Online Travel Lessons From Uncle Sam

By Martin Kelly, Editor, Travel Trends

YOU’VE all heard about the US recession, the one that’s looming and will arrive some day this century. Meanwhile, they’ll just have to make do with a housing crisis that has sent prices crashing across the country. Hmm, sound familiar, well it certainly did to me so thought I’d see what impact all this brouhaha is having on the US online travel industry.

Conveniently, three of the major online players – Expedia, Priceline and Orbitz – have just announced their results (which you can read below). And the news is generally pretty good, though it must be said these companies are evolving into international conglomerates and that overseas earnings are in some cases balancing flat local results.

But – and here’s the thing – well-run and aggressively marketed online businesses such as Priceline and Expedia are continuing to do well at home while enjoying the benefits of international diversification. Americans are also continuing to travel despite perceived economic hardship. The key learnings for online travel businesses appear to be: have a simple, keenly priced offer aligned with easy-to-use technology and market, market, market. Travel Trends: May 14, 2008

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