Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Squaring the Circle on Travel Online

Excellent article in the FT today - "Travel Guide books arrive at a Digital Destination" suggests that:

(a) it's possible to embrace the web and yet retain the niche print audience. The Rough guide puts all its content online, but most travellers don't travel with laptops. And the book is still a lot more convenient than a 100 page printout!

(b) the web and printed content often service distinct purposes. Apparently people buy the book for the "real excitement" of the holiday and as a memento in a shelf. I've done this so I have to agree - the Footprint guide to Egypt was brilliantly well put together - less gloss, more value. Come to think of it, putting a travel guide for, say, the Easter Islands, on your shelf, is as much a expression of your intent, and can even be used as a lifestyle statement!

(c) the web and digital editions can be much more agile, addressing needs which print simply cannot. E.g. the 2 page pdf download on complete solar eclipse from Bolivia was downloaded over 65000 times.

Having said that I'm yet to see a website which pulls the entire travel experience together. The guide, the bookings, the expert advice, the local language dictionary, the online photo album space, the list of cybercafe's at your destination with maps, a service for buying stuff and getting them sent home while you wander further, updated news on travel, weather and other relevant stuff. Specific questions answered on a personalized WAP site accessible via mobile. The mother of all travel mash-ups?

1 Comments:

Blogger Kannan said...

This one resonates with me - we just got back yesterday from a wonderful holiday in Hawaii. Did all the usual online research...(did not buy a travel guide) ...but while in Hawaii bought a 3 DVD set on Hawaiin and Polynesian culture as much for its keepsake value as its educational worth. I could probably find all of that information online but I am not sure if that would be as enjoyable without the production quality and narrative power of these DVDs.

10:29 PM  

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