The new generation of user-driven websites known as ‘Web 2.0’ will increase the quality of dynamically packaged holidays as consumer review websites expose ‘cowboys’.


Speaking to Travel Weekly as part of our Dynamic Packaging Month coverage, On Holiday Group chief executive Steve Endacott said the Internet will soon have the power to destroy in days reputations built up over many years, and will herald a new era for dynamic packaging as the focus shifts from price to service.


“Web 2.0 is really about people expressing their views about holidays – good and bad. Whereas word of mouth takes years to build a brand or destroy it, the word of web can do it in days.


“Basically it’s about empowering the consumer to communicate with other consumers about what company has given them good service. It’s going to drive service levels up.


“At the moment dynamic packaging is like the Wild West; there are cowboys. But they won’t be able to survive in the future because it will be too easy for them to be exposed.”


Sites such as MySpace, TripAdvisor and YouTube are pioneering Web 2.0 with their focus on user-generated content, and many companies are already reassessing their marketing strategies to take into account the new wave of social media. Last November TripAdvisor was implicated in a Sunday Times investigation that found some hotels were posting fake entries on travel review sites.


Endacott predicted Destination Care, the add-on resort rep service set up by the On Holiday Group last year, will be bigger than the holiday side of the group in five years’ time as dynamic packaging focuses on service delivery having driven down margins on both flight-only and accommodation-only sales.


On Holiday Group, which employs 38 people and sent 400,000 customers on holiday in 2006, has doubled in size in each of the last two years and Endacott said he expects similar levels of growth for the next two years.