Data is the Next Intel Inside?
04/08/2010 1 Comment
Is Data the Next Intel Inside? Current trends in web applications development are moving away from extensive functionality to comprehensive information as the main design principle and trend. There are a host of websites that emulate this principle and market their data as the main selling point such as flickr, google maps, youtube, tripadvisor, etc. I would like to look more closely at this trend and use a product which has set the pace for web 2.0 enabled services – Travelocity’s Experience Finder (β).
Experience Finder is a novel approach towards marketing travel destinations as ‘experiences’. Each experience is driven by reviews, a mashup of various sources and services and highly effective SEO implementations. This is achieved through highly relevant, specific content on each experience with separate landing pages, which make it very effective for search crawlers to individually index and assign high pageranks to them. This in turn leads to the consistent positioning of Experience Finder content in the top 3 search results on Google and Yahoo.
A search for an ‘experience’ in any supported city, presents travellers with a very intuitive flash driven menu which takes them though exhaustive information about each ‘experience’ no longer limited to the basic flights/cars/hotels. Current data provided for each experience contains tools such as Maps/Galleries/Events, themes such as Adventure/Culture/Family/Indulgence and products such as Hotels, Activities and Vacation packages. All of these services are provided and monitored using a feedback matrix. User communities vote on service providers which directly influences the content displayed in relevant searches. This trend in the travel industry is becoming quite popular with content providers such as trip advisor and lonely planet. However Travelocity’s Experience Finder is one of the first providers in the industry to combine reservations and web 2.0 community models to create a unique service that is content rich and content driven which is one of the main principles behind web 2.0 design.
A recent Google Analytics case study shows that web 2.0 compliant websites have a much higher look-to-book ratio in the travel industry or the ability for travel ePOS systems to attract and convert shoppers into consumers, through effective sale. Certainly this shows that focussing on the ‘coolest tech’ is not necessarily a guarantee of acceptance among online user communities. Data/knowledge/content is here to stay and will help build even more successful platforms with the next wave i.e. the semantic web. Where this is headed is yet being defined in the semantic web frameworks, however – according to Marissa Mayer, Google’s VP of Search Products and User Experience – it is clear that “having access to large amounts of data is in many instances more important than creating great algorithms”.
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