My New Years Resolution? Doing what the Travel Industry should but doesn’t do: Make Travel Better.

Families have different holiday wishes than young couples

Expedia CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said in an interview in the Seattle Times on May 11 that he thinks the travel industry will move back to the model of customers visiting a travel agent — an online travel agent, that is.

In an interview on Friday December 16, the day Trivago’s stock debuted on Nasdaq, CEO Rolf Schrömgens said, “I think there is a major problem unsolved and that is getting you into the ideal hotel.”

The problem of (the lack of great) reviews and recommendations is recognized by highly respected leaders across the industry.

I am freely quoting Kevin Mullaney, head of digital at Flagship Consulting, who published his take on this on Tnooz yesterday, Thursday December 23:

“95% of consumers read reviews before booking a trip. It is safe to say that we — when making travel decisions — put a huge amount of time and faith in the opinions of strangers, relying on collective sentiment to justify our choices.

However, the review sampling that dominates our online holiday research rarely takes personal preference into consideration; reviews don’t bend to our demographic profile, hobbies or life-stage, and this can lead to misleading information.

The final frontier for the travel industry, however, is proving the ROI on word of mouth (WOM) and referral marketing, which drives direct bookings like no other channel. 84% of us trust family and friends above all else.”

Screenshot from Facebook

Mullaney is thinking Facebook will solve this problem. Though I agree that the role of social media in travel will grow, and I do believe we should never underestimate Facebook, I don’t agree Facebook will solve the problem. Because there is a limit to what your friends can do. The fact is, your friends haven’t traveled everywhere and they typically have stayed in just one hotel per destination, so it’s not like they know that destination very well. What is a recommendation worth if you only have one hotel to recommend? More often than not, these aren’t those personalized recommendations we are all looking for. So what Facebook does, in a clever way, is streamlining our habit of asking friends for recommendations. It is not improving those recommendations.

You will receive a commission, just like a travel agent

This is where TRVL comes in. We believe that the sharing economy will solve this problem because, together, we have been everywhere. Connecting all this expertise is what TRVL is all about. Earning money from your recommendations is the fuel.

This is how it works. You want to go to Rome and you have never been. Overwhelmed by the sheer number of hotels (4000!) you need help.

You can do two things:

1. Contact a Rome local expert on TRVL for advice on where to go and where to stay. They might not be one of your friends, but they know Rome like the back of their hands and it only takes them 15 minutes to recommend a place to stay “just for you”.

2. Ask your sister, who lived in Rome for 8 years. She recommends a hotel through TRVL: it includes all the relevant information and automatically displays availability and prices. Your sister might want to add a personal note explaining why she thinks this hotel is perfect for you, or you can chat live and she will go over the options.

The recommended hotels and activities are instantly bookable on TRVL. If you are the TRVL agent who made the recommendation, you will receive a commission that you won’t get anywhere else. Just like a travel agent would.

Mullaney sharply calls “proving the ROI on word of mouth and referral marketing (…) the final frontier for the travel industry”.

And prove it we will. It is our mission to make travel better.

Power to the Traveler!

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