VP of Travelocity, CEO of Despegar.com and the CEO, eGulliver talk about increasing the ilusive “loo

The recent Eyefortravel survey shows that nearly 70% of our subscribers think that improving the look to book ratio of the site is important or vital and little wonder. The travel industry whilst being the biggest web retail sector is not doing well here. When you look comparatively to the percentage of look to bookers in travel versus other industry you see that 26% computers are sold online, 12.8% of books 7.2% of CD’s and travel only comes in at a 5.6%.
I spent a few hours listening to how various members of the EyeforTravel community and listed all their look to book tips below. It all seems to boil down to PR, content, trust and security.
If you have better ideas on how to make travelers spend money online let me know. If we publish we will provide you with a one off “press pass” to our next EyeforTravel show” The web allows everybody have a say so take advantage of this!
Mike Stacy, Senior Vice President of Consumer Marketing, Travelocity.com says: “How do we attract people and then convert them? Well, we do that through public relations, as I mentioned, advertising, promotions and direct marketing. First, Travelocity wanted to talk about the foundation of our brand. And brand is a very squishy thing, so I use a little bit of an analogy here. It’s like a painter less painting. A painter less painting, if you’re not familiar, is a series of dots that, once completed or pull away from it, forms this beautiful picture, so to speak. And we communicate through several different mechanisms, through the Travelocity.com magazine, customer service, emails, industry presentations, 800 number, product development, promotional events, direct mail, emails, ad sales affiliate programs, public relations, a little bit of some promotions there. And only when we’re doing that consistently across all of these channels and over time, do we really have a brand. So, brand new definition of the way we want to talk about really what our brand stands for, so to speak, and first of all want to talk about our brand vision. Our brand vision is a simple statement of what the brand does. It should be inspirational, it should be specific enough to focus the resources of the company, but be general enough not to paint us into a corner. It should be focused on the consumer and not what we can produce. And it should be small enough to fit on a business card. For our brand vision, it’s simple. Changing the way the world plans and buys travel. A research and experience currently told us that travelers are looking for a better way. I think that the results show, given that the turmoil in the travel industry that consumers are indeed looking for an alternative to the traditional way of purchasing online”.
Roberto Souviron, CEO, Despegar.com says: “So, we built local call centres, tailored to each market’s needs, using it as a means to increase look to book ratios and also as a navigational mechanism, trying to reduce Latin American consumer’s sceptism. We also focused on local presence, which means local negotiation with the main carriers and hotel chains which we leverage at a regional level, trying to make profit of each negotiation at a local level. Also local prices means the adaptation of payment methods to local usage. It means local content, editorial, and commercial and it means the opportunity to cross sell products among countries and of course, greater control of local operations.”
Deslie Webb, CEO, eGulliver (and the former CIO of Carlson Wagonlit) says: “At eGulliver, we are actually putting the consumer in touch with somebody who’s been there and done that. Again, trying to get the look to book ratios up. One of the things we’re doing is we want to simulate the in-office experience, but we want to simulate it on the internet. So, a consumer can use the internet, but, it’s just like they’re talking to somebody in an office. The vision is you have a global network of travel specialists, so the consumer wants to go to Japan and they’re actually talking to a person in Japan about their trip, at that point, and broadband, let’s talk about video to video here. At that point, you’re simulating the in-office experience, so the conversion rate should be just the same as somebody walking into a traditional travel agency, could be as high as 25%”
Vasser Chitiperi, Webpro Technologies says: “One” issue “is the security issue, which is not just relevant for this travel industry alone but for the entire internet B2B exchange, B2C exchange etc. What we are doing is we have built up a 7 layer security application. We work with the encryption technology. It’s right from the fire wall up to the application level security. We have multiple levels of security which provide an assurance for this credit card payment. Because again, credit card usage is much more prevalent in the US and North America, some of the Asian regions and even in Europe. So, what we have done is we have built up components and payment gateways and encryption technology.”