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Uncertain future for trip planning websites?

Hotel Distribution, Hotel Marketing

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Trip planning continues to be a rocky path but stubborn in its intentions to keep going.

Trip planning websites address the inherent need of a traveller to “book everything” at one go in one place. Everyone is keen to reduce the time spent on travel planning but at the same time to make all the right choices.

We all know how easily we get distracted when we start an online search. The time required to pull off a great summer holiday or even a simple weekend city break (short break and so more pressure to get it right) is massive. Even the most internet and travel savvy person spends hours online before booking a flight and hotel in addition to planning activities at the destination.

Trip planning websites emerged as the solution by bringing together all the moving parts of a holiday in one place. But does it really work? I took a closer look at the options to figure out where trip planning may be headed!

So what has really changed to make trip planning websites more viable?

Over the last decade, travellers have become overwhelmed by choices. And the benefits of curation have become more apparent. Less is more!

Trip planning websites may not offer the choice of hotels that Booking.com offers, but it may well offer a more select list which fits in with the overall interests of that specific trip.

Connectivity between platforms and technologies allow faster integration and faster results with search. This has allowed companies to combine search results which feature multiple products from multiple vendors.

Growth in data analytics supported by improvements in artificial intelligence means that it is now possible to identify a traveller need better. Increased use of mobile offers the possibility of booking trips anytime, anywhere.

Some of you may remember the clunky (looking at it in 2019) early efforts from Hotels.com and Travelocity almost a decade ago at helping traveller choose better.

For the modern-day traveller, speed and convenience are critical. So is the originality of the travel experience.

Trip planning websites offer inspiration to travel promising experiences more than just a trip. They offer a faster, more relevant and convenient way to plan. And equally importantly, deliver the speed to save a lot of time.

So does this all add up? Do trip planning websites deliver on these needs and expectations?

Unfortunately, the answer is no – not yet anyway! Many companies have entered the space at different stages with varying approaches, but it still has not gained the traction it deserves.

Does this mean it is no longer a trend that is unlikely to survive? I believe trip planning websites still have a strong case to survive and grow.

The hunger for easy trip planning is still very strong. And the convergence of technologies makes it increasingly feasible. The influence of artificial intelligence technologies in personalisation and need recognition is being felt and utilised across the world.

So who are the players? Click here to access the directory of trip planning websites.

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