Web 2.0 is a buzzword; it refers to social, architectural, and design patterns which focus on interaction between people, communities, computers and software. The web has changed from document delivery system to an application platform. Mayfield the CEO ofSocialText says "Web 1.0 was commerce. Web 2.0 is people.” Web 1.0 overloaded customers with information and increased the consumers' nonchalance towards marketing and advertising; this prompted the rise of Consumer to consumer (C2C) marketing through the web.
Web 2.0 Impacts on Travel industry
Internet has become a cornerstone to all industries; the impact of internet and specially web 2.0 has changed the way we communicate, shop, find information etc. The changes could not leave the travel industry unaffected. The second wave of travel site (travel 2.0) has blossomed after the advancement in Web 2.0. It has harnessed the same Web 2.0 “social networking” resource that made websites such as facebook.com an Internet phenomenon . What makes Travel 2.0 different from Travel 1.0 is that it is booking-oriented and it is fully interactive and it expands via user generated content. Travel 2.0 is a natural outcome of web 2.0.
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Almost everyone search online to plan their travel and many do their bookings online. Because of that the travel industries invest a lot in market in the web. Online travel advertising is one of the major contributors in ecommerce sectors. The travel industries have come up with some websites on the basis of Web 2.0, such as Travel deals publishers ( MakemyTrip, CheapTickets), Travel Review websites (Graphics ads, Trip Adviser), Online travel communities (TripMates, Gusto), MetaSearch websites (Yahoo Farechase, TravelGrove) . These websites encourage users to add video, write blog, write travel wiki, mashups and write comment etc.
This is the seven-step travel process; the first in the list is inspiration and goes on.
Travel deals publishers
Web 2.0 has changed the face of online booking globally. For most of the users Web 2.0 has done lot of good with Dynamic Packaging. Online travel portal (OTP) gives users quality information and the entire process of booking tickets, accommodation, car etc can be done in OTP. They provide a package with itinerary, reviews and comments of the users who have travelled to the place before. Then it becomes easy for the consumer to pick the package which has the highest rating.
With the advent of Web 2.0 the travel companies have realised they must incorporate rich media and tools to enrich the consumer's experience. Powerful vertical search tools will let user compare agents among variety of travel components, the best match for the user profile can be found in this process and they will be able to select, book and pay, all online and on one site.
Best western launched its own desktop application called knockknock, it consumers to reserve tickets, hotels and receive special offers and check the weather directly from their desktop without even navigating to their websites. It makes customers to engage with the brand and increase their interactive experience.
It is a virtual world where visitors can experience a Carnival cruise first hand. Today most of the consumers spend their time online; it gives user a feel of what they are going to visit .
Travel Review websites
Surveys suggest that people are more influenced by websites and reviews than traditional media to make a decision. Priceline.com only allows users to write a review if they have booked travel on their site. Consumers who write review travel a lot and be loyal to the websites. There are many travel review websites the most successful one is the Trip advisor.
TripAdvisor takes peer reviews to the next level
It works behind the power of word of mouth, peer review and the community response. It has more than 6 million registered users with 10 million reviews. Rather than getting review from unknown person TripAdvisor has enabled user to get review from their trusted peers. Users access their email address book through TripAdvisor and if there is any user in TripAdvisor as well as in the users address book, then the user invites that person to join his network and get reviews from them .
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According to the Seven-step travel process inspiration is the first step, these travel review websites inspires the consumers with the suggestion according to the user needs. If users want to go on an adventure trip in a particular region, then the websites compares the request with the reviews received from other users. Similar cases will be group and the result is fetched to the users to make the decision.
Online travel communities
The second in the cycle is research. Consumers will search as many as four websites before taking a decision. The online travel communities are the best place to do the research inorder to find more information about the travel.
In short, Web 2.0 means a better online experience for travel planners and a broader range of opportunities for marketers. Every industry needs a shake-up every 10 years or so even a mature sector of ecommerce like travel.
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