Why should the online travel industry care? If Mahalo or people powered search gather strength then their traffic will be diverted to pages such as this one on Mahalo called "How to Book a Cheap Hotel Room". Jason is already impressed by the amount of traffic and exposure this page is getting. From a consumer perspective this article offers good advice. From an intermediary/online agent perspective it is scary. Not because it gives the consumer good tips. If you are a good intermediary and good online retailer you should not be scared of informed consumers. Rather it is concerning because as hard as they have tried at Mahalo to back up their recommendation with good research it is not conclusive. For example, Accor is missing from the list of hotels that offer a best rate guarantee, there is no mention of the regional meta-search sites (ie Bezurk or Sprice or Hotelscombined) and nothing about the price advantage for packaging hotels with other goods.
That said, there is no need to worry too much about this new form of search as the traffic generating power is not yet proven and has a lot to do to be proven. I have received one link so far Mahalo and that was from the catch all/backup Google results. Valleywag are (true to form) very scathing on the traffic potential for Mahalo.
Human based search is trying to beat Google and meta-search on quality rather than quantity. However humans cannot help but be biased in making quality assessments.
UPDATE - Have added a How To for cheap booking flights as well.