Reading news in travel technology this morning any interested party might be a bit confused over all the smoke signals going out from online players. The New York Times suggests simply “Fewer, Bigger Travel Sites”, Expedia stocks are down on the one hand, and their mobile app is revamped a superhuman helper on the other. Meanwhile a startup called Bookt LLC takes a shot at Airbnb.com and vacations. I guess the good news is, travel technology is really still alive and doing well.
The Online Travel Field
Fewer, Bigger Travel Sites? Harriet Edelson does a nice job in her article explaining the ins and outs of online travel channels, and the apparent consolidation for some of the big players like Expedia and Priceline. The recent Kayak and Trivago acquisitions being cases in point for fewer players with more reach, this is of course logical short term analysis on her part. As for what will happen later on in “digital travel”, I think we can equate travel booking to candy bars.
For those who can remember far back past “the day”, Baby Ruth and a couple of other candy bars ruled the sweet tooth market. Then along came the 50’s and 60’s and Butterfinger, Mars, Caravelle, more Hershey derivatives, Reeses, and 100 others. Throw in Twix and some other stiff competition like Almond Joy, maybe even Mounds, oh and lest we forget, Sugar Daddy and Payday! Now, look at the candy counter at the checkout in your local Walmart.
Cyclical. The candy and online travel markets start with a few players, expand to many, then contract to a few again, and so on. This is just economics in a way. The New York Times article speaks of “mature” markets etc., while the accelerated pace of digital business is not really taken into account there. What does this mean? The cycles are moving faster these days, that’s what. I’ll leave you to ponder what happens when Google Glass goes travel, or???
Flintstones Travel Advice
Expedia lost some money recently compared to what the company could have made. This is what can be made of the report from Seeking Alpha here telling on the world’s biggest online travel player losing “momentum”, or I guess that’s what stocks plummeting means? Again, it appears we have analysis based on short sighted thinking here. If ever there were a more “cyclical” stock in travel… The term “plummeted” should be reexamined by the author or that one.
Now that that is settled, Expedia’s recent moves are not without a degree of fluff and uselessness either. I make a case in point for an announcement their excellent travel app has been “juiced” to provide still more convenience and wonder for travelers. Can I say, “give me a break” here? “Expedia Makes Travel Painless, Expands Mobile App”, and people say I am too enthusiastic and salesman like. Ingrid Sjostrand actually does a nice job of reiterating a press release here, but the big question for you the traveler is; “If travel is that painful, shouldn’t you stay home?” Granted Expedia has done a great job of juicing itineraries and the mobile experience, but would Fred and Wilma be impressed?
Pretty soon you won’t even have to travel to Machu Picchu, Expedia will make an app that takes you there, maybe in collaboration with Google Glass, or? Where’s the fun?
Cloud Based Everything
Pretty soon you’ll be able to visit your local (or not so local) “cloud based hairdresser”, your friendly “cloud based racquetball club”, even get yourself a “cloud based liver transplant”, or whatever. Is it just me, or are you sick of hearing these buzz terms? Well, just in time for debunking the New York Times’ Fewer, Bigger Travel Sites myth up there, Bookt LLC arrives to disrupt the vacation market space. Maybe.
Bookt is for vacation rental managers what online marketing innovators like WIHP Hotels is for hoteliers as channel masters. I find this news startup a bit fascinating in that the developers have interjected into a market with cutting edge technology, and technology that can be simply explained. Basically, Bookt helps vacation rental agents enter the mobile age. For those of you out there familiar with your hometown beach cottage rental peeps… Well, my pals in Charleston, SC are not exactly Mark Zuckerberg or Sergey Brin, you know? I like what Bookt is about, offering a real solution rather than some more hype heaped onto redundancy.
So, there’s a #TT #Traveltuesday roundup editorial that amounts to:
- Go ahead and start another digital travel innovation, there’s room
- Don’t worry about Expedia stock, they’re better than fine
- Think about how the Flintstones got along without an app
- Consult your family vacation rental agent about Bookt
- Have a great Travel Tuesday