Travel: In Need of an Upgrade

I’m flying somewhere tomorrow. I won’t say where just in case a certain someone is reading this (what are the odds). But it reminded me of a post I wrote a couple years ago on zachheller.com about innovation in the travel industry.

Innovative Travel Service Ideas on Vacation

I find myself thinking about travel right now.  Maybe it’s because, even as this post goes live, I am probably sitting on the beach in Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic.  But nevertheless, it is an important subject to think about because there a lot of untapped ideas out there.

First, I still believe that the online travel sites leave a lot to be desired. Planning a trip is not as easy as it should be, considering how far we have come in the spread of ideas and access to information.

In college, my roommate and I were planning on starting a social networking site for travelers.  How has this not been done yet?  How have one of the big players in online trip booking not added this feature to their website.  It does not have to be much, just a place where people can record their trip with photos, blogs, etc.  Also have them set a profile with details about what they look for in a trip, destination ideas, a wish list, and travel history.  Allow them to “link up” to other profiles, search information to find photos, blog posts, and travel ideas from other users.

If you put all of this on the same site that we can use to plan a book a trip, it would be much more complete, and much more helpful.  It is what the people want, who is going to give it to us?

Second, in a tough time for the travel industry like this, what can companies that service that industry do to entice travelers?  Are there any hotels that offer better packages when the economy is bad?  Are there open hotel rooms that companies could be giving away dirt cheap to gain customer loyalty and spread brand awareness?  There should be. If you own or operate a business that caters to the travel sector, now is the time to focus on what your customers need, and give it to them, no questions asked.

Third, how can the airlines continue to compete? Airlines are probably some of the most complained about companies out there.  It’s a tough job.  People don’t like the hassle of traveling, the time it takes, the uncomfortable feeling of it all, etc.  Many of the airlines are trying to help out people by eliminating delays, offering cheaper deals, and more locations.

But the companies that are performing the best are concentrating on making people more comfortable. It’s like admitting the act of travel is annoying, but telling them that while they have to go through it, we will make it as pleasant and convenient as possible.  This can be done with things like comfortable waiting areas, better cabin service, wireless connectivity, better food and beverages, etc.

I will leave you to ponder all of that as I enjoy a few relaxing days on the beach.  Add your thoughts here…what are some ways that “travel” could be better?