Another airline conference is over; and it was definitely a productive first visit to Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. I usually get quite a few people downloading slides when I put them up on this site, so here is the presentation from yesterday (KL 1A ecommerce June 2009 – Martin Collings). To make sense of slide four, be sure to read yesterday’s post. There were quite a few new slides shown that I have never presented before, the two most interesting probably being slide 9 on difference in conversation rates for the ancillary revenue hotels cross sell email by point of sale, and especially slide 19 showing potential revenue for an airline from better marketing of destination content. Slides 15-18 made the destination content story very tangible, and from the comments I received afterwards, there was undoubtedly a very strong interest in wanting to know more about ancillary revenue maximization through optimisation.
One interesting conversation earlier in the conference was with a senior airline executive I had not met previously who was very keen on the travel social networking space. The timing was a co-incidence as Virgin Altantic had only just launched their new site Vtravelled, but I have to agree with a lot of what Alex Bainbridge wrote on this subject, as I joined up to have a look and from the 15 minutes spent on the site so far, I can’t see how they are using their position as an airline to their advantage, apart from the branding aspect. Their brand is incredibly strong, but it is nowhere near enough to guarantee success. One aspect (only one of many) of a site that really understands what is needed will be a seamless integration between the social networking site and the manage my booking page. Inspiration alone will not be owned by an airline website, as there is no inherent advantage they bring to photo sharing, travel blogs, or itinerary sharing over what exists in the market today. I wish the guys behind Vtravelled every success, and I really hope they don’t fall into the Bluenity inertia trap; Vtravelled clearly have a lot more development work to do to make proper use of existing passenger data so as not to end up as another also ran travel social network.