Here’s a story about a subject that I’ve given some thought to for quite a while. Any player in the supply chain can become the first point of contact for an online traveler to start the trip planning or purchasing process; airline, hotel, car rental company or destination. Who will leverage that position and offer the customer a one-stop shopping experience?
It is not surprising that travel suppliers are starting to expand their share of online travel purchasing beyond their own product. We will increasingly see airlines add hotels and car rental booking to their sites and hotels to add air, car and additional ground services. This trend to one stop online travel shopping will continue and the major supplier brands will compete with online travel agencies for the business aggressively. The question I have is, when will the destinations wake up and join in the fray?
Most online travelers start their travel research with a visit to a destination site to gather information. What prevents those destinations from offering those interested potential visitors the possibility to not only book accommodation and local transportation in their country, region, city or resort but to offer an air booking capability? Aside from technology investments it is most likely the lack of familiarity with the role of travel rather than information provider. A lost revenue opportunity if I ever have seen one, in this day and age of cross-selling. To be truly customer focused destinations will need to change their attitude if they want to stay relevant to their constituents and visitors alike.