18 December 2010

eDigital Research Online Benchmarks Suspect

I am a big user of online travel websites. Not just because its my business but because in true fashion I eat my own dog food.

I have to say that the latest etravel benchmark results from eDigital Research leave me a little cold.

In the past I have questioned their methodology. But then perhaps the issue is that the general service sucks in Online Travel Sites. I find so many things that are just - well obnoxious to a consumer.

Annoying popups are thankfully a think of the past. Well almost - they still appear. They are almost so extinct that it might be time to bring one or two of them back!!!

But seriously almost every site I go to seems to annoy me. I cannot possibly be alone. There are very few sites that I cannot break or cause a failure.

I still find BA's site hard to navigate. In discussing the issues with the online chaps there - and nice they are too - they clearly are very passionate about what they are doing - however I find silly things like widget swap over from one side to the other. Also there is a strong need to make the navigation simpler and more logical. One can get lost. I do. Frequently!

But perhaps this is a general phenomenon - I just did some Xmas shopping online - and Amazon's site was horrid. I know they are trying to merchandise me - but you know - I really dont want to be in their game.

So I remain depressed that Online Travel Sites in general suck. I really want to see someone get out there and do a much better job. I have some hope that things like the Hipmunk design can bring better experiences to the user.

Let's hope things get better...

Cheers (or is it Bah Humbug!)

16 December 2010

CO's Farelock vs. EC's Cooling Off

A lot of people are excited about Continental's new FareLock Product. The European's are about to ammend an existing law which will guarantee that a customer can cancel within a new grace period. The agency community fears it would be in serious trouble if the amendment to the Consumer Rights Directive tabled by Scottish MEP Catherine Stihler is passed. Why a Scottish MEP is doing this of course is open to question.

Her fellow MEPs on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection committee vote on the amendment at the end of January. The Legislation would take effect within 3 years.

Which is better - the Professor questioned aloud? - Your homework for the week is to answer.


What this would mean - is that customers - whether they had paid a deposit or the amount in full, could cancel their holiday booking within two weeks, and demand a refund, regardless of whether the agent has already passed the payment onto the supplier.

Interestingly this would kill a whole revenue sector for the agent not to mention creating a lot of issues for them.

15 December 2010

Lookout Hawaii - Here Comes Shamu!

Buy Hawaiian Real Estate Now!

Two sets of people must be having a totally different experience today.

1. Hawaiian airline management must be ringing their hands as they realize that Southwest is going to steal their bulk traffic. Other airlines are going to re-evaluate their strategies to Hawaii. Next affected with be Alaska Airlines who has only just started a big footprint.

2. Hawaiian Hotels must be jumping for joy.

Bye Bye Mag Stripe Hello 2D

So the specialized printing and the expensive machines should now be history. Well not quite - BUT - IATA standard 2D is now fully implemented. But not necessarily fully deployed so they declared this week.

Some carriers are still struggling. Others are somewhat PO'ed that they plonked down a lot of money for those expensive (now) boat anchors. But 2Billion boarding passes a year is a lot!


12 December 2010

Display is Not Dead (yet)

Display Advertising has been slowly advancing on the level of expenditure of search.

The latest numbers out of eMarketer show that both sides continue to grow while most other media declines.

Yes - online is the place to be...


The Professor Sets The Record Straight - The World's First Frequent Flyer Program

In the Spring of 1980 A major US Airline started a revolution that was to change the industry. It was a program that rewarded the traveler for his loyalty.

It was launched on what is still today the most heavily travelled corridor for air travel in the world - Los Angeles (Southern California) to the San Francisco (Bay Area).

Was that airline American Airlines? Nope!
Was that airline United Airlines? Nope!

It was Western Airlines. And the account team at McCann Ericson that came up with the idea. Andre, Mike, Scott, Kim and yours truly.

Here is a quote from Inside Flyer:

About the same time, Western Airlines ("The Only Way To Fly") introduced its Travel Pass program, which might well be called the first real frequent flyer program. The Travel Pass program awarded $50 in travel certificates to passengers who flew five trips with Western. While not mileage based, it did pass the reward test and moved beyond the "earning copper" programs that were already in existence. These earlier programs were designed for the business traveler, and were literally the only marketing efforts by the airlines to this important group. At that time, the airline industry had abandoned the business traveler and was comfortable in turning this customer over to the travel agency.

Somewhere I still have some of the blanks of the TravelPass $50 card.

For a small fee if anyone is interested - I can spin a yarn or two about the TravelPass program. The team that created it at McCann clearly started a revolution and its high time they got some credit.

Cheers Guys!

Oh Dear... Will I Trip To The Dark Side?

I used to love Tablets. Then they lost their way.

Along comes the iPad everything you wanted in a tablet but less.

Less horsepower
Less battery life
Less disk size
Less camera (actually no built in one)

So along comes the Black Turtle-necked one. it is likely he will announce in January or no later than April - the next gen iPad.it will have cameras and more disk size.

Oh I am getting tempted.

Lies, Damned Lies and Surveys...

I hate when a useful tool is misused.

So it would seem to be with SurveyMonkey.

BTC is at it again with their very biased surveys which are then used (shall we say abused) to demonstrate the points of the anti-American Airline platform.

Surveys should be delivered in an unbiased fashion and get results that can accurately reflect the spectrum of possible opinions.

If you dont believe me then go here and check it out for yourself.


if its expired - I have a hard copy of it.

This should never be allowed by responsible parties.

Customer Experience - A good Checklist

So you too can benefit from a lot of good though.

Go and check out Forrester's User Experience 25 points. This is Version 8 of the tool.

This is one of those things that is good sound advice and its free. If you don't do anything about it - then you are ... well you get the stuff you deserve.