This week, I met with speakers on the session I am moderating at Abta’s Travel Convention, all about ‘The Future of the Expert’.
We were discussing the rise of the amateur, influencers and artificial intelligence, and how they are putting pressure on traditional tour operators and agents, as consumers learn to ‘trust’ new sources for travel advice.
By coincidence, our meeting took place just as TripAdvisor announced a new-look ‘social’ site, that it claims will transform it into ‘the Facebook of travel’.
Interestingly, far from being a threat to the trade, observers are suggesting there’s a role for genuine travel experts in the ‘more personalised and connected community’ that the customer review platform is touting.
TripAdvisor wants true experts to have profiles and gain followers, so that its 456 million users worldwide have access to expert advice as well as customer reviews from now on.
Agents that embrace this, and establish themselves on the new platform quickly, could create a huge reach, observers say – providing the user then books with the agents, and not through TripAdvisor’s own booking platform, of course.
No expert wants to give their advice away for free. Talking of getting something for nothing, it’s great to see a new campaign being launched this week to stop fraudsters making off with consumers and travel companies’ hard-earned cash.
The initiative to encourage the sector to do all it can to clamp down on cybercrime in travel is both timely and welcome following the massive BA security breach, which served as a wake-up call to all businesses, and should be fully supported by us all.
Comment from Travel Weekly, September 20 edition
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