Holiday group Travelocity has been awarded the Innovator of the Year Award at the Travel Industry Association‘s annual TravelCom conference, taking advantage of a growing trend in travel idea generation and winning the honour for its popular trip planning tool, ExperienceFinder SM.
Allowing people to delve into a location by selecting the type of trip they desire (romantic, family etc.) and offering up rich visual profiles of relevant activities in the location chosen, the tool puts travel ideas in the heads of holidaymakers and picked up the TravelCom accolade on the strength of booking rates ten times higher than non-ExperienceFinder Travelocity users.
Troy Whitsett, vice president of design and innovation at Travelocity, said: "ExperienceFinder is changing the way in which people dream, plan, shop and book their travel. We are thrilled to win this award, and look forward to continue getting the word out to more people about how this tool will open up their imaginations to entirely new travel wishes."
The tool builds on the appeal of the Pocket Guidebook, a pre-travel ideas product that combines the destination information resources of ProfessionalTravelGuide.com with the data integration know-how of SharedBook, collating relevant holiday information into a dynamic online or offline booklet format.
Moving from functional reactive holiday bookings options toward a proactive imaginative approach is now a trend encompassing increasing numbers of agents, with travel tech blogger Alex Bainbridge citing multiple rival programmes to the visually impressive ExperienceFinder.
Among those profiled on his tourcms.com blog was Opodo‘s dynamic EscapeMap AJAX mashup, combining the agent’s special offers with Google Maps and offering proactive options by requiring only a departure city and destination continent in order to display potential trip options and prices on the map.
Mr Bainbridge wrote: "These tools are more interesting (to me) than plain old "flat text" destination guides. However…these are much more complex than flat text and require a greater understanding of the consumer than just publishing text."