Archive for June, 2008

iGoogle gadgets

Tuesday, June 10th, 2008

Although our UWA-based widget works on iGoogle, we decided to do a ‘native’ iGoogle gadget as well, for several reasons - it works better (UWA is great, but it’s not 100% perfect), and it allows us to submit the gadget to more directories, and more importanly - widgetbox, which will hopefully work based on the new code.

Anyway, you can try adding it to your iGoogle page with this link. It looks a bit different and works a bit better than before.

Online Content and Conversion Strategies

Thursday, June 5th, 2008

Eyefortravel is organizing a conference named World Travel Market this November.  One of the conferences is ‘Online Content and Conversion Strategies’. I was asked for my input on this topic:  What functionality and usability is essential to engage customers online, and what rich media can enhance their online experience.  How can you maximize conversions and yield online.   

These are the key question for online travel, and I think for web sites in general..

I believe there a few elements to address:

First, you need great content.
There are few strategies for this issue.
You can create your own content (LonelyPlanet, TripCart). The problem with this strategy is that it’s almost impossible to create and maintain updated information for many destinations. So you need either to be very rich or to narrow your scope. Also, it’s a pity to create content because there’s so much around anyway.
Another option is to utilize user generated content (Wikitravel, Virtualtourist). To do this you need a really large community. Another pitfall is that most UGC platforms encourage mainly tips and reviews, which are not very accessible and easy to use.
Our strategy here at TripTouch- which not surprisingly I think is the most appropriate- is to aggregate and integrate content from many relevant sources. We try to give our users the best and most updated information available.

The second element in my opinion is usefulness: simplicity and ease of use. We believe that a travel site should be a useful tool, and not necessarily the most beautifully designed. Designing the UI of TripTouch we tried to make it as useful and simple as possible. I hope we’ve succeeded.

The third issue I want to address is how to reach the audience. I believe it’s our greatest challenge. Our approach is to create a variety of means to use our service.
We’ve just released a widget that can be used in iGoogle and Netvibes.
We plan to create widgets for more platforms and find partners so our users can find us easily and to be exposed to more audiences.

Well that’s what I think, comments are welcome.