PhocusWright2010 Travel Articles

 
PhoCusWright Center Stage LiveBlog: 18 November 2010
PhoCusWright Center Stage: 18 November 2010
PhoCusWright Center Stage LiveBlog: 17 November 2010
Phocuswright Center Stage 17 nov 2010
The Top Ideas for Travelers from the PhoCusWright Travel Innovation Summit
The Top Ideas for Travelers from the PhoCusWright Travel Innovation Summit After sitting through 33 12-minute presentations during the PhoCusWright conference Travel Innovation Summit Tuesday, our minds (those would be the minds of Sean, Jessica and Katie) are still reeling. Some of the ideas presented were pretty close to brilliant. Some were ideas we could swear we’ve seen before…several times. And some were so behind-the-scenes or tech-oriented that we either couldn’t keep up or, though travelers may benefit from them, we’ll really never know we are using them directly. So, out of 33 presentations, we’ve come up with a list of the top ideas that we think will affect travelers or that travelers can use to improve the way they travel and plan trips. Hipmunk Across the board, we loved Hipmunk for its new spin on flight search. Flight options are represented with colored bars to make it easy to distinguish each option, and nearly every possibility is shown on one page so you don’t have to flip through endless pages of options. Users can sort by price, stops and duration, or they can sort by “agony” – which combines price with number of stops and duration of the flight. You can open multiple tabs within the same window to compare different dates or airports for the same trip, or compare different trips altogether. The interface is easy (and actually fun!) […]
Inntopia: Travel Innovation Summit
Inntopia: Travel Innovation Summit Company Name: Inntopia Official Website: http://www.inntopia.com/ What do they do? Inntopia processes reservations for “Resorts, Destination Marketing Organizations, Central Reservation Agencies, Activity Providers, Web Portals and other Travel Suppliers, Aggregators, and Resellers.” It’s a reservation system for both online and phone-based booking. Are they a business-to-business (B2B) company, or business-to-consumer (B2C)? B2B Founder(s): Sterling Valley Systems, Inc. is the owner and operator of Inntopia, and is based in Stowe, Vermont. Date Founded: 1997 Presentation Notes: Inntopia provides a way to incorporate so-called “non-traditional” or “long-tail” travel products into an existing online travel search tool – things like vacation rentals and activities. The goal is to provide these non-traditional products alongside existing traditional products (such as hotels, flights, and car rentals) so that travelers could more easily book everything in one place. Inntopia believes that the vacation rentals market is already huge, and that tours/activities is the next big thing. Why should/shouldn’t travelers care? This is a system that the end user may benefit from, especially if they want a bit more flexibility over the individual components of a package trip – it would allow travelers to book each item of a package instead of just going with the travel provider had chosen. Some providers that are already using the system, however, are just using it to provide new packages with […]
Amadeus IT Group: Travel Innovation Summit
Amadeus IT Group: Travel Innovation Summit Company Name: Amadeus IT Group Official Website: http://www.amadeus.com/ What do they do? Amadeus is a travel “transaction processor;” its software runs behind the scenes of many major booking websites and is the software many travel agencies use to search for, price, book, and ticket all kinds of travel purchases. Are they a business-to-business (B2B) company, or business-to-consumer (B2C)? B2B Founder(s): Founded by a coalition of European airlines (Air France, Iberia, Lufthansa, & SAS) as a European alternative to the American company Sabre, Amadeus remains owned in part by Air France, Iberia, and Lufthansa and headquartered in Madrid. Date Founded: 1987 (went public in 1999) Presentation Notes: Amadeus is an established provider of software, but it’s software that’s used by travel agents and therefore something the average traveler will never see. They presented on a new software product, Amadeus One, that they called an “integration solution” for corporate travel. Despite the number of travelers who research and book trips online, travel agents aren’t going away – there are 79,000 in the US alone, and 49% of trips are still booked offline. 30% of tickets are exchanged, which is significantly easier with a travel agent. So this software is very targeted at corporate travel and travel agents, but it’s not a small market. Why should/shouldn’t travelers care? This is a product the […]
TrustYou: Travel Innovation Summit
TrustYou: Travel Innovation Summit Company Name: TrustYou Official Website: http://www.trustyou.com/ What do they do? Search tool designed to sift through “10 million reviews on over 200,000 hotels” to deliver results on hotels that are most relevant to your search criteria, based on other customer reviews Are they a business-to-business (B2B) company, or business-to-consumer (B2C)? B2C Founder(s): Founded by Prof. Dr. Franz Guenthner in cooperation with the Center for Information and Language Processing of the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich, of which he is the head Date Founded: March 2008 Presentation Notes: TrustYou believes the current landscape of user-generated content (especially, in this case, user-generated reviews) is “information chaos” and that their software is how this content will be filtered in the future. The three questions related to user-generated reviews that the software answers are: what reviews and information are relevant to me? what’s the best way to guide users to the information best suited to them? how can you as a provider know what people have written about you in reviews? TrustYou’s so-called “magic box” pulls content from user-generated reviews and filters blocks of text based on keywords and their “evaluative process” to create categorized information. It can even tag comments as either positive, negative, or neutral. This allows users to search the reviews for relevant information, and find specific feedback within reviews quickly. […]
gogobot: Travel Innovation Summit
gogobot: Travel Innovation Summit Company Name: gogobot Official Website: www.gogobot.com What do they do? Amalgamates personalized recommendations from friends in an easy to read, linked up format, creating a unique guidebook for each user. Are they a business-to-business (B2B) company, or business-to-consumer (B2C)? B2C Founders: Travis Katz ran the international business for MySpace, as well as IGN, Rotten Tomatoes and other Fox Interactive Media properties prior to founding gogbot. Ori Zaltzman was the chief architect of Yahoo! BOSS, and one of the lead technologists for Yahoo! Answers, in charge of content quality for one of the largest social platforms on the web. Date Founded: 2010 (in beta) Presentation Notes: gogobot operates on the premise that people want travel advice from people they know, not strangers. So gogobot allows users to get personalized recommendations from friends and take all those recommendations and put them in one place, where they can link out to attraction websites, create maps, and browse hotel prices (and then click through to booking engines). Users can also browse things to do, and see which of their friends have been there. Users then end up with a custom guidebook, curated by friends, which they can print in pdf form or take on their mobile. Why should/shouldn’t travelers care? Other sites offer the ability to browse hotels and attractions and see which of […]
Hipmunk: Travel Innovation Summit
Hipmunk: Travel Innovation Summit Company Name: Hipmunk Official Website: http://www.hipmunk.com/ What do they do? Hipmunk is an airfare search tool that provides results in a way unlike other search sites. It’d designed to make the airfare selection process faster for the traveler. Flights are then booked through Orbitz. Are they a business-to-business (B2B) company, or business-to-consumer (B2C)? B2C Founder(s): The founders of Hipmunk are Steve Huffman (co-founder of Reddit) and Adam Goldstein (co-founder of BookTour). Date Founded: 2010 Presentation Notes: Hipmunk is a new flight metasearch site. Existing problems of other search sites include too many results to digest, deceptive pricing, and sponsored search “results” – Hipmunk’s goal is to eliminate all of those issues. The Hipmunk page uses 80% of the screen for search results by filtering out most of the results by default. You can choose to show them, but options that are considered “worse” are hidden by default on the results page. Flight options are represented graphically with colored bars to make it easy to distinguish different characteristics of each option. Users can sort by price, like other search tools, but they can also sort by “agony” – which combines price with things like the number of layovers that are required. Sliders on the results page allow users to eliminate flights before or after certain times of the day instantly, right […]
Bonvoy: Travel Innovation Summit
Bonvoy: Travel Innovation Summit Company Name: Bonvoy Official Website: http://www.bonvoy.com/ What do they do? A Facebook app that assists with planning group trips among your contacts. Are they a business-to-business (B2B) company, or business-to-consumer (B2C)? B2C Presentation Notes: Bonvoy says small group trip planning can be info overload – travelers end up with a flooded inbox and possible frustration as they collaborate on the schedule, decide on booking and then try to wrangle everyone into paying their share. Bonvoy tries to simplify the process by allowing friends to do it all on Facebook. They take trip planning “out of the inbox and onto Facebook” where everyone is already. The program allows people to plan, book, and split the cost of the trip, all within the Facebook application. Why should/shouldn’t travelers care? Do we really need another tool to plan and book travel? Probably not. But for organizing trips among your friends, Bonvoy looks like it could be very useful and eliminate a lot of hassle, especially when it comes to dividing up the cost and getting everyone to pony up their share of the bill.
Vacation Relation: Travel Innovation Summit
Vacation Relation: Travel Innovation Summit Company Name: Vacation Relation Official Website: http://vacationrelation.com/ What do they do? Vacation Relation will use existing social tools to allow users to “investigate the social aspects of their vacation” before they leave home. Using the site, travelers will be able to find out who else will be at their vacation destination. Are they a business-to-business (B2B) company, or business-to-consumer (B2C)? B2C Founder(s): Peter Sullivan and David Los are the founders of Vacation Relation, and the company is based in Stockholm, Sweden. Date Founded: 2010 Presentation Notes: Everyone wants to incorporate social media in travel planning, but your friends on Facebook who aren’t going on your trip may not care about your trip. The people who will care about your trip are other people who are going to be at the same place you’ll be going. Vacation Relation allows you to use the social media platforms you’re already using (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn) to connect with people who are going to the same place you’re going. When you enter information about an upcoming trip into Vacation Relation, you’ll see the other people who have also added themselves to a similar trip. It pulls information from their profiles into Vacation Relation, so you don’t have to be (for instance) Facebook friends in order to “socialize” with them on Vacation Relation. You can also […]
Lixto Software: Travel Innovation Summit
Lixto Software: Travel Innovation Summit Company Name: Lixto Software Official Website: http://www.lixto.com/ What do they do? Lixto extracts specific and precise data from the web to “drive operational performance and real-time competitive price visibility for travel & transport, consumer products and automotive supply chain clients.” Are they a business-to-business (B2B) company, or business-to-consumer (B2C)? B2B Founder(s): Christian Köstler is responsible for Sales & Marketing and Professional Services at Lixto. Most recently, Christian was Sales Director Automotive Europe with Agile Software (AGIL). Marcus Herzog received his PhD from the Vienna University of Technology. Marcus started his professional career working for a number of companies, including Siemens AG, in the information technology sector in engineering. Date Founded: 2001 Presentation Notes: Lixto’s software harvests data from the web, consolidates and analyzes it for customers. As a non-techie, a lot of the presentation went right over my head (or maybe it was that it was 8 hours into the day when they took the stage), but it looked to me like a more comprehensive Google Analytics for pricing analysis. Why should/shouldn’t travelers care? If you can’t tell from the description of what Lixto does (above), it’s B2B business, with no application (that I could see) for individual travelers.
vtopics: Travel Innovation Summit
vtopics: Travel Innovation Summit Company Name: vtopics, by Corporate O Official Website: http://www.vtopics.com/, http://corporate-o.com/visualguide/ What do they do? vtopics represents a new way to search the web, and a way for companies to advertise to a targeted group of people at the same time. For each of the 20 subjects on the main vtopics page, the company is looking for strategic partners – and then those companies will be able to place advertising in several places on each of the vtopics pages they are partnering with. Among the 20 subjects is a travel page. Are they a business-to-business (B2B) company, or business-to-consumer (B2C)? B2B Founder(s): Carlos Cayon Date Founded: 2010 Presentation Notes: vtopics calls itself “The Site of Sites,” and is a visual way to search the internet. Instead of getting infinite text-based results on a topic, you click on one of the subjects on the main page of vtopics and get a horizontally-scrollable display of 10 websites considered “top sources” on that subject. You can narrow the subject by the drop-down menu, or by typing additional keywords into the search bar at the top of the page – and there’s a line of thumbnails at the top of the page so you can easily get from one website to another without needing a horizontal scrolling bar. If those 10 websites don’t have what […]
Stash Hotel Rewards: Travel Innovation Summit
Stash Hotel Rewards: Travel Innovation Summit Company Name: Stash Hotel Rewards Official Website: http://www.stashrewards.com/ What do they do? Stash is a hotel rewards program that’s designed to let travelers use the rewards points they earn at independently-run hotels in the United States. This gives travelers the ability to book more unique hotels while still earning rewards points. Are they a business-to-business (B2B) company, or business-to-consumer (B2C)? B2C Founder(s): Jeff Low is the founder of Stash, and serves as the company’s CEO. Prior to founding Stash, Low created and ran Expedia’s ThankYou program and created the Expedia credit card. Date Founded: 2010 Presentation Notes: Stash is a new way to connect independent hotels via a rewards currency program in a similar way that chain hotel rewards programs have and that doesn’t currently exist. With chain hotel rewards programs, it’s always the same number of points that a traveler would be “charged” for a room, regardless of the time of year – so hotel chains just black out the more expensive dates. With Stash, hoteliers are able to change the number of points required for a room at different times of year, so there aren’t any blackout dates. Stash also gets travelers to free rooms more quickly than chain hotel programs. There are currently 100 hotels in the program, with 125 more in the pipeline. Jeff Low, founder […]
TripTelevision: Travel Innovation Summit
TripTelevision: Travel Innovation Summit Company Name: TripTelevision Official Website: http://www.triptelevision.com/ What do they do? Provides a complete solution that enables online travel marketers to increase revenue, retention, and consumer satisfaction through a combination of video and Emmy-Award winning, patented technology. Are they a business-to-business (B2B) company, or business-to-consumer (B2C)? B2B Founder(s): President and CEO, Kulin Strimbu is a travel industry veteran bringing over 20 years of sales, marketing, and technology experience to her role. Before establishing TripTelevision, she was Vice President and co-founder of Invivio, a software integration consulting company that focused on combining disparate technologies for Fortune 100 organizations. Prior to Invivio, Kulin was the National Director of Sales for the largest tour operator in North America, The Mark Travel Corporation (TMTC). Presentation Notes: When a film crew shoots footage of a destination or attraction, there’s a 10 to 1 excess ratio – meaning that for every minute of film used in the final video, there are 10 minutes of film that end up on the cutting room floor. Travel marketers and businesses need film footage, but may lack the budget to send a professional film crew to a destination. TripTelevision forms content partnerships, taking the excess film from shoots done by CVBs and cable tv and independent film producers and re-purposing it to sell to marketers. Online marketers get content to edit […]
Vayant: Travel Innovation Summit
Vayant: Travel Innovation Summit Company Name: Vayant Official Website: http://www.vayant.com/ What do they do? Vayant has a new airfare search tool that will run behind the scenes of both online and offline distributors. The company says they deliver higher ROI for its customers by delivering more targeted results that travelers are more likely to book, and that they will be “launching with a well-known meta-search engine.” Are they a business-to-business (B2B) company, or business-to-consumer (B2C)? B2B Founder(s): The CEO of Vayant is Atanas Z. Christov, a former senior consultant at Kinsey working with the world’s leading airlines. The company has offices in New York, Madrid, and Sofia, Bulgaria. Date Founded: [couldn't find this information] Presentation Notes: Vayant OneSearch is a search tool that “maximizes choice” for the traveler without multiple searches. One single search would yield results that include multiple providers, unrelated airlines, different classes of travel, etc. – so one traveler could fly coach on one leg and business class on another, or fly two different unrelated carriers on one trip. These options are presented to the traveler based on an online profile that’s created (but apparently not necessarily stored) and the information the traveler puts into a specific search – travelers are assigned “personalities” from this information. Customer preferences are used as criteria to start the airfare search, rather than a filter […]
Limos.com: Travel Innovation Summit
Limos.com: Travel Innovation Summit Company Name: Limos.com Official Website: http://www.limos.com/ What do they do? Online limousine reservation service that allows users to compare fast, free quotes from the world’s best limo services. Are they a business-to-business (B2B) company, or business-to-consumer (B2C)? B2C Presentation Notes: Limos.com isn’t all about limousines just in the traditional sense, they also offer booking for other types of private cars and drivers. Limos.com ask why it is that in the taxi category the process for booking is not as easy as booking a hotel or flight, with info and prices easily searchable online.  The problem is that most consumers have a choice of a local company that they can book over the phone and that offers good prices and service, or a national company that offers reliable service and online booking but that charges a premium for it. Limos.com addresses that problem by working with the best best local suppliers and making them compete online for business so that consumers get the best price. The benefit to the consumer is that they can order a car service online from a list of pre-screened suppliers and read user-generated reviews about each service to help them make their decision. Consumers just input the dates, the reason for the car (airport trip, wine tour, special event, etc) and then select the car that […]
Goby: Travel Innovation Summit
Goby: Travel Innovation Summit Company Name: Goby Official Website: http://www.goby.com/ What do they do? An “inspiration engine,” Goby shows you things to do nearby and around the world. Are they a business-to-business (B2B) company, or business-to-consumer (B2C)? B2C Founder(s): Prior to starting Goby, CEO Mark Watkins led Engineering & Professional Services for Endeca, a provider of search and information access solutions for the online arms of companies such as Borders, IBM and American Express.Vince Russo, Goby’s CTO and co-founder is the former CTO with Reprise Media, a leading full service search engine marketing firm. Michael Stonebraker, a Goby co-founder, is a pioneer in database and research technology, with more than twenty-five years of experience. Mujde Pamuk is a product architect and co-founder of Goby who previously worked as a research scientist at Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Presentation Notes: Goby is an “inspiration engine” that answers the question “what is there to do?” The program finds things to do using local search, social networks, travel sites and mobile, taking information, photos, and reviews from the around the web for each attraction and putting them all in one place. There are over 350 categories of things to do, from restaurants and attractions to museums and tours. The program also puts each item on a map, adds it to a […]
OneRez: Travel Innovation Summit
OneRez: Travel Innovation Summit Company Name: OneRez Official Website: http://www.onerez.com/ What do they do? OneRez is a database of hotels and car rental companies that qualify for the US government’s definition of “small and disadvantaged businesses” (SDBs). Government departments and contractors can use this database to fulfill their SDB requirements easily. It’s the only SDB database for the travel industry. Are they a business-to-business (B2B) company, or business-to-consumer (B2C)? B2B Founder(s): Brian MacKenzie, OneRez President & CEO, has a background in federal government contracting. Date Founded: 1998 Presentation Notes: OneRez thinks that not only will having a list of small business hoteliers, car rental agencies, and other travel-related companies benefit governments with SDB requirements to fill, it will also provide people who try to be socially conscious when they travel with another way to be responsible – by supporting small, local businesses. OneRez is the only small business database in travel, and they call themselves “the source for socially responsible travel.” The system also allows business owners to post information about themselves (similar to a Facebook profile), so travelers can learn more about a hotel owner before they choose that hotel. Major chain hotels that operate with a franchise model have endorsed OneRez. They charge an annual membership fee, but that’s not the whole revenue model. Why should/shouldn’t travelers care? Eco-travel is increasingly popular, […]
Off & Away: Travel Innovation Summit
Off & Away: Travel Innovation Summit Company Name: Off & Away Official Website: http://www.offandaway.com/ What do they do? Off & Away uses a new type of auction called a bid-to-win auction, where you compete for an amazing suite at an unheard of price – up to 99% off. Are they a business-to-business (B2B) company, or business-to-consumer (B2C)? B2C Founder(s): Doug Aley has over 10 years of product, marketing, and business development experience across online retail, mobile, and web applications. Prior to Off & Away, Doug was VP of Marketing and Business Development at Jott Networks (sold to NUAN ’09). Prior to Jott, Doug led product management efforts in retail and digital categories at Amazon.com. Michael Walton spent his career focused on building amazing customer experiences at companies like Orbitz Worldwide, where he lead the CRM & personalization efforts for Orbitz.com and Cheaptickets.com, and Amazon.com in their Digital Media division. Presentation Notes: Off and Away offers one of the freshest ideas in travel that I’ve seen in a while. Instead of bidding in a traditional auction, users bid, but never really lose.  How it works: users buy bids for $1 each. Each bid on a hotel suite adds up to 20 seconds of time to the clock and increases the bid amount by 10 cents. If you win, you pay the final price. If you lose, the […]
AFAR Media: Travel Innovation Summit
AFAR Media: Travel Innovation Summit Company Name: AFAR Media Official Website: http://www.afar.com/ What do they do? AFAR Media is a travel media company focused on “experiential travel,” and the product line consists of AFAR Magazine as well as the AFAR Foundation (designed to help students who wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford it have study abroad and cultural exchange experiences) and a soon-to-be-launched website called AFAR Connect (intended to help travelers connect with similar people on the road). Are they a business-to-business (B2B) company, or business-to-consumer (B2C)? B2C Founder(s): Greg Sullivan and Joe Diaz; Greg is a former corporate securities attorney and investment banker turned entrepreneur, and Joe is a former teacher and real estate investor. Date Founded: 2009 Presentation Notes: AFAR was presenting AFAR Connect at the conference, which they described as “eHarmony meets TripAdvisor.” Rather than a new source of travel information, the goal of AFAR Connect is to be a new way to sort that information so that you only see what’s relevant to you. AFAR Connect asks members to fill out a profile and they are then assigned to one of 30 different travel profiles within the system. Connecting with other people in your same profile allows you to find like-minded travelers to share information and travel tips with. You can follow other members who share your interests, so you can […]
Kukunu: Travel Innovation Summit
Kukunu: Travel Innovation Summit Company Name: Kukunu Official Website: http://www.kukunu.com/ What do they do? Build your itinerary across cities before planning all aspects of your trip, such as hotels, restaurants, landmarks or activities. Work together with travel partners to plan your trip, accessing over 100,000 hotels and 200,000 activities, restaurants and landmarks. Are they a business-to-business (B2B) company, or business-to-consumer (B2C)? B2C Founder(s): CTO Gerald Goldstein has a degree in engineering and a PhD in physics. CEO Itamar Lesuisse was a consultant for The Boston Consulting Group before meeting his passion for the web at Amazon. Date Founded: 2010 (in beta) Presentation Notes: According to Kukunu, the average traveler spends 28 days on 20 different websites  from search to booking and over 50% of the people report that the process is unpleasant. Kukunu aims to change that, allowing users to share trip planning, add cities to a calendar and map, build an itinerary add transport like car rentals and flights, and make plans for things to see and do – together.  Users can broadcast their plans within their social network and friends can comment and add their input on the trip; Facebook comments integrate into the trip info stores on Kukunu. Why should/shouldn’t travelers care? Kukunu says it offers technology to make travel planning simple and social and that it will “change the way […]