Skip Navigation

Travellerspoint Presentation at the ITB in Berlin

Travel Forums General Talk Travellerspoint Presentation at the ITB in Berlin

Page
  • 1
  • 2

Last Post

1. Posted by Sam I Am (Admin 5588 posts) 11y

Hey everyone,

Well, after Pete spread the good news that USA Today is featuring Travellerspoint, I couldn't stay behind :)

I have been asked by the organization of the International Tourism Exchange in Berlin to be a part of a panel of 'experts' regarding travel communities. Basically, there's someone from Lonely Planet, igougo and me from Travellerspoint trying to give some info on the phenomena, what we do and so forth.

Now, seeing as Travellerspoint would be nothing without it's members and you all are the vibrant heart of this community, I thought I might ask your feedback on some of the questions they want me to address. I can come up with answers myself, but seeing as the session is on communities, it does make some sense that the answers also come from the community.

Here is the information I received which includes the questions to be addressed:

Future Travel Organization

In the past, travel agencies played a central role in obtaining travel information. Nowadays, travellers can find information about community sites and participate in forums via internet. Does the peer-to-peer internet consultation make travel agencies superfluous? Which sources are the consumers going to rely on in the future? Do travel communities also make efficient sales channels?

You can either post your answers/thoughts/comments/ideas here or else send them to me at info@travellerspoint.com if you don't want everyone seeing them....

Any ideas/comments/thoughts/notions/questions etc are welcome!!!

Thanks everyone

Sam

2. Posted by GregW (Travel Guru 2635 posts) 11y

Does the peer-to-peer internet consultation make travel agencies superfluous?

I don't think so. I use the internet to gather information and make decisions about my trip. It makes me a more informed consumer, but it doesn't mean that I still don't purchase from travel agencies. I think I am more likely to enter a travel agency with information of what I want in hand, rather than letting them plan the trip for me.

Which sources are the consumers going to rely on in the future?

For me, there is no turning back from the Internet. But when it comes to costing out flights, the internet is going to have to get a lot better than they presently are. I often find that a travel agent can get me better prices than fares I find on the Internet.

Do travel communities also make efficient sales channels?

A number of businesses have found that communities make effective sales and service offerings for their products. I once read an article on this, but can't find it now, but the general gist was that on-line communities help cement relationships that companies have with consumers, and that makes them advocates for the company sooner and more vocally.

Greg

3. Posted by Isadora (Travel Guru 13926 posts) 11y

Hey Sam
Mr Isadora here. Congrats on the exposure...nothing like being invited to be on a "panel of experts". Gives you an uplifting sort of outlook on your job. Then you get nervous and think "Oh my God...Someone wants my opinion? What if I have no idea what they're talking about?" Your hands shake, you sweat a little, your stomach gets a bit queasy. But it all gets better after you throw up, er, I mean, after you answer your first question. Or is it just me that this happens to? Happens to me every time I have to be on the radio or TV to promote my brewery. But I digress...

I have to mostly agree with Greg. Mostly, with a caveat. Peer to peer internet consultation will not make travel agents superfluous in larger cities that actually have travel agents that work hard for their customers. Out here in the country (read: middle of nowhere USA) in small towns, IF you have a travel agent, they tend not to work particularly hard to find you the best deals because that would cut into commissions, deals with airlines, resorts, etc. And they tend to be the only game in town, so unless you make your own arrangements, you're stuck with them.

As to what sources consumers will rely on.....My theory is an old one. If you want it done right, do it yourself. Use every resource at your command, from newspapers, radio, TV, internet, and of course, TP. Sorry, that last part seemed a bit shameless.

Sales channels? Sure, why not. I'd just rather not wade through hundreds of ads and pop-ups when I ask a question, post a reply, or just want to travel vicariously through others. For me, a business could be successful by setting a link and a short description to the side of the site, much like Google does. It's not quite so "in-your-face" advertising that way. And after all, aren't we all subjected to enough adverts every day? No, I don't really care if my breath is minty fresh, but if you do, stand back about two feet. Sorry, a bit off topic there.

My first reply....thanks for a great site.

Mr. Isa

4. Posted by Isadora (Travel Guru 13926 posts) 11y

Quoting isadora

Hey Sam
Mr Isadora here. Congrats on the exposure...
My first reply....thanks for a great site.

Mr. Isa

Well Dear, you replied to this thread before me, but also made similar statements to what I was going to post so i will leave it alone for the moment.

Sam,
When is the conference being held?

Mrs. Isadora

5. Posted by mtlchica (Respected Member 922 posts) 11y

Here you go...I didn't read Greg's answers so mine can be more truthful to what I believe as opposed to trying not to say what he said.

In the past, travel agencies played a central role in obtaining travel information. Nowadays, travellers can find information about community sites and participate in forums via internet. Does the peer-to-peer internet consultation make travel agencies superfluous?

I think travel agencies are still needed, but I could see how their business could go down. In my case, I always look for the best price-to-quality ratio. I do all my research online - on official tourist sites, trip-planning sites and travel forums like this one - and then I go trip hunting. I will look at online sites and travel agencies. When I do go into a travel agency I will have all the information in hand - what area I want to stay in, how I want to get there, what airlines I prefer, etc. If I can get a better deal and more help, so be it, but if I can find out the same imformation through a travel community without having to pay someone to do it for me, I'd much rather that.

Which sources are the consumers going to rely on in the future?

I think the internet will get stronger and stronger. It's so easily accessible now...everyone can sort out and plan a trip without leaving their homes. Now that the younger generation who have grown up with the internet are getting older and able to plan trips on their own, it will only become a more powerful tool in trip-planning.

Do travel communities also make efficient sales channels?

From a business perspective, I think that they would just because of the growing amount of people involved in travel communities. As a travel community member, I don't enjoy having products pushed onto me (ie: spamming). If the owners of a site have a seperate section for deals and accomodations, it's great.

6. Posted by remarcable (Respected Member 335 posts) 11y

Lets see:

In the past, travel agencies played a central role in obtaining travel information. Nowadays, travellers can find information about community sites and participate in forums via internet. Does the peer-to-peer internet consultation make travel agencies superfluous?

Hmm..when I was a T/A, the internet both helped and hurt, my line of work. Because of the internet, a new breed of travelers came to the forefront. More savy and well educated. The need for constant baby sitting and advice sank considerably. However, with the boom; self reliant folks were doing their own things. Companies like Expedia and Travelocity made it difficult . The hotels, airlines, cars, and tour companies followed up with lower rates and undercutting the t/a's .

Reality hit at least here in the U.S. during the Sept 11 ordeal. People who booked through a T/a made a terrible incident, into a smoother transistion. Compared to those who had a hell of a time getting thing settled and questions answered. Yea, the role of T/a has change. Regardless of the lonely planets, expedias,priceline, and orbitz; the need for a human touch will never fade away.
M.

7. Posted by loubylou (Travel Guru 664 posts) 11y

Does the peer-to-peer internet consultation make travel agencies superfluous?

I think to re-iterate other views posted, peer-to-peer internet consultation doesn’t do away with the need for travel agents, it just makes travellers much better informed about what they want from their holidays and what price they should be paying.

When I am researching places to go I use Lonely Planet, Rough Guides, the internet (TP especially!) and friends knowledge. I prefer to know what other people think about a place when researching where to go and I want to be well informed when I walk into the travel agents to book flights or holidays. When we first started travelling, travel agents tried to sell my partner and I totally unsuitable holidays/flights and because we didn’t know about the places they suggested we almost booked – until we thought about checking the net. This saved us from making a very big mistake.

I think the explosion of the internet for travel related information is going to force travel agents to ‘raise their game’. My partner’s mum is a travel agent and she keeps phoning us for advice on places people are wanting to book, but they aren’t sure of what it is like! One example of this is a couple wanting to book Pattaya in Thailand for their honeymoon!

Again, the internet can only serve to give travellers better deals when they are looking for flights or holidays. I think travel agents should welcome this and start using the internet to make their work become more customer focused - I can’t help feeling sometimes that walk in high street travel agents are all about commission. I can’t see high street travel agents dying off, there will always be a market for people to buy from them, but they are being forced to raise their game as travellers are becoming better informed.

I have found web based travel agents such as e-bookers in the UK to ok when booking flights. I only ever book my flights and accommodation online. Even my parents have got up to date and they booked their yearly package holiday online and saved 20% off the price!

Which sources are the consumers going to rely on in the future?

Erm, I think I answered that in the last ramble!?

Do travel communities also make efficient sales channels?

I personally don’t like adverts popping up or people posting about their businesses, as Katie said earlier, as separate section is fine!

There you go, my opinion for what it’s worth!

Donna

8. Posted by Gelli (Travel Guru 2457 posts) 11y

I've not looked at anybodies replies, so if i'm repeating what everybody else said, my apologies.

Does the peer-to-peer internet consultation make travel agencies superfluous?

No. Travel agents are always going to have a very important role to play as either a starting point/base reference, but also for the sort of packages/trips which people on sites like this rarely use. I.e. people looking for package holidays, 2 weeks camping with the kids etc. P2P works best in delievring information/options/ideas etc, but at present at least is much more orientatated towards more independent &/or longer term travel than than normal "family" style holiday where travel agents/companies still have a roll to play (((notice how rarely, at least from my somewhat porius memory, we get peopel asking about 2 weeks camping in France, or 2 weeks on Santorini, or clubbing in Ibiza - Many people wouldn't even consider checking the web for those sorts of things, and some of them probably have no access or even interest anyway)). Agents are also a key roll to play for the more timid and those who don't want oto have to care about details, of which there will always be a big chunk

Which sources are the consumers going to rely on in the future?

Whatever they want! Internet, company brochure/websites, travel bnoards, trave agents and word of mouth, plus probably WAP etc will all have a place, and individual people will decide what they want to to rely on themselves.

Do travel communities also make efficient sales channels?

They can, but mixing selling and advice is asking for trouble. It's efficient in the fact that if somebody asks for recomendations for a hotel in Munich, they will probably get several good ones, and maybe one or two DON'T STAY HERE type replies, which whilst not 100% selling, is making/helpoing to make the decision towards an eventual sale.

9. Posted by Sam I Am (Admin 5588 posts) 11y

Hey everyone,

Thanks so much for the very detailed replies! Excellent stuff! I'll definitely be using a lot of this in the presentation. I have to say it's quite a thing to be invited to something like this.... hmm, mr. Isa, I'll be thinking about what you said while I am hanging over the toilet hehe just kidding.... i hope!

Any more ideas or thoughts, please keep them coming!

Cheers,

Sam
ps. I'll make a copy of the presentation available for anyone who wants next week :)

10. Posted by daveh (Travel Guru 1027 posts) 11y

Sam,

Just my thoughts on the one question really.

Which sources are consumers going to rely on in the future?

Whereas i believe the internet is a hugely, powerful tool and people (as this site proves) will use it more and more to plan their trip, when it comes to booking a trip i think you can break it down.

The '1st time tripper' will always want the re-assurance of the human touch and will want to sit in an office and talk about their plans with somebody who has done it, will tell them they are doing a great thing and then take their money and everybody is happy. I think the more experienced traveller will use the internet/travel agents and anything else at their disposal to basically get the deal that is most suited to there budget and plans.

I hope that in time, agents with web-sites get their fares more consistent. Too many times i have searched a flight on the net, seen it as available, phoned them only to be told a different price (sometimes cheaper!!!)