TTE: UGC travel sites urged to work on personalisation

Lee Hayhurst
Lee Hayhurst
February 10, 2011 10:00 AM GMT

Travel sites with user generated content should be doing more to personalise the web experience for their users particularly with the rise of mobile, according to an expert in the field.

Website personalisation specialist LikeCube claims feedback on the work it has done with leading local business recommendation site qype.com has been very positive.

Founded in Germany in 2005, qype.com has 17 million unique users a month in Europe and LikeCube is delivering over one million recommendations a month to the site.

Emmanuel Marchal, LikeCube’s director, said the site has only shared some qualitative metrics with it to date based on feedback from users.

“Some say it is spookily accurate,” said Marchal. “As the web gets busier and busier what I want to see on sites like Tripadvisor are reviews from people like me.

“I want to see an estimate of how much I would like a hotel and I want to see negative and positive reviews from people like me.”

Marchal said most travel sites already have the content to make them more personal, but just do not know how to make use of it.

He said LikeCube's API-based system can be placed on top of an existing website to personalise the content without the need for a complete reorganisation of content.

“We can personalise existing websites using existing content. There is a lot of websites that have enough content, they just don’t know how to do it.”

The advance of mobile is going to make personalisation even more important, according to Marchal, due to the limited amount of content a screen can display.

“On mobile you need to be very focused because the estate is so precious,” he said.

Marchal said the company is working with a number of travel firms, mostly travel agents, hotel groups and general travel sites with user generated content.

“Travel is a very challenging industry because the way people search is quite different from simple retail. A  lot of people have approached us about inspirational search and discovery. There is a lot of personalisation potential in travel.

“Personalisation is in the very early stages but it shows tremendous promise and certainly from what we have seen companies are interested.”

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