When Douglas Quinby of PhoCusWright (Senior Director, Research), took four travel industry professionals to task in a roundtable discussion of heavy hitting topics, it was a fast moving thirty minutes. In the hot seat today were:
- Jeff Fagnan, Partner, Atlas Ventures
- Brad Gerstner, Founder and CEO, Altimeter Capital and Chairman and Founder, Room 77
- Noreen Henry, SVP, Global Partner Services, Travelocity Global
- Kevin May, Editor, Tnooz.
With little time to elaborate on the pithy and provocative topics, the panelists shared their thoughts and opinions thoughtfully and succinctly. If you missed it, or simply want to revisit the conversation, then consider this the spot to stop. I’m going to focus on the first three topics discussed as the fourth point was cut off by the clock. By all means, share your thoughts about the conversation in the comments below!
- Don’t try to be social. WHOA. What? Trust me, when a social media gal such as myself hears a quote from Facebook investor Roger McNamee starting with these words, my interest is piqued. Douglas asked the panelists to agree or disagree with this statement and the general thoughts were:
- It is hard to compete with the existing social media platform giants so perhaps creating yet another one is asking for failure
- Think of ‘social’ as more than a platform. Social should be woven and threaded into all parts of travel business, not seen as a stand alone. Social. Mobile. Cloud. Big data. You can’t survive on being just one of these.
- Everyone’s talking about Google. When asked how Google Flight Search (GFS) stacks up out of the gate, the panelists rated it a 4 on average on a scale of 1-10. (10 being awesome, and awesome being a word banned from being spoken at PhoCusWright). Jeff was the most generous, awarding GFS a 7/10 for the speed, level of complexity, cleanliness and compelling interface. But what does this mean for Google? Well, the second part to the question discussed Google travel as a whole, and new start ups looking to build travel search functionality to compete with Google might be in for a tough fight. Existing big travel search brands such as Kayak, Orbitz and TripAdvisor have their established brands on their sides to help with smoother sailing ahead.
- What about daily deals/flash sales? Following the number of travel companies, ‘experts’, brands and consultants that I do on Twitter, I sure see a lot of offers in my feed in the run of a day. Travel distribution groups are aware that people love a deal, and so are leveraging the ebbs and flows of supply and demand. It was felt that there should be room for everyone to play in this pool, and that those with an established presence clearly have an edge.
Clearly there were other topics not covered, and much more to be said about those listed above. Thirty minutes barely gave the audience a taste of what could be a 7 course meal. None the less, it was a great little bite into hot button conversation among professionals in travel. You can view the recording here.
I’m curious. What did you think?
Jenn Seeley is a Community Engagement Specialist in the Travel vertical trying to make her way around the world both virtually and physically through social media. Connect with her @jenn_seeley