Web Reservations International to launch a “revolutionary” travel website!

1 05 2007

Web Reservations InternationalIf you passed by WRI’s stand at the last ITB in Berlin, you certainly saw it! The Dublin firm Web Reservations International (WRI) is about to launch a new online travel website that claims to “revolutionise the travel industry and pit it against internet giants such as Google.

WebReservations International is a well know actor of the online travel industry. They bought the famous Worldres in 2005 and is now at the head of the following major online brands: hostelworld.com, worldres.com, hostels.com and trav.com. Hostelworld provides the hostels product of RyanAir’s website (whereas Expedia provides the hotel product).

Web Reservations International CEO and Co-Founder, Ray Nolan, stated in January 2007 that “Google throws you the Yellow Pages and says go find it yourself“. Ray Nolan also had good things to say about the aggregators, stating: “For any one destination, there are probably only 10 places you really want to stay, but the aggregators will make you go through 20 pages of hotels”.

As far as we know the new website (whose name has not been revealed yet) will be a fusion of social networking, travel information (with a system of reviews) and online booking system. It has been rumored that investment for this project might be as high as €30million. WRI planned to launch the website on Wednesday (tomorrow), back up with a large marketing budget.

I can’t wait to see this new product; at least on the paper the new website looks quite challenging! I hope it will meet my our expectations… Stay tunned.

Via Sunday Business Post
———-

Directory Free
Share and Enjoy:



AC Hotels has been banned from Google!

20 03 2007

I received 2 emails today yesterday telling me that the official websites of the Spanish hotel chain AC Hotels had been banned from Google! Well, this won’t be the first time it happens to a big company, in fact depending on the changes of Google’s algorithm during the so-called Google Dance, many websites can be left behind for usually two main reasons: Poorly designed websites (from a SEO perspective) and/or abuses of SEO techniques..

A lot of companies do not have a clue why they have been banned or penalized from Google index. That’s why I will approach the case of “AC HOTELS” from different angles that respect the following assumption: “Banned from Google= Not Spidered, Not Ranked, Not Indexed”
Read the rest of this entry »

Share and Enjoy:



New Google feature: Local Business Centre

17 01 2007

I was surprised to see that some websites had snippets with their local business addresses in the pages of result of Google. If you click on the Plus Box it will expand and show up a map of the location right of your business right below the result like shown below. Clearly it makes it easy for customers to find your business online.
The hotel Aiken (by the way the hotel website uses wordpress) was the first hotel I saw using this great feature:
Hotel Aiken

Aiken 2

How does it work? Well it is quite simple, you simply have to register to the Google Local Business Centre, entering the details of your business, the category, phone number etc. You can also specify the operating business hours. It is totally free and google verifies your info via postcard! Once you have received the postcard from google, you will get a pin number that will be used to activate your account.

You can register your hotel, or travel agency right here: Google’s Local Business Centre

Share and Enjoy:



Yet another google mashup, on Tripadvisor.com

30 10 2006

Tripadvisor google mashup Another Google Mashup in the Online Travel Industry… Tripadvisor displays the hotels according to their popularity on the site and their availability (their price too?). It displays the number of reviews per hotel and the average price found among Tripadvisor partners.

I hope it will be available in more countries and more cities (not just for the US). That’s funny to see that Tripadvisor only displays the average price of the hotel for the dates selected, they have chosen not to enter into the war of the aggregators that compare travel retail sites between them to retrieve and publish the best price found for each hotel..

Share and Enjoy:



The 10 most influential people in the online travel industry

24 09 2006

The english media portal Travolution* has gathered the votes and opinions of its readers (I haven’t had time to cast my vote) to finally released a list of the 10 most influential people in the online travel industry over the past decade (tough job!).

“The final 10 is, we believe, a collection of the finest thinkers and strategists since 1996, and sometimes those just simply brave enough to try to break new ground.”

Here are 5 people selected from the list of the 10 most influential people:

  • Sergey Brin and Larry Page, Google

If you want to know who else appear on the list and WHY they appear in that list, Travolution provides an analisys/rationale.

Pierre Chappaz (and Dominique Vidal Kelkoo) did not make it to the final ranking of the 10 most influential person but was present among the 20 most influential people; see the others on Travolution.
The next big question is: Who will remain in the list in 2016? Will Google not only influence but play a more determinant role in the travel industry in the future?

Do you agree/disagree with this ranking? Have a read at the analysis page and make a comment.
* “Travolution is a new media brand for the online travel industry, from the publishers of Gazetteers Plus & Travel Weekly. It is packed with research, news and analysis on everything to do with selling, deploying and marketing travel on the web.”

Share and Enjoy:



Google will add a click-to-call feature to its ad program

6 09 2006

I can already hear some of you saying, “Google did not invent anything launching a click-to-call feature on the internet. That’s true, Google is not innovating there BUT how many hotel’s official sites offer this type of feature for their users? Not a lot, although there are companies that already propose this type of (great) services.

Basically it consists of placing a button on a webpage to allow the internet user to be called back for free immediately. The technology being involved is VoIP (Voice over IP).

Let’s take a concrete example: Imagine you are confused with the cancellation policy of a hotel just before you validate your booking online. You will probably stop the process until you have a clearer idea of the policy (or maybe you will book somewhere else). Now imagine you find a button on this page saying that if you provide your phone number (that will remain private) you will get an immediate phone call from the hotel to support you for free..

I like the way new technologies influence the hotel industry (travel industry in general) but I clearly think that a mix of those new technologies backed up with a good old phone call simply does the trick.

Click-to-callNow let’s return to the main subject; Google has launched a Click2call feature for its advertising program. It will add a small telephone icon to the ads and will connect you with the company that advertises on google. Not a revolutionary feature since Miva already created this type of feature for its ads program (see a good demo here), but considering that Google benefit from an incredible online buzz, and since I never mentioned (on this site) this kind of features then it is the right time for me to cover the topic and spread the word.

Click-to-call

If you want to try a live demo of google Click-to-call, it is currently being tested in the UK see this basic faq. (if not living in the UK just add a proxy address located in the UK to your Internet Explorer properties and type “artisan hotel” on google.co.uk).

By the way Skype (now belonging to Ebay) powers this feature; concerning Yahoo UK, it has launched in Europe its click-to-call feature in August powered by eStara.

Source of the pictures:
http://davideichholtzer.blog.lemonde.fr/davideichholtzer/2006/09/clicktocall_goo.html

Share and Enjoy: