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Sarah UKFast | Account Manager

Travel Needs Trust to Survive Online

29 January 2010 by Stephen McNamara

Experts debate the travel industry online

Travel experts at the UKFast round table

Earlier this week we held a very illuminating round table discussion on the travel industry online at UKFast’s offices in City Tower Manchester.

Bringing in experts from around the UK, we had:

  • Joel Brandon Bravo, UK MD of TravelZoo
  • Richard Nash, business director at CSI Media
  • James Brooke, MD of Rooster
  • Brian Povey, tourism project manager, Mersey Partnership

With a wealth of experience from non-conflicted areas of the industry we were able to have an open and comprehensive debate about the development of travel since the advent of the web.

It’s an incredible industry to profile. One of the fastest growing and quickest to adopt new technologies, travel has set pace for e-commerce online and experienced a more extensive online development than others.

And the general consensus was that the industry is in a saturated state with real change needed. Not because of the last few years of global recession but because of a lack of exclusivity and an evolution that has removed consumer trust.

With the collapse of XL, last year saw consumers return in droves to the trusted brands of the high street, they still brought their travel online in growing proportions, but they did it with the likes of Thomas Cook and Thomson. A growing fear of online travel brands – and there are thousands of them – has made it a tough environment to operate in.

That is, unless you are offering a level of exclusivity. According to our experts, finding a niche has been one way to continue growing. We shouldn’t forget that the web grew in its infancy through the opportunities it brought for every single niche project to reach a large audience. The travel industry appears now to be recognising this potential. It is forecast to be one of the hottest strategies for 2010.

The big question is – how do you create exclusivity in an industry where hundreds of other companies could be offering the same package, flight, weekend, hotel…?

I’d love to hear people’s thoughts on this.

You can read more about the round table in the UKFast press office.