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Travel online doesn't need a regulated directory

Article date: Tue, 07 Feb 2006 15:31 GMT

Lawrence Jones believes .travel is too lateThe web's new .travel domain opened last week, but the Internet's 'Best Host' advises sites to ignore the money making scheme. Lawrence Jones, of Manchester's UKFast, hosts many of the UK's top travel websites. He believes the savvy online consumer has already created their own directory. "The majority of companies, such as British Airways are buying .travel names only to secure them against competition," says Jones. "The real priority is to build brand loyalty with the price conscious consumer and it into personal bookmarks. An official directory will reduce, not inspire, competition." UKFast undertook research into user habits when booking travel on the web and discovered that 74% of consumers develop personal lists. "The majority of online travel buyers rarely search on one website alone but have their own directory of favourites," says Jones. For dynamic packages (E.g. flight and hotel) the average selection is three. The most popular grouping is Expedia.co.uk, Lastminute.com and Opodo.co.uk. It's different when searching for flights only. Having found the flight they want, the savvy shopper leapfrogs from one site to the next, reaching the best possible deal. Some people may go through 10 or more options for the same flight. "With bookmarking resources like del.icio.us and search engines such as Google, the majority of consumers have already decided how to find the bargains on the web," says Jones. "The real challenge is to get your brand into these lists by consistently delivering the best choice and most competitive prices." "The American travel conglomerate running the .travel domain is joining the web market late and simply looking to capitalise on those who are already achieving," believes Jones. "If ICANN really want to help the travel industry they should advise the less successful sites on how to boost their content and speed to get a foot hold in an already developed market." For more information or to arrange an interview with Lawrence Jones please contact Jonathan Bowers
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