TRAVELtech continues. Rod Cuthbert the CEO of Viator gave a great presentation earlier this morning. He have very few slides, instead relying on pictures of destinations and activities to tell his story.
A number of these photographs showed the tough side of consumer travel from the extremes of pictures of terrorism and panic to images of the drudgery of never ending lines at airports filled with despondent people wishing they were on holiday rather than going on holiday. From this he talked about how hard it is becoming for a consumer to travel. The uncertainty of arrival times, the challenges of travel in economy class, the need to varying degree to limit what you can carry on board etc.
When travel becomes hard, he argues, people start to look at their discretionary spend and think of alternatives outside of travel such as LCD screens, new generation games consoles and home cinema sound systems. Have no data to back this up but I agree with him. Travel used to look only to other forms of travel for competition (international versus domestic, retailer vs retailer, supplier vs supplier). Not sure what the solution is or how we open up our marketing to fight the Harvey Norman, Best Buy or Dixons of the world but it reinforces the need to keep the purchase and consumption process simple for consumers.