To coincide with the mammoth Tnooz Predictions 2010 article, Tnooz asked people around the industry to gaze into their own crystal balls to forecast some of the key developments for the next 12 months.
The final article in this five-part series features Andy Owen-Jones (chief executive of Traveltainment), Ben Jackson (chief executive of TourAbout) and airline consultant Al Lenza.
- From website to web presence - The internet is now multi-dimensional. Travel brands will adopt a richer web presence. As social media, self service tools, etc become important web presence is more complex. OTAs, Tour Operators, Search and new models will all "mash" together in new and unforeseen ways. This will change the boundaries of companies and expose the strengths and weaknesses of business models, culture and technology. Communication will be immediate and direct with customers increasing creativity but making "control" very difficult.
- Some tour operators will be transformed by social media - Customers will become overwhelmed with data and will seek out a combination of interpretation, selection and editorial reflected through the shopping process. Recommendation brands will grow and may reinvigorate tour operators. The tour operators have the chance to extend the "social" interaction and learning from customers during a trip in the way pure retailers cannot. Those who do not hear the messages of their customers (reviews, interaction, rich data) will turn into commodity, price driven players fighting in dynamic packaging wars.
- The year mobile becomes main stream - People have been talking about the mobile web for 10 years and 2010 will be a tipping point. The percentage of searches and bookings from mobile apps will become significant. Kayak is moving into mobile transactions and allocating 20% of its development resource to mobile. Companies need to be serious about addressing their mobile users with dedicated mobile apps and not just skinning their html apps. The iPhone will be the #1 platform. A major cell phone manufacturer will close or post significant losses.
- The rise of the Semantic 3.0 Marketplace - Whilst companies continue to try and engage in the social web more startups will emerge that interweave the social and commerce webs. These will be vertical communities that include Context, Personalization, Search and Commerce, allowing consumers to control and engage directly with companies. Brands will move from reactive monitoring of Twitter like streams to more proactive and contextual engagement with potential customers.
- Ancillary product/service transactions will have double digit growth, most of it sold outside GDSs, leading to increasing dis-aggregated content.
- Mobile is going to overtake laptops/netbooks/PCs for procuring travel and other key industry transactions.