Online travel agents and the growing quest for personalisation

Mike's Opinion:

I think the ultimate question is: How do we make consistently relevant recommendations without limiting choice? Consumers are drawn to OTA's and user review websites because of the breadth of choice, and personalization paradoxically takes choices away from them. As consumers begin to encounter personalized solutions, it may be that at first they are uncomfortable with having their choices limited, but over time become trusting of the algorithms, if indeed the algorithms work well for them. Personalization also currently favors mobile, where discovery of the perfect travel app is more dependent on a great user experience than on the web where thousands of landing pages provide Google fodder.

-Mike

Article Excerpt:

Over the past couple of years the travel technology industry has seen an explosion of online travel agents (OTAs); the vast majority claiming to be all things to all people.

It’s a trend that shows no signs of abating anytime soon.

NB: This is a viewpoint by Darren Barker, general manager for Emirates Holidays UK.

Many of the market leaders have often very similar websites, in terms of look and feel, whilst also aggregating data and offering end users no discernible point of differentiation, or benefit to choosing one over another.

While many companies strive for their competitive advantage or niche within the sector, almost all search forms end up being homogenous asking – where are you going, when, for how long and how many people.

Despite it being universally accepted that customers are looking for a personalised offer, very few booking engines yet ask different or more specific questions.

Which raises the question, how do you personalise an offer if you don’t ask personal questions?

READ THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE: Online travel agents and the growing quest for personalisation.

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