Pro-consumers

It seems that consumers are doing it for themselves. The rise of the Pro-sumer over the past few decades has been astronomical. An example of a brand delivering to a need for pro-sumption is beautifully expressed by the new service offered by holidaycrowd. The service allows the pro-sumer to create their own experience within a set budget. Travel agents then have the opportunity to respond and place bids for the business. Quite natty really. Read more below from SpringWise...

HolidayCrowd lets travel agents compete for consumers' business

Holidaymakers are often faced with an overwhelming range of options when searching for their ideal trip, with an endless list of online services promising to deliver the best deals. Aiming to flip this process on its head and deliver even more relevance, HolidayCrowd is a new service that enables travelers to outline their perfect trip and invite competing offers from travel agents.

Now in beta, UK-based HolidayCrowd begins by inviting prospective travelers to list a trip they'd like to take, even if it's only a general idea. Details such as a specific destination and budget can be included, but they're not essential. Participating travel agents then assess the request and build an itinerary, knowing that they're competing with one another. HolidayCrowd verifies each agent individually to ensure they're legitimate and licensed. After reviewing the bids, consumers can chat to get any questions answered, and then they can choose the one they like and book it for free through HolidayCrowd. In exchange, they get sent all reservations, confirmations, e-tickets and itineraries. HolidayCrowd, meanwhile, charges travel agents a commission fee of 3 percent of the total cost plus VAT.

Anyone still not sure the intention-based model is here to stay? Better check out some of our related coverage, then. After that, how about offering a like-minded service in your part of the world? (Related: In online auction, banks bid on consumer savings — Intention-based shopping brought to the UK — Bank helps clients buy homes that aren't for sale.)

Website: www.holidaycrowd.com

Trend towards short trips and late bookings


Even though the tourism industry was hoping that domestic tourism would increase due to EGC, it seems both international and domestic tourism have suffered a blow.

What has increased is a trend towards short trips and late bookings which has been confirmed by online travel booking sites.

-Australians took fewer trips to other parts of the country for their holidays in the last three months of the year, with latest figures showing a sharper drop than expected.

-The National Visitor Survey figures will dash any hopes that the tourism industry has that domestic visitation will make up for the sharp fall in the number of overseas visitors to Australia.

-Cash strapped Aussies are already reining in their international travel and tourism observers were hoping that domestic travel would pick up the slack. A spokesman for peak national body Tourism & Transport Forum said: "We had really been hoping these figures would be better but clearly Australians are staying at home more than we thought."

-One bright spark for the travel sector is the Easter holidays, with airlines and travel sites reporting that advance bookings are on par with, and in some cases higher than, last year's figures.Despite predictions Australians would resort to domestic travel in the current economic climate, short international trips are proving popular for the Easter break.

-The trend towards short trips and late bookings was confirmed by online travel booking sites.

-Travel.com.au general manager Lisa Ferrari said its bookings for Easter were up 25 per cent on the same time last year. The site had noticed a particular spike in bookings for Bali, but also New Zealand and Fiji. Ferrari attributed the growth in Easter bookings to a combination of factors, including the Government's stimulus package, lower interest rates and petrol prices, increased competition and travel products marketed specifically to the Australian market.

-Angie Bohlmann of lastminute.com.au said bookings in February had increased 24 per cent compared with the same time last year and Australians were booking trips both internationally and domestically for Easter, with Los Angeles, London and Bali among the top destinations. Wotif.com's general manager Megan Magill said bookings were on par with the same time last year.