Experience to push focus on price aside

The online travel industry can expect to see a ‘fundamental shift’ from a mindset based on ‘price, price, price’ to one based on ‘experience’, according to John Bray, senior strategist at PhoCusWright.

“The focus has always been on taking the friction out of the delivery price to the consumer. In future, in the online travel industry, we will move from searching for the lowest price to finding the perfect trip,” Bray told delegates at the Travolution Summit this week.

Bray says Europe is rapidly moving to the same state as the US where a majority of all travel is bought online.

In all, he added, the internet will eventually offer complete transparency, speed – with the ability to gather and assimilate information quickly, factor predictive information into information queries, and facilitate peer collaboration, in which time-honoured things such as scrapbooks, peer reviews and folders of trip information have become much easier to use.

In future, he suggested, even our approach to gaining travel information from the Net, and subsequently buying the travel, will change as devices converge. “You will be able to buy travel from your calendar, search from Instant Messenger, or even buy from your car. The browser is becoming much less of a must-have medium, and is even something of a limiting factor now.

“The use of mobile media means you can take the experience with you, with sites such as Plazes.com bringing community, mapping and location into one application.”

It is now time, Bray added, for some traditional carriers and hotels to give their sites a makeover to reflect the move from ‘talking at customers’ to ‘creating conversations with customers about what they’d like to do’. The mindset must not be ‘I’m a pricefinder’, but ‘I’m an experience finder,’ he concluded.

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