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In this post, or seamless meld of my personal and professional lives, I will highlight a few user experience blips I found when booking a holiday to Austria.
On reflection, it occurs to me we might all be over-excited about new developments online. Wearable technology and cross-channel CRM are both all over tech and digital marketing news, but how far are we from websites working to the user's satisfaction?
As progress brings more examples of 'good', the 'bad' becomes even more annoying. The whole experience of booking my holiday left me realising that one of the main benefits of package holidays remains the same: they take the hassle out of having to interact with more than one service/company in the travel sector.
None of the company websites I used were bad at all, in fact, I was impressed by OBB (Austrian Rail) and Olotels, but the cumulative effect of small user experience hiccups meant that booking tickets and accommodation filled an evening with moderate pain.
Can a holiday ever truly be 'last minute' until travel sites are optimised further? Here are the problems I faced.......
Seeing an ad outdoors has a greater impact on us than one served to our laptop or phone. We come across it, 'discover it' if you want to be properly cheesy, we trust it more, and the creative is tied to a more unique and memorable set of circumstances.
This is of course debatable; there are lots of caveats, but I believe it to be true.
Bear with me on this post, there is going to be some pontificating on a Brian Cox-esque scale (for non UK readers, he's a TV broadcaster who gets very reflective about the universe).
With Wikipedia shaking up online travel with WikiVoyage, things are already changing in this essential industry at the start of 2013. As travel becomes more and more accessable and more competitive, how marketing in this space has to become more savvy and customer centric.
But what is actually going to change and how are marketers going to shift gears in the upcoming year?
Travellers from the Asia-Pacific region are leading the way when it comes to social media usage, with over 70% of APAC travellers saying they used the channel to gain inspiration for at least one element of a recent trip, compared to only 51% globally.
These figures come from recent research, the Digital Index: Travel and Tourism Study, which is based around the responses of 4,600 people from 13 different countries.
The report examines how digital technologies have contributed to fundamental changes in the tourism industry, and specifically highlights findings that demonstrate APAC respondents are ahead of average in terms of digital usage.
In today’s highly competitive market, having engaging online content is fundamental when attracting new and returning customers.
Personalisation is a great way to target your audience and tailor your website to their needs. The travel industry in particular is a perfect example of how to use data to improve overall customer service.
The online travel sector is highly competitive, and as a result its use of digital marketing has become highly sophisticated.
Consumers tend to do a lot of research into deals and destinations before making a booking, so an effective SEO strategy is vital for travel sites.
Epiphany has published a report that looks into the visibility of travel sites across Google’s paid and organic search results.
Groupon may be a multi-billion dollar company, but the daily deal market has lost quite a bit of its luster over the past year. From consumer fatigue to merchant nightmares, the daily deal isn't going away but will likely have to evolve sooner than later.
One of the ways Groupon is addressing this is by tapping into different markets. For instance, it's experimenting with outdoor kiosks that target deals to tourists in popular U.S. cities.
Eurostar is to integrate social media mentions with advertising, promoting its connection from London to Amsterdam in the run-up to the Olympics.
The brand claims to be the first to integrate real-time comments and photos from Facebook, Twitter and more with “large-scale” advertising, predicting that it will place 4,000 mentions per day onto digital screens around London and the South East
Google is running a trial that sees adverts for its own hotel comparison site placed above sponsored ads from other travel companies.
The ads for Google’s new Hotel Finder site appear at the top of premium search listings under the heading ‘comparison ad’.
A new survey underlines the growing importance of mobile for travel firms, with 17% of UK consumers having used mobile to research holidays in the last 12 months.
This is according to Tealeaf's 2011 ebooker report (registration required), which surveyed around 2,000 UK consumers.
Though 17% research travel on mobile, just 3% make a booking on their phones, which suggests travel firms need to improve their mobile services.
The internet places a massive role in the research process for travel products, with 71% of consumers having browsed for a flight, hotel or holiday in the last six months.
Wanderfly is a New York-based travel startup which recommends holidays and trips based on their interests and budget.
I've been asking Co-founder Christy Liu about Wanderfly...