Ask anyone, someone on the street, on Facebook, in private, if they trust suppliers and sellers in travel.
In general, I believe that you will find that online and offline that there is little trust in the sale of travel products.
From the old days of selling unfinished hotels in Spain to today’s scathing comments on TripAdvisor, there is little trust out there.
The level of trust in brands is also fleeting. Just ask Toyota.
You can, however, build and develop what I term a “non-brand”, where the product is delivered unadorned as basic and the trust in the product can be absolute.
Ryanair is a very good example of this. They do absolutely nothing to support their brand other than to deliver a product that delivers against its core premise. This millennium’s version of the Five and Dime store, if you will.
All of us are forced to accept these – in reality, appalling - terms and conditions when we use a website.
And, most likely, just like driving we probably break the law/agreement every time we use a website.
To illustrate my point, here just one condition that Google © 2007 sets in your use of any Google product:
2. Accepting the Terms
- 2.1 In order to use the Services, you must first agree to the Terms. You may not use the Services if you do not accept the Terms.
- 2.2 You can accept the Terms by:
- (A) clicking to accept or agree to the Terms, where this option is made available to you by Google in the user interface for any Service; or
- (B) by actually using the Services. In this case, you understand and agree that Google will treat your use of the Services as acceptance of the Terms from that point onwards.
- 2.3 You may not use the Services and may not accept the Terms if (a) you are not of legal age to form a binding contract with Google, or (b) you are a person barred from receiving the Services under the laws of the United States or other countries including the country in which you are resident or from which you use the Services.
- 2.4 Before you continue, you should print off or save a local copy of the Universal Terms for your records.
So, just that we are clear – NO ONE IN THE USA CAN USE GOOGLE LEGALLY UNLESS THEY ARE EITHER AN EMANCIPATED TEEN OR AN ADULT.
Oh yes, and if I read the terms and conditions right, I probably broke my contract with Google by publishing this piece of information.
Besides if I use GMAIL – I probably give Google a lot of rights – because here is another section of the agreement:
By submitting, posting or displaying the content you give Google a perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive license to reproduce, adapt, modify, translate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute any Content which you submit, post or display on or through, the Services.
Thus we use Google and just about every other site on the web as we drive – i.e. we do incorrect things according to their rules unless we get caught and are forced to stop.
Too often I hear people saying that they can get the consumer to do just about anything for free.
Just give them a little stuff and they will sign away their grandmother and their first born. I have never been comfortable with that idea. It seems that in truth neither are online consumers, at least in the USA.
A recent study by the PR agency Edelman (of all people) shows that people are not willing to trade their privacy information easily.
Here are the results from the eMarketer website.
I would also like to dispel the myth that the latest adult generation – so called millennials or Generation Y – don’t care.
That is not the case. “Contrary to the popular perception that younger users embrace a laissez-faire attitude about their online reputations, young adults are often more vigilant than older adults when it comes to managing their online identities,” says Mary Madden, senior research specialist at Pew Research, in a statement.
Across all age groups, Pew found about one-fifth of social network users thought they could trust the sites at least most of the time. Trust was actually lowest among millennials, 28% of whom said they never trusted such sites, compared with 18% of over-50s.
Either they actually listen to their college counselors or they have become so jaded with the cavalier attitude to privacy and trust that they don’t trust anyone.
So let this be a lesson to all of us. Perhaps it’s about time that we started to take a higher moral ground and start delivering better trust via doing a better job in how we manage the privacy of the data rather than hiding behind arcane legalese.
Check out the YouTube Video of Richard Edelman discussing the decline in the trust of information of all kinds.
We have to do a lot better in improving our products and service. We are in the information business and we need to do better. The essence of quality needs to be delivered.
Whether it be in search or product delivery, we should do a better job of saying WHAT we will do, WHEN we will do it, and of course HOW we will accomplish it. Only if we start to do this will we start to get better trust from our users.
Until then we deserve the crap we get and no wonder why our customers click away and the look-to-book rates are so high.
Think about it.