TripIt Opens API, Third-Party Devs Pounce; Travel Sites Lag reads the headline in MarketingVOX today. What struck me most is the last part "Travel Sites Lag". The same thing can be said about the API's already available and being developed by the new innovators for travel planning like Tripbase, Uptake, Travelmuse as well as others and DMOs.
At last week's Canada-e-Connect conference, I made a strong plea in my presentation for exactly such integration and co-operation in what is fast becoming the new focal point in online travel, the research and planning process that preceeds the actual booking. This is where 95% of the activity happens and it's about much more than search, the present pre-occupation by the online players. It's in this space, which PhoCusWright has termed the "Perfect Storm" where the most exciting developments will occur over the next few years. Today's online travel consumers demand no less than a vastly improved experience in the pre-trip phase, an experience that integrates social media, social networks, UGC, etc. all the elements that need to be integrated to offer this improved experience.
For destinations - which are at the core of the planning process - this has important implications. Rather than trying to develop all this themselves, which most of them are not capable of doing anyway as part of their web development, new and forward looking partnerships need to be developed with the innovators who are already working on making it happen. The travel industry today still lives in too many silos without enough cross communications.
The conversation which is happening among the traveling public as consumers needs to start happening in the industry itself and that goes beyond the usual good will expressed at conferences but in the strategic planning and day-to-day tactics the various players deploy on a permanent basis. As the wisdom of crowd effect is important in the public at large, it can and should be applied more within the industry itself.