There’s got to be a way to cut through all the clutter when it comes to travel-related offers. One solution may be to create socially aware offers tied to what’s known about the traveler.
Start with a booked (or just planned) date and destination. Combine that with the traveler’s socially-accessible profile. Assume the traveler selects a persona or trip type, such as “Business + client entertainment”, or “Family vacation”, “Romantic getaway”. Presume the traveler has tied some preferences to each persona.
Together, these elements form the Social Reservation. Put that in the cloud, and let suppliers have a look!
No doubt, given the ever-improving analytics of travel marketers, we’d see more on-target offers presented. Think Groupon and Google Offers brought to your social reservation’s doorstep.
Since the reservation is now social, the traveler could use his social networks to vet those offers. This could be done passively, by filtering for those offers with a minimum user rating, or it could be an active effort, where the traveler posts an offer to his network and seeks feedback.
So how is this much different from getting all those offers during an Expedia or Orbitz booking session? In three key ways: Customization, control and timing.
The social reservation declares your persona (or type/intention of the trip), and it lists your preferences for that persona. This means suppliers should have a much easier time customizing their offer to you.
The social reservation can be available to any supplier that wants to look at it, subject to the traveler’s privacy controls. Suppliers who aren’t promoted by an Expedia or an Orbitz could still present the traveler with an offer.
Which brings us to timing. The social reservation lives in the cloud until the trip expires. Suppliers can make offers anytime, right up through the last day of the trip, knowing the traveler is still in town. Heck, they may even send you a last-minute offer you can’t pass up.
Lots of different ways this could work – of that, I have no reservation.
Inspirational credit goes to TripIt, Groupon and FlyMuch.
TIILTS stands for Travel Innovations I’d Like To See. This is the third in a series of posts. Earlier TIILTS post covered the use of reward points in corporate self-booking tools, and the concept of making traveler profiles social.
LinkedIn users are welcome to join the TIILTS group. You’ll find a faster flow there of innovation-related posts.
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