It never ceases to amaze me how intuitive sites like Amazon.com, LinkedIn and Google can be. Based on my buying habits, my network of professional associates and my search history (respectively), I am served up information that is literally tailor-made for my persona. I’m sure you’ve experienced situations where LinkedIn displays a list of “People You May Know” that is eerily accurate. These types of highly personalized experiences are now starting to enter the online travel shopping and booking domain.
Until recently, your online travel profile has contained fairly standard data elements like address, seating preferences, loyalty numbers, etc. Some clever online booking tools (OBTs) are now starting to expand the traveler’s profile to include personal preferences. Let’s say that: you’re hooked on Starbucks; you love to jog in the morning; and you prefer a westerly facing hotel room to avoid the glaring morning sun. While you’re planning a business trip to San Francisco, your OBT lists ten properties that fit within your corporate travel policy – great! But wait, it gets better. Two of those properties have a Starbucks cafe in the lobby and are conveniently located next to picturesque jogging tracks – perfect!
Our own (Trondent’s) TravelGUIDE, a free AirMAIL supplement, has been offering this level of personalization for some time now. You’ve had a hankering lately for Italian food? No problem. Just configure your “cuisine settings” accordingly and TravelGUIDE lists all Italian restaurants within close proximity to your hotel.
I guess we all strive to achieve a work-life balance. As business travelers, why shouldn’t we also strive for a policy-personalization balance?
~ Theo Szymanski