Pinpoint Travel: If It Works, They Win
Going to write more about this in TKGâ€™s Local Media Journal. AOL beta launched a new metasearch travel site, Pinpoint Travel. It doesnâ€™t replace AOLâ€™s own travel channel. In fact, it doesnâ€™t carry the AOL brand (part of the strategy of reaching out to a broader Web audience).
Internet travel booking has become a multi-billion dollar industry (IAC is one of the biggest players), but from a user experience, it â€œsucksâ€â€”to use the colloquial expression. Why?
Because I as a user donâ€™t have confidence that the prices and selections Iâ€™m looking at are comprehensive or reliable. A hotel could be $198 on Orbiz, $220 on Expedia and another price on Hotels.com or Travelocity. Also, I have to go to IACâ€™s TripAdvisor to get hotel ratings and reviews, which are very important.
I want to go to one place and book my travel with confidence, not 10 separate vertical sites each supplying a piece of the puzzle (car, flight, hotel).
Those sites should be very very afraid. If this offering is basically comprehensive (still no Southwest) and provides the full functionality that is represented (reviews, personalization, etc.), it will become a major travel destination (no pun intended) and could dominate the space.
Greg Sterling is managing editor of The Kelsey Group. He also leads The Kelsey Group’s the Interactive Local Media program, focusing on local search. Greg came to The Kelsey Group from TechTV’s “Working the Web,” the first national television show dedicated to e-business and the Internet.