Here comes Priority Club Connect from InterContinental Hotels Group. Yes, another travel social networking site. In their favour, they do have 42 million Priority Club Rewards members (how many are active?), but I’m not putting any of my hard earned cash backing them as one of the eventual winners in this space. I’m not sure how committed they are to the venture either, as their own blog has one post dated April 8th from Steve Sickel, SVP Multi-Brand Marketing, and then nothing more in the almost 2 weeks since.
From the press release:
“Members using Priority Club Connect will have the unique opportunity to be bloggers on the site, upload photos and video content about their travel experiences and get details about special offers available only through the community.”
I’m guessing the few people with blogs on the site to date are insiders, and looking at this screen shot, there are still a few bugs to iron out. Why would anyone think there was added value in building a new site allowing travellers to create blogs and upload photos – so many other sites already do it, and do it better. Special offers available only via the community – ah, now someone is starting to get it, but it is only one step out of maybe 20 required to make this a success.
Back in January this year I did a quick roundup up what some of the airlines like BA, QF, AF-KLM, VS , (comment added LH), and some of the American carriers were doing in social networking. I don’t cover hotels much as there are plently of bloggers who know the field much better than me, but I’m far from convinced that a hotel chain is the natural owner of a travel social networking site.
That said, on my last review I decided that none of the airlines had got it right yet, but AF-KLM seemed to be the closest. I haven’t spent too much time researching travel social networks lately, but I saw a recent post from Alex Bainbridge that did look at the start-ups going after this space and also ended with a healthy dose of skepticsm. I’m really looking to engage a few major airlines in some private discussion on social networking at the upcoming industry events I will be attending, as I am convinced that one to three major airlines can win this game, but you wouldn’t guess it from what we are seing today. As an aside, it is interesting how going from a link in the above post, took me to another site by Ben Colclough asking whether travel social networks are actual businesses or are they really works of art? Next thing I’ve got Ben promoting a week of horse riding through the snow in Southern Transylvannia and I’m thinking how tame my vacations are by comparison and when can I go.
And in a roundup of a few other ancillary revenue related items that I have seen recently, KLM (whose in flight sales I discussed once before) have signed with GuestLogix, and TUIfly Nordic have signed with Paf to sell their inflight scratch cards.