is the title of a new Forrester Report that Travel Weekly’s Arnie Weismann comments on. If by “humanizing” the report means to say that the clock needs to be turned back to a pre-digital travel experience, it seems to me as a non-starter. Commodity products / services such as an airline seat can no longer be sold profitably that way. We might as well feel nostalgic about the black rotary phone!
In the much discussed area of complex travel, the human element in the form of an expert travel counsellor still plays a role and will also in future, using the digital tools available to the trade as well as the public. This added value will gladly be paid for by many travelers who mostly are time, not information, starved. As long as the digital experience to research, plan and book such travel is not improved, this is where the humanizing plays out.
Now, what will happen in this context, as the technology being developed for the next phase of the web as it evolves beyond 2.0 in the next five to ten years remains to be seen. With the advent of this semantic web, data will become more intelligent and online travel technology will become more than what today is still often the cumbersome melding of legacy systems with web 2.0 mashups and user generated content, all thrown in the mix.
Will this make for a more “humanized” experience? Probably not, but the digital experience will be so much improved that it might actually feel that way.