this latest study done in the UK says. I find the title misleading, as the word "should" is missing. As in "travel sites should" focus on conversion, which I don't see thm actually doing. If they did, more of the tools generally described under the web 2.0 label for lack of a better term, would be seen on the major travel player's websites.
The figures in this report pretty much mirror what's been reported elsewhere in the past few months about the market, both in the UK, Europe and the U.S. In general, the public is using the web as the major travel research and planning tool and a great many want to use it also for booking. The reason they don't actually book there is due to a still very often disappointing customer experience. As long as that is the case, I doubt that the players are actually focusing on conversion but rather on attracting traffic.
What the online traveler actually doesn't need are dozens more new websites offering the latest cool web 2.0 inspired tools but only offering one part of the online travel buying experience. What's the use of a great hotel video website when the booking then has to take place on another site and the air booking on another one still, and then comes the car rental or train ticket and the dinner reservation, and it goes on and on - all on different sites!
No, what's needed for conversion to increase is a new and improved, comprehensive, one-stop shopping experience for the entire travel product. At the risk of repeating myself, as I've said this so many times in the past, a true dynamic packaging, multiple-component, multi-destination planning, research and buying experience is what customers deserve and want, although I haven't seen them describing this in any major study yet.
Eventually this will happen over the next few years, as the technology keeps evolving, with data talking to data and intelligent agents doing the hard work in the background, resulting in less work by users at the front end. The age of the semantic, or intelligent web then becomes a reality. Some will call it web 3.0, which doesn't matter as long as the reality is what brings better business results.