Travel 2.0

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Travel 2.0, was used as early as December 2003 on a posting on the Planeta Web 2.0 Discussion Forum[1] and is an offshoot of the Web 2.0 phenomenon. Like many other industries, the online travel industry is currently in transition, adapting to new technologies and trends available on the Internet.[2]

Travellers, for their part, are becoming increasingly more interested in finding the opinions and reviews of their fellow travellers in lieu of professional travel advice.[3] . This impact is significant given the travel sector's economic influence on the Internet, indeed more money is spent on travel than anything else online. Roughly two-thirds of Americans research and plan travel online and approximately the same amount book online as well.[4] The online travel industry breaks down into several different categories: online travel agents, online travel guides, online travel planners, and online travel communities and forums.[5] Together, these four groups make up the bulk of what are considered Travel 2.0 companies.

Travel 2.0 is a term that represents the extension and customization of the concept of Web 2.0 into a form that applies to the world’s largest industry: travel and tourism. It defines a transformation of online offerings into a new level of user empowerment and functionality. More than “Move to the Internet” as a platform, though, it is about how business forces that characterized Web 1.0 are yielding power, influence and eyeballs to the socially oriented Web 2.0. For Web 2.0, Tim O’Reilly described the following new models or different approaches that illustrated the divide between 2.0 and 1.0.[6]


The world has seen a migration of technical capabilities from slow, single process chips, 1200 baud modems, big, heavy monitors, and expensive memory and storage to dual core processors, DSL and cable modems with broad market penetration, cheap memory and storage and flat screen monitors. This has enabled Web democracy, allowing the presence of a one-person site to be as influential as a mass media outlet. The result is an online social revolution where friends and strangers can connect, share and communicate.

As described in 2006 by Philip Wolf, president and CEO of PhoCusWright Inc.,[7], a travel research firm, Travel 2.0 as built on Web 2.0, is defined by five key tenets:

  1. Complete transparency in data, in pricing, in content, in imagery. Goofy pricing schemes are exposed. Resorts marketing themselves on the beach must reckon with being one block away. Flea bags are revealed, piercing the veil of professional photography. Transparency is code for truth. "A funny thing about the truth," goes a Chinese proverb, "the more you stretch it, the easier it is to see through it."
  2. Peer collaboration. C2C. Whatever verb you fancy – engage, interact, communicate – people are digging other people in untold ways. The social networking floodgates have opened: a positive advancing force holding great promise for travel, tourism and hospitality. Your company is actually the enabler of CRM which occurs between consumer and consumer. Personalization is now about helping customers connect with other customers so they ultimately get what they want.
  3. Basic, time-honored things have become much easier. For example, clipping articles for your dream 25th anniversary trip, getting recommendations from friends and friends of friends, sharing photos, and scrap booking have all been around for years. Today, however, they are accomplished in fundamentally better ways.
  4. Speed. During the 1.0 era, skeptics argued the old way was faster. Today, a Google desktop search, discovering where you can go anywhere in the Caribbean for $800 in December, getting targeted advice… all happen at lightning speed. Advanced underlying technologies and increasingly powerful systems make this reality.
  5. Predictive information. This final tenet is the most elusive but may prove the most powerful. Intelligent systems with personal advisory features tailor responses in uncanny ways. If we all searched the keyword phrase "luxury hotel new york city", everyone would receive the same results, despite some thinking $250 per night is luxury, some thinking $590 is and some thinking $2,500 is luxury. Whichever technique is deployed, user profiling, vertical search, tag cloud matching or click-stream analysis, applying predictive information will make a huge difference.

Or in short:

  1. Transparency
  2. Collaboration
  3. Better Basics
  4. Speed
  5. Predictability

The foundation for and the technical migration from "your father’s Web" to present day Web 2.0 looks like this:

  • Web 2.0: All the elements become remixed with loosely connected content, rich user experiences and the interaction of social and commercial networks (the Long Tail business models, visualization and syndication enabled by advanced user interfaces and advanced by contextual and behavioral advertising.
  • Web 1.5: Social network functionality is enhanced by group-forming networks featuring folksonomies, permalinks and anonymity, and commercial network functionality is extended by mashups featuring open APIs and standard XML.
  • Web 1.0: Self-publishing/broadcasting and peer-to-peer sharing are enabled by social networks, major online brands and aggregated commercial content are enabled by commercial networks.

Travel 2.0 is the deployment of personal and business Web sites that embrace the above tenets and are built on the illustrated technology foundation. Some examples are Farecast, Toowist, Kayak, Travelocity, Expedia, TripAdvisor TravelPod, sNOWsh and Starwood Hotels. Travel 2.0 is a natural outcome of Web 2.0, as the following table illustrates (Web 2.0 elements are from Tim O'Reilly's Web 2.0 article):

Web 2.0 Travel 2.0
Strategic Positioning: Strategic Positioning:
The Web as Platform The source of content will be the Web
User Positioning: User Positioning:
You control your own data Users maintain travel profiles, personal information
Core Competencies: Core Competencies:
Services, not packaged software Web 2.0 Travel sites will either be services providers, services consumers or both
Architecture of participation Technology and business models will support interconnectivity and aggregation of services from many sites
Cost-effective scalability Traditional technology is too expensive: Travel companies need to learn from the likes of Google, ITA and Amazon how to contain technology costs
Remixable data source and data transmissions Services are designed to be remixed including the resultant service
Software above the level of a single device It is not just the browser anymore: It is the car nav device, the Blackberry, the cellphone, the iPod, etc.
Harnessing collective intelligence The volume of content that can be collectively garnered from users far exceeds the editorial ability of the staff of even the largest Web sites

Even while Travel 2.0 matures, Travel 3.0 is beginning to emerge. In this case, rather than following the trends of the overall Web (Travel 2.0 built on Web 2.0), the travel element is leading, providing the proving grounds for Web 3.0.

See also


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