Friday, January 22, 2010

Priceline's Big deal

This week, rolled out its 2010 TV campaign featuring the actor William Shatner (well-known for his Star Trek role). For years, Priceline's official spokesperson has been William Shatner who agreed to do the spots for free in exchange for stock. He was "replaced" in 2004 by his Star Trek fellow Leonard Nimoy but in 2007 a new ad campaign transformed Shatner in the role of Priceline's "Negotiator".

In the new campaign, Shatner continues in his role as The Priceline Negotiator. But this time, he's joined by a new sidekick, Big Deal. The TV spot highlights the leading savings the customers can get when they use Priceline's Name Your Own Price hotel service.

Monday, December 21, 2009

It's that time for online travel predictions

Phocuswright has again rolled-out its predictions for online travel. This time the focus is Europe.

Here are five predictions for the European online travel market in 2010 from the new report:

1. Online travel will account for more than one-third of the total European travel market.

While the total European travel market experiences a double-digit decline, online leisure and unmanaged business travel will in fact grow slightly in 2009. As effects of the recession linger into next year, consumers are increasingly shopping online for better deals. Online penetration will surge from 28% in 2008 to 34% by 2010.

2. Priceline could become the largest pan-European online travel agency (OTA).

Long in last place among the big four global online travel agencies (Expedia, Orbitz and Travelocity being the other three), Priceline has gained ground dramatically since the onset of the recession and especially through the success of its main European acquisition, Amid Orbitz' stumbles and Expedia's catch-up play with Venere, Priceline is poised to become the number two OTA globally and quite possibly the largest OTA in Europe (although Expedia may have something to say about that…).

3. Metasearch will make it in Europe—finally.

The highly fragmented European online travel shopping landscape—among OTAs and suppliers—could prove fertile ground for metasearch. Uptake of meta in Europe has lagged behind the U.S., but the growing incidence of online shopping is driving more consumers to visit metasearch sites when they plan their travel.

4. Germany gains ground amid the recession.

The lumbering giant of Europe's online travel market is picking up plenty of regional market share. The country's strong cultural affinity for travel is helping prop up demand as other European markets falter. Germany's share of the European online travel market will jump from 17% in 2008 to 20% by 2011. Gute Reise!

5. As larger markets mature, all eyes turn south—and east.

The largest European travel market, the U.K., has over 40% online penetration. France and Germany are catching up. Now that the low-hanging fruit is gone, the online travel industry is looking to opportunities in less penetrated Southern and Eastern European markets. Emerging markets like Poland offer perhaps the most promising opportunities for growth.

Source: Phocuswright

Monday, October 19, 2009

Travel at your fingertips

As a special interactive experience for the exhibition visitors at fvw congress in Cologne Sept 2009, TravelTainment (an Amadeus-owned subsidiary) presented online consultancy and booking using Microsoft's Surface Table.

Microsoft Surface is a revolutionary multi-touch computer that responds to natural hand gestures and real-world objects, helping people interact with digital content in a simple and intuitive way. With a large, horizontal user interface, Surface offers a unique gathering place where multiple users can collaboratively and simultaneously interact with data and each other.

Travel agencies can soon offer advice to customers using Microsoft Surface Tables as a new central element for sales and consultancy. This is how its done: The customer and the travel agent operate the computer user interface hands-on and navigate to the destination area from a map of the world. Hotels and sights layers are shown on the map and further information and image material from the TravelTainment multimedia content is shown. Then, the chosen destination is sent directly to the TT BistroPortal from an interface on the travel agents PC.

See in action below the Traveltainment layer on Google Maps and MS SurfaceTable.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

United breaks guitars - part 2

In my previous post I was writing about an unhappy incident when United Airlines broke Dave Carroll's Taylor guitar ( The incident transformed into a funny song creating a great buzz on the net.

That was the first one in a trilogy describing different experiences with United Airlines. Since my latest post, a second video has seen the light making me to realize and be ashamed that I write so rarely on this blog :).

The second song is about airline's detracting policies apparently designed to frustrate customers into giving up their claims.

Here are some of the Dave' thoughts after the success of the first United Breaks Guitars song (more info at

Friday, July 10, 2009

United breaks guitars - Funny video about United Airlines

If you are a musician think twice before you fly with United Airlines.

"In the spring of 2008, Sons of Maxwell were traveling to Nebraska for a one-week tour and my Taylor guitar was witnessed being thrown by United Airlines baggage handlers in Chicago. I discovered later that the $3500 guitar was severely damaged. They didn’t deny the experience occurred but for nine months the various people I communicated with put the responsibility for dealing with the damage on everyone other than themselves and finally said they would do nothing to compensate me for my loss. So I promised the last person to finally say “no” to compensation (Ms. Irlweg) that I would write and produce three songs about my experience with United Airlines and make videos for each to be viewed online by anyone in the world. United: Song 1 is the first of those songs. United: Song 2 has been written and video production is underway. United: Song 3 is coming. I promise." (The original developing story at

He promised and he won. The video gathered 1,432,259 views and 9,237 comments on You Tube. Not bad at all!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

e-Power strikes back - The first Calendar airfare display has been launched for the Romanian OTAs

When planning a vacation, most of the end users are flexible with their travel dates, being more price sensitive than schedule sensitive. In order to ensure that the information provided matches their needs, a powerful +/-3 day search flexibility can be used in one shot for both outbound and inbound dates.

The long-waited feature of Master Pricer Calendar has been recently implemented in Amadeus Agency Internet Engine (e-Power) IBE and launched on the Romanian market in pilot phase.

The Calendar display improves end-consumers perception of their Online Agency in that it provides them with a reliable and friendly calendar but more than anything a clear visibility of their travel flexibility versus budget.

This new feature increases sales volumes and conversion rates as the end user is proposed the best deals available on the market, enhancing the shopping experience, spotting the best fare in the market at a single glance and in a matter of seconds . The end users can find exactly what they want and do not need to go anywhere else.

Try now this new feature on and (more customers to follow very soon) by searching with +/- 3 days flexibility.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

You too, Easyjet?

In one of my previous posts I was writing about Ryanair's legal actions taken against the websites which were used to screen-scrap its content. Meanwhile it was proved that Ryanair's actions were not 100 % successful as, since that time, they won in several markets but in others they failed...or not....?!

Recently, Ryanair's rival, Easyjet, has also initiated legal claims against a German software company, InteRes, whose tour operator clients include TUI and REWE Touristik (more details here and here). Unlike Ryanair, Easyjet has offered a connection alternative through its API, a more robust and reliable solution for Easyjet inventory distribution. The Easyjet proposal was rejected by the InteRes representatives.

Jerry Dunn, easyJet’s distribution development manager, said: “We offer screen scrapers a commercially viable and fully licensed alternative form of distribution, which a majority of former scrapers have already signed up to.

“We will not accept that some scrapers continue to go about their business to the detriment of our customers. Screen scraping causes many technical problems, mis-selling of our flights and consequently to numerous customer service problems.”

Since its launching, the Easyjet API has been quickly embraced by large OTAs and GDS in the detriment of screen-scrapping.