media is being broadly used in the travel research stage an expert panel said the time was not right for the booking element.

Tamara Heber-Percy, co-founder of boutique hotel specialist Mr & Mrs Smith, which has a partnership with Dopplr, said it was not at the stage of people booking.

“We are looking at it with our affiliates to see what we can do but it does not seem to be the right time.”

WAYN co-founder Jerome Touze said its attempts at integrating a booking facilities had not been as successful as hoped.

“We have a community who are interested in where they are going next so we thought by plugging in a booking engine it would work but it was naïve because they don’t come to WAYN to book, they come to interact with friends.”

Frommers Unlimited research, revealed exclusively at the Travolution Summit, showed consumers want practical information such as airport and transfer details, hotel pictures and destination guides at the point of booking.

General manager Joel Brandon-Bravo said: “There is space for user-generated content, it’s the assurance they have not got by going direct to the brand so if you can integrate that within your site and then continue through the booking path without distracting them.”

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