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Travel Distribution Summit report

Differentiation, new technologies and transfer of experiences through the Internet is crucial

LONDON – REPORT: The Travel Distribution Summit in Europe 2005 took place in the Business Design Centre

LONDON – REPORT: The Travel Distribution Summit in Europe 2005 took place in the Business Design Centre in Islington, London between the 7th and 8th of June and highlighted a number of issues related to the travel and tourism industry.

The eTourism Society Seminar was presented on the 8th of June of which main tourism distributors of the Preferred Hotels Group, the Hilton International, the Yahoo!Travel/ Kelkoo and the Tiscover attended.

The first point of the day focused on intermediaries. The representatives indicated that the intermediaries who cooperate with them need to add up value to the products and services provided to consumers. Of course, relationship management has to exist between the players of the industry for the best possible results as well as Customer Relationship Management (CRM) in order to maintain a good quality profile for current and potential customers.

Furthermore, the hotel distributors mentioned the rate structure of the flexible rooms as well as that for the value rooms and specifically spotlighted penalty procedure when decision is made to cancel current reservations. Additionally, at this part of the conversation price issues were taken into consideration and the seminar`s speakers stated the fact that the price is mainly time sensitive. In contrast, the need to check in everyday basis the price rate of their competitors arose.

Continuing, another point signified that the content format (e.g. text, pictures) that tourism distributors use in their websites is of great importance as it affects consumer behaviour while searching and shopping online. Some prefer to make things even simpler for users, providing them with smaller search engines to avoid confusion and find the exact requested product and service. At the end of the day consumers understand the value of chosen distributor and can get a complete shopping experience.

During the discussion it was noted that all players of the tourism industry using new technologies need to focus on being part of the community and allow users to come back in order to say what they think regarding the service or extraordinary service offered to them by the hotels. In specific, some distributors` websites allow people to visit linked web pages in which they can say stories regarding their travel experiences.

Moreover, the representatives referred to the offline operators. In particular, due to the evolution of new adaptable technologies and mainly user-friendly websites, the calling up to offline operators is decreasing. On the other hand though, a percentage of people will always require further communication and in reality, offline operators are going to be the ones that will offer it.

Upon completion, the representatives provided advice to the industry`s intermediaries. Pointed out the need to be up to date with the new technologies entering the world marketplace, extend connectivity, keep control of margins and costs and use quality management techniques that will deliver the required results. As a final point it was mentioned that although the need to work in partnership in order to become successful exists, still one of the main attributes should always be the willingness to differentiate themselves.

Theodore Koumelis
Co-Founder & Managing Director - Travel Media Applications | Website

Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.