Online Travel Technology and Online Travel Industry Future

Are On-line Travel Portals and Travel Search Engines advanced than ever?

Large or Small, Travel companies are continually looking to use the latest technology to enhance their on-line presence. This is the main reason on-line travel website technology has grown faster than any other on-line related industry. The On-line Travel Hotel Accommodation Booking marketplace is a very competitive area and ultimately the user’s decision to purchase depends on 3 key factors:

  • Website functionality
  • Availability of the chosen travel package, flight or hotel
  • Price (obviously)

Most of the leading online travel agents or online tour operators who are connected with one of the highly recognised flight suppliers, hotels and/or transfer wholesalers via XML. Through these suppliers they can search online users’ needs relate to any destination around the world.

These Online Travel Websites are continuously growing their supplier base by regularly adding boutique, destination specific XML suppliers. This will offer more hotel, Flight and Transfer options to their web users, allowing us to broaden their exposure to new market segments.

Most of the Online travel websites use the latest “filtration technique” across a number of supplier feeds in real-time. Meaning that they can always deliver the latest availability information and most importantly the best available rate to the consumer. Further to above most of the leading travel and leisure websites have;

  • Ability to manage, adapt and dynamically improve the system according to the marketing and usability purposes
  • Flexibility to handle the load according to the business improvement
  • Easy to find and fix bugs and issues
  • System is guaranteed for 95% up time
  • Secure backup and recovery processes
  • Ability to launch new sites for their new markets.

Travel Website and GDS Development Overview.

Leading Travel websites and corresponding Systems are based on an open architecture concept which is an independent platform and multi tier internet technology.

  • Systems are built according to SOA (Service Oriented Architecture)
  • Mostly built on JEE technologies
  • Use of web services for external connectivity and data processing
  • Distributed / multi team development using SVN

Market analysis summary to get an idea about OTA marketplace.

The travel sector is a growing marketplace. With traveller numbers set to double in size over the next 10 years there has been a steady increase in the number of people booking their travel independently i.e. book flights, accommodation etc. separately and not as a package online.

In spite of occasional shocks, international tourist arrivals have shown almost uninterrupted growth from 25 million in 1950, to 277 million in 1980, to 438 million in 1990, to 681 million in 2000, and the current 880 million. By 2020 international arrivals are expected to reach 1.6 billion.

The total capacity in hotels and similar establishments worldwide is estimated at 18.4million rooms. This has been growing at about 3% over the last five years.

  • America 6,500,000 rooms
  • Asia Pacific 4,460,000 rooms
  • Europe 6,550,000 rooms
  • Middle East 355,000 rooms
  • Africa 485,000 rooms

The estimated value of hotels booked through Online Travel Agents (OTA) in 2010 is over $22 bn. as per Online Traffic and Conversion Report Second Edition – February 2011.

Online Travel Agent (OTA) focus will be on driving sales exclusively through the Internet. This is a well established and ever-growing marketplace. Online travel revenues in Asia-Pacific, Europe and the US, 2006-2010 (% of total travel):

  • 2006: 49% (US) / 23% (Europe) / 9% (Asia-Pacific)
  • 2007: 52% (US) / 27% (Europe) / 11% (Asia-Pacific)
  • 2008: 51% (US) / 33% (Europe) / 14% (Asia-Pacific)
  • 2009: 56% (US) / 37% (Europe) / 18% (Asia-Pacific)
  • 2010: 59% (US) / 43% (Europe) / 21% (Asia-Pacific)

Since 2008 the percentage of UK adults booking their overseas holidays online has risen by 15% to over 54% (one-in-two consumers). 45% of the hotel bookings in 2010 was made via the Internet.

Travel trade competitive edge compared to market leaders.

Main competitive edge will be your product pricing. As you have to manage your OH relatively low by automating most of the administration functions using latest technology. Then you will be able to offer Hotels, Flights and Travel packages at a rate that the larger OTA will find difficult to match. Whilst they work on margins of about 25% you will be able to run profitably at 10%. This gives us a significant advantage in the marketplace.

Twitter Vs Facebook, Finding New Travel Clients and Business Clients

Twitter has approximately 150 million searches in a month, with over 225 million users (2012). Facebook has about ten times that many searches, mostly for keywords such as Facebook chat, how to change my Facebook page, etc. Face book has over 500 million users, but only a certain percentage open their account every single day.

LinkedIn has approximately 125 million users and around 20 million searches in any given months.

Based on the numbers, you would automatically say that Facebook would be the better option for acquiring new clients? Many people would agree. And many small business owners, including travel agents set out to reach more clients by creating a Facebook Page and a Fan Page, and spending hours engaging in online conversations, with potential clients.

However, if you look at the platform, of the three different social networks, you will notice that one, more so then the other two is utilized by people on the go. If you check your demographics, you will find that twitter has approximately seven percent more mobile users in a day then any of the other major social networking sites.

For some small business owners, this is excellent, but for other businesses, like travel agents, this is pure gold. Twitter allows you to put the destination, the cost and a couple adjectives to describe the travel event into a tweet. And when people are interested, they will follow ‘through’, by clicking on the link.

Twitter has one thing going it for it that the other mega social sites don’t have, and that is, it is mobile friendly. And there are more mobile phones in the world than there are computers. (2012) The policy of “KISS,” keep it simple stupid, is a winning platform for mobile use. The 140 character limit keeps the messages short and simple, and this more than anything is the reason Twitter is an “on the go communications” platform, which can speak to busy people, regardless of their schedule or location.

People are busy. People don’t always have the time to review their emails, open up their Facebook account, or see whose doing what on Linked In. People are busy and Twitter speaks to “busy people.”

People are not concerned that you will over power them with advertising or a message that they just don’t have the time to read or delete. With Twitter, they know, the message won’t be longer than 140 characters. It’s safe to hear what you have to say. It is safe to let you in. In fact, because you are tweeting about a positive diversion, (vacation) they look forward to hearing from you.

There is a reason that there are more mature individuals on Twitter than on Facebook every day. And this is the same reason that travel agents may want to look at Twitter a little closer before deciding to place their primary marketing efforts in other areas. Twitter followers are easier to acquire and cheaper to advertise to. You will still need to develop a relationship with your followers, but it only has to be a 140 character relationship! In time, they will visit your web site, if what you have to offer is of value.

The downside to Twitter if there is one, is that the search engines don’t appear to index the tweets as much as they do the Facebook and LinkedIn comments which are keyword loaded with relevancy.

E-Classified Ads, Free Internet Marketing Tips for Travel Agents

Travel Agents have it easy, when they understand how they can tap into the massive need of travelers. People love travel, and when they are feeling blue, even a little, they surf the web for that perfect travel deal.

Let’s look at some facts, and then review the classified ad technique, to find new travel clients.

Fact: On the average there are over 600,000 searches, per month for the keyword: travel deal.

Fact: There are over 16 million searches, per month for the word: airfare.

Fact: There is an average of half a million searches, per month for keywords: travel site.

Fact: You should be sitting down for this fact: There is an average of over 20,000,000 (that is 20 million) searches a month for the keyword: cruises Now, if you take the ‘s’ off of cruises and make the keyword: cruise, the monthly average is over 30 million searches.

This article is about tapping into this massive need for information that Internet users have expressed.

One cheap, yet extremely effective and inexpensive to free, method of advertising travel, online is to use classified ad sites. To name a few craigslist.com, backpage.com, oodle.com, and any and all classified ad sites you come across.

Why, because, the search robots crawl these sites daily in most cases, hourly. And when you write your classified ad with keyword to content ratio in mind, your classified ad can easily end up at the top of the major search engines.

In order to increase of chances of your classified ad appearing at the top in the major search engines, you should:

1. Use your keyword(s) in your ad title (Doesn’t hurt to research your keyword. How popular is your keyword?

2. Write 300 to 400 words in the ad’s body.

3. Be sure your content to keyword ratio is high. (Meaning for every 100 to 150 words, use your keyword and variations of your keyword)

4. Be sure your content is original and un-duplicated.

5. Add images and video if allowed to do so.

Before you write your ad, put your proposed title, into the search engines. This will give you an idea of what information is already out there, and how you can fit in. And remember, the keywords: travel deals to Hawaii is always better than the keyword: Hawaii. Long tail keywords can often get you high placement in the search engines long before a short keyword.

Think of an e-classified ad, as a mini press-release. Give information. Marketing gurus say, the more information you provide, the more you will sell. What we know for sure is: The more information you provide, the more comfortable people feel.