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Takeaways from the Boston Globe Travel Show

February 27, 2010 1 comment

I spent the last weekend at the Boston Globe Travel Show and here are some thoughts:

1. Unemployment is actually helping some travel agents. Lots of tour operators I’ve talked to told me that their 2-week and longer tours have gained tremendous popularity with people in between jobs looking for a getaway. The price-points for these tours do tend to be on the mid-high side, but not high enough to appeal solely to self-employed business people and executives.

2. State-subsidized travel websites  run by Tourist Bureaus and Chambers of Commerce have come to be highly effective content portals, with a lot of traffic and great click-through rates for advertisers. More importantly for us at WaySavvy, such travel content portals are indeed looking to complete the missing piece in their offerings – itinerary planning booking capability.

3. Travel suppliers are going social. This isn’t really a new trend, but it hasn’t caught up to traditional travel agents and tour operators in the way that it has for online travel companies. Now, however, tour operators are on twitter and facebook, and they recognize the importance of building a community online to generate leads and make sales offline.

4. Digital tour distribution platforms like RezGo, have a long way to go to penetrate the market (and they are deeply needed). Some tour operators have signed on to distribute their inventory at various online outlets, but few I talked to were aware of ubiquitous solutions to distribute their inventory to any online travel agency willing to sell it. RezGo is one of my favorite new travel technology companies, because they are pushing innovative distribution channels for travel products other than hotels, cars and flights. If you’re a tour operator, they’re a must-see.