instead of the traditional travel site being the brand the brand has become the traveler.
As a result, the present online travel bazaar has become a race to become more social. Technology and savvy buyers have dramatically changed online travel over the past two years. The app market, for instance, has swelled from virtually nothing to billions of dollars in just a few years, and smartphone owners love their access to a gaggle of Wi-Fi finders, flight status updaters, local restaurant finders, budget booking assistants, translators and more.
Websites offering unique travel-oriented services have made a strong showing, too. They include Wanderfly, a personalized travel recommendation travel engine à la Hunch and Pandora; and GTrot, a site that allows travelers to share their itineraries with friends and get travel advice within their networks.
Applications like these will continue to grow, improving the efficiency of the overall industry by improving the connectivity of air travel information between flights and friends.
Chasing the Lowest Common Denominator
While on-line applications enable travelers to connect and collaborate, few if any do anything to improve the travel experience. Commercial airline travel experiences are abysmal and getting worse. While the efficiency of commercial air travel for consumers and businesses has diminished could there be a better alternative emerging?
Social technology will not enhance the value of on-line travel sites enough to improve pricing. Social technology has become a “must be” rather than a differentiator and it, by itself, doesn’t change the lowest common denominator, price. Finding “best” prices has become easy given the power of search and the recent introduction of Google Flights. Finding the best experience and the highest value has become difficult but may change soon.
The best hands down experience in air travel is in a private jet. The best value is created by giving travelers better air travel experiences while saving them time at reasonable prices.
Social Flights was started as the first consumer facing on-line listing of available flights on private aircraft. Travelers can also create their own “privation aviation trip” and invite family, friends and business associates to join them. Now imagine these listing incorporated into Google Flights or any other on-line travel portal. Travelers would then be enabled to find the best experience and the highest value at competitive prices rather than the worse experience at the cheapest prices. That is when search will disrupt on-line travel.