|Need for Travel Social Networking Platform
According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization reports, there are one billion tourists worldwide. The tourism sector is directly responsible for 5% of the world's Gross Domestic Product. According to data from Traveler's Road to Decision, U.S., Sept 2010, 62% of personal travelers use search engines as the number one source for travel information.
You can turn to Google to search for anything and everything, well almost. And if you are planning to travel abroad, you cannot afford to miss looking up about your destination and read about its rich history, culture and places of interest to visit. Even if it's only to cross-check what your travel agent just promised. Probably you would visit the web page first even before you decide on your destination.
The most searched categories are usually hotels, sightseeing locations nightlife, museums, hangouts and activities to look forward to while holidaying. And you would agree that Google turns out to be your most trusted virtual travel agent to give you the best information you are looking for.
I remember once while visiting Amsterdam I got to know of the one-day bike ride service and was eager to take on the ride. But neither the hotel management nor the other travel guides could put me in touch with an organizer, till I hit the search button myself. Five hours into my search and I pinned on a decent bike tour of my choice and really had a ball myself.
Need for customized search
Though search engines come to our rescue when we need accurate and desired information, it can be draining and time-consuming at times. Especially if your search opens up to all irrelevant results and puts you off. This isn't an uncommon scenario by itself. One needs to type the right keywords to get the desired results, which is why search results are limited. As they depend on the individual's inputs and queries. For e.g. you may want to know about the nightlife in London, but your search throws a list of gay pubs in London. Probably it is one of the most searched categories for nightlife. So you still have information about nightlife, but not what you are looking for. This is why a customized and personalized search results becomes necessary.
Social network, the next search station
There is an advantage of social networks over search engines, if explored extensively, when it comes to travel search and information. I can't get my friends to recommend me search results based on their experience of the destination. I think such features on top of Google will make it even enhanced. But if I could ask my friends on Facebook to help me search on Google or Bing, it would be cooler.
According to PhoCusWright, on an average, a traveler searching the Internet for relevant content searches Google with 5 to 6 search queries. This means Google does not understand the context the user is trying to search with. It is also very difficult for the user to articulate the right context in few words in the search bar.
After the Google search, one would visit Wikipedia, Flicker, YouTube, Trip Advisor, Lonely Planet and a lot more. This definitely enables one to gather information, but often it's not the practical usable ones that suffice a traveler's search.
There is a need for a creative, customized travel search platform which travelers can trust and depend on for all their travel needs. It's time to break the travel stereotype!!!