The Correct Definition: Green Travel April 22, 2009Posted by Jussi Huotari in : travel , 3 comments
Noun: green travel [green tra-vul] 1. Having fun while making the world a better place. 2. Adventures that money can’t buy. – also ecotravel, ecological travel
Green travel helps protect the nature. You travel to the Great Barrier Reef to experience the clean waters, colorful corals, and a myriad of different fishes. The locals make their living out of the reef and it is in their best interest to maintain the reef vivid and lively to keep travelers coming back and telling their friends about the amazing underwater sceneries.
The above example applies to a variety of places. An ecotraveler goes to places, where nature is not a resource but a value as such. In doing so, she enables the locals to make their living out of the environment in sustainable way. Another example: instead of killing whales for food and products, Iceland is now famous for its unique whale-watching trips. Protecting the endangered species is now encouraged by money: if the whales disappear, many people working in the tourism industry would lose their living. This is market economy working for the environment!
My advice: Have fun and go see the world! Your travel budget will help making the world a better place. It’s all about the attitude. Honestly, who still thinks it’s better to buy experiences with money while nature can provide adventures that money can’t buy?
Happy Earth Day everybody!
Greenwashing Aeroplanes? April 7, 2009Posted by Jussi Huotari in : travel , add a comment
I travel somewhat often and mostly by plane. And I’ve been worried about the ecological impact of flying. Thus I was happy to find out about a list by Finnair (the biggest finnish airline). Finnair claim that carbon emissions can be cut by up to 30% by following these three simple rules:
- Choose modern airplanes. Travel with an airline, whose fleet consists of modern fuel-conservative aircraft.
- Choose direct routes. Avoid stopovers. Less time on air means less consumed fuel.
- Avoid big and busy airports that get crowded during the rush hours.
Sounds so good that we posted the list on TripSay as well.
Or is this just greenwashing? I find it very difficult to believe that the impact could be as much as 30%. At least it would be better to talk about the average impact instead of the peak…
According to PhoCusWright I’m not alone if I’m sceptical. A bit over a half of travelers suspect green washing when travel companies try to communicate their green strategy and ecologicality.
PhoCusWright’s survey of U.S. travelers finds that 56% are skeptical of what companies are telling them about green practices and only 8% think it is easy to find green travel options. Travel companies must clearly communicate the precise value and impact of their green strategies.
Reducing towel laundry and linen use is not enough anymore. Cutting one third of flight emissions could be. I think Finnair is on the right track in taking “green” into account in their marketing. That is, if they can prove the numbers…
Battle of the Online Travel Giants April 1, 2009Posted by Jussi Huotari in : business,travel,web2 , add a comment
I thought these things happen only in books. What we have here is a battle between two very interesting travel businesses! I’ve read many business strategy books about how companies innovate to beat their competition and update their strategy according to market changes and apply game theory to best utilize their competencies and so on. But how does it look like in reality?
- TripAdvisor, a hotel review site with the most User Generated Content. TA is owned by Expedia Inc., an OTA that has the biggest market share in the States.
- TravelPost, a hotel review site that has been idle for a couple of years. Kayak.com got their hands on TP when they accuired Sidestep in early 2008. Kayak.com is a relatively new flight meta search engine that has gained a lot of traffic and has become one of the most popular travel websites.
Ric Garrido writes about the amounts of UGC that TA and TP have, see his blog post.
Playfield: the online travel market. Travel is huge online market with internet sales in Europe and USA adding up to $160bn. The online travel is growing quickly in both USA and Europe. Expect a double digit growth rate for year 2009 in Europe [Marcussen 2009]! Thus we have a lucrative market but the margins are falling. Commissions from airlines are very small and the common “truth” is that hotel bookings are the only way to make money in online travel…
Round 1: TripAdvisor launched a flight meta search on Feb 27th. In the past TA has focused on hotel bookings but now they are going after Kayak’s domain. TripAdvisor announced that their new service “Brings Needed Clarity to Airline Pricing and Provides Most Flight Options and Best Deals Available Online“. They go further:
(TA’s) Dynamic Fees Estimator, the first and only online product to help travelers understand the true cost of a flight in a single display.
TripAdvisor now provides more flight choices than any other online flight search engine for the world’s top airlines.
Round 2: On March 11, TripAdvisor’s parent company Expedia announces that they’ll “waive booking fees on all flights”. Expedia is attacking Kayak’s position as the best place to look for flights. Is this linked with TripAdvisor’s announcement? Kevin May offers some insight, see here…
Round 3: Kayak strikes back. On March 24 they announce a launch of “World’s Largest Hotel Information Site“, i.e. TravelPost.com. TravelPost supposedly aggregates reviews and ratings from a huge number of sources and provides all these without pop-ups or clutter. And further:
For the first time, consumers can visit one website for all the information needed to make an informed decision on their hotel booking.
“Consumers and hoteliers are woefully underserved by websites like TripAdvisor.com, who appear to care more about their bottom lines than providing relevant content and a seamless experience,” said Steve Hafner, CEO and co-founder, Kayak.com.
What’s up next? Can’t wait to see Round 4!
Sam Shank (TravelPost founder and ex-CEO) posted an interesting analysis on the strengths and vulnerabilities of TA and Kayak.