Issue 2001-10 - Friday, October 12, 2001
|Was it the right time for Amazon.com?||
In any case, this is what we might be tempted to think at first.
But in fact,
Amazon.com runs very little risks and its investments are rather limited.
Expedia.com provides the flight search engine, when Hotwire.com is in charge of discounted travel and The Vacation Store provides cruise vacations.
Long term views
And yet, there is no doubt that the alliance that was forged between Amazon.com, Expedia.com and Hotwire.com is a long-term union that does not have to worry about a temporary economic situation.
Indeed, as I see it, not only does the Internet population keep on increasing and will keep on doing so but what is more, this Internet population is becoming more and more mature, which means that the percentage of users who might shop online is also increasing.
If you add to this all the consolidation phenomena that are presently taking place, you will easily understand that the actors that will be there tomorrow should have a promising brighter future: less actors in the eTourism sector and more potential buyers!
Cendant - Galileo - Cheaptickets
The Cendant Group was not mistaken since it recently took an interest in the GDS Galileo and now confirms that it acquired Cheaptickets for $280 million (please see the interview that was recently made of its president, Sam Galeotos by eTourism newsletter).
One thing is for sure: whatever the economic situation might be, the alliance that was forged between Amazon and Galileo probably did not please Travelocity that now faces competition from one of the biggest Internet database in the world.
Europe, the new stakes of the world eTourism
And finally, please note that Amazon.com does not intend to leave it at that since its UK subsidiary, Amazon.co.uk should launch its own eTourism web site in partnership with Expedia.co.uk before the end of this year.
And all the recent announcements that were made well prove it: Europe is presently what is at stakes in the etourism sector with the joint venture that took place between Expedia and SNCF (Société Nationale des Chemins de Fer = the French Railways Board), not to mention the union that took place between Travelocity and the German group Otto.
Expedia just announced it was going to launch Expedia.it and Expedia.nl in order to pursue its European growth.
We have to admit that the eTourism sector does not have any real leader in Europe yet, which means that the road is clear and that the setbacks presently faced by some European actors should only arouse the envy of American giants.
crisis should then prove beneficial to them, as they will be able to carry
out partnerships and/or purchases at... discounted rates.
|eIndice of French TO and online agencies: quality has materialized|
This tendency was confirmed in this new eIndice, and not only did the quality remain steady, but it even increased.
Indeed, all the sites that were classified got a mark above average, which had never happened in our previous eIndices.
The very good qualitative level obtained by these eTourism web sites proves that high standard web sites are no longer the prerogative of just a few but now apply to most TO and online agency web sites.
Nevertheless, this general improvement must not conceal the very good results obtained by sites such as nouvelles-frontieres.fr whose mark goes up by 1.40 points out of ten compared to our last eIndice.
Another element proves noticeable in this eIndice: it is the remarkable arrival, in second position, of Karavel.com thanks to a high standard web site, despite a few youthful mistakes, that were bound to happen.
And finally, to get this classification part over and done with, please note the very small gap that can be seen between the very first sites in our eIndice.
Of course, this is not a "linear" gap, as this "global" classification is the outcome of different angles of analysis corresponding to the very philosophy of our methodology.
This is how, in the "navigability, graphical interface" section, Clubmed.fr arrives first, followed very closely by nouvelles.frontieres.fr.
As far as "Relational elements and customisation abilities" are concerned, Clubmed still arrives first but this time just before Karavel.com, while Degriftour.com arrives first in two different categories: "reservation, personalisation, search engine" as well as "Online positioning, coherence and image, brand enhancement".
Even though Travelprice.com arrives first in our eIndice, it only takes the lead in one single category "Content and richness of the sites as well as their commercial offer".
In fact, it arrives first because it got relatively good marks on all the categories. Indeed, Travelprice proves to be one of the most comprehensive web sites of this eIndice.
All these congratulations being made, we should now point out that a few sections of some of the analysed web sites need improving.
The first point concerns customisation.
One of the most advanced web sites to that respect is Karavel.com, which offers its users a very nice customisation module. It includes:
Throughout Karavel.com web site, users can store information on what might prove of interest to them in their "Karavel space".
On this point, Karavel.com web site really breaks away from its competitors.
This type of eService represents one of the basic elements of any real customising policy; nevertheless, the fact is that most web sites usually store users' personal information (first name, last name, address ) but only use it, at best, at the time of the reservation.
The "technological" advance shown by Karavel.com is hardly surprising.
Indeed, its online competitors benefit from the famous "first mover advantage". There is no doubt that it is commercially more difficult to create a new eBrand from scratch in the eTourism sector now than it used to be.
And yet, Karavel now benefits from the all the experience gained with such effort by its competitors, not only on the technological but also on the marketing level.
If a latecomer has no option but to invest massively in communication campaigns to succeed in establishing its ebrand, on the other hand, among the computing and marketing investments (that might account for huge amounts of money) that had to be made by its predecessors, a newcomer is able to retain only the elements that have been tried and tested
And this latecomer advantage is particularly obvious for Karavel.com as it manages an almost perfect race and arrives second in our eIndice straightaway.
Another point remains to be improved on some web sites; it concerns the charter of users' data protection. Few are the sites that already prove able to offer a charter worthy of the name, but we should pay tribute to the very complete ones offered (and easy to find ) by ebookers, Degriftour but also Karavel.com.
One last wish, and easy to achieve: try and become more human, put personalised email addresses at your users' disposal, along with the names of the sections' managers and even maybe their picture.
What easyvoyage did to that respect proves just remarkable: the whole team is presented online along with the picture, the personal email address and the direct phone number of each member!
Without reaching such a level of personalisation that might prove difficult to reach for some web sites, it still proves perfectly possible to improve many sites to that matter without any specific charge, apart from a few photographs J
This is not the first time I insist on this point: Internet is a cold media, and it proves absolutely necessary to try and humanize it in order to become successful online.
Fortunately, the "humanisation" of the site is presently happening thanks to two eServices that can be found more and more on the sites that were classified in this eIndice: the call back and the chat options. This is a good point and it should be pursued!
And finally, despite what has just been said, this eIndice of TO and online agencies is a very good "vintage" that shows the dynamism but also the seriousness of French professionals; nevertheless, this is an essential point as international competitors are presently appearing on the French online territory.