Tour operator Virgin Holidays is showing off plans this week to build a social media structure into its website, despite a network already existing within the group.
A partnership with review technology provider Digital Visitor will include a white label tool to allow customers to post photos and videos of trips and reviews of destinations.
The DV system will be included alongside the existing TripAdvisor reviews included on the Virgin Holidays site. The system is scheduled to go live in July 2010.
What may confuse some people is that Virgin Holidays decided to use a separate system other than that of sister company Virgin Atlantic's own social network site VTravalled.
VTravelled launched with a fair degree of hype in June 2009. Officials admitted in December 2009 that additional development work would be needed during 2010 as a result of feedback of users, but now say that visitor numbers have since doubled.
The main work this year has included the launch of a blog area and a bookmarking tool called Trip Pod to allow users to save content (similar to Delicious) to help plan trips within profiles. This compliments the existing content sharing functionality within the system.
All perfect fodder for a social network and user generated content tools for Virgin Holidays?
Not yet, apparently.
Virgin Atlantic officials say:
"With regard to Virgin Holidays, of course there is a will on both sides to find ways to integrate vtravelled and its assets in the next phase of development which goes beyond the provision of a white label rate and review function they are licensing through Digital Visitor."
For its part Virgin Holidays says it is pleased to be able to introduce "some great tools" into the website, but "going forward" it would be keen to utilise the VTravelled system eventually.