2010 Trends - Noteworthy - Africa & Travel Search
It’s an unwritten rule of life that the rich and the famous get all the love and attention. It’s no different in the world of travel - where famed destinations like Paris, London and New York get all the visitors and the press coverage. But sometimes, a truly deserving candidate gets some much needed limelight.
Our 2010 Travel Insights trends survey unearthed a couple of these trends, one real and one virtual. The first is the global focus on Africa as a tourist destination due to the FIFA World cup. Secondly - there is the growing difficulty that search engines are having in offering meaningful results for travel-related queries.
Quotes from our experts:-
Focus on football World Cup will highlight the remarkable continent of Africa - Mark (Travel-Wonders.com). (For those of you making travel plans, the World Cup final is on July 11, 2010 in Johannesburg, South Africa. For more details, visit the official site, FIFA.com. It gives a complete rundown of the matches, schedules, news, events,well everything you need to know to book your tickets to see you favorite team.)
In 2010, I predict that it will dawn on many travel companies that Google is an increasingly troubled search engine tool. A casual user of Google who is planning a trip will tend to enter search terms that are keyword rich. But the results they’ll see are increasingly text or video that is outdated, biased/promotional, or inefficiently presented at best, and junk/spam at worst. Google search results specifically in the travel space increasingly looks like Altavista back in 1999, which was a terrible time for “search.” Google probably can’t tweak its algorithm to solve the problem. SEO (search engine optimization) tweaks are increasingly gaming the system, and the quality of search results and utility and efficiency for users is deteriorating. If it scores high in Google keyword searches, it’s probably info-trash. This may just continue the SEO arms race. Or it may mean that consumers will become willing to make micropayments for some types of travel content, tools, and services. Or maybe this will temporarily stifle innovation, as it becomes more difficult for honest companies to run cost-intensive business, be it a travel concierge or tour a operator, and get new eyes for it, when Google no longer lets you break through the noise. My hope is that analysts at PhoCusWright and elsewhere realize that when they say the long tail is getting fatter that what they really mean is that Google (and Bing/Yahoo, for that matter) search results are becoming less robust, and the golden age of online travel info is experiencing some overcast skies and a possible storm. – Sean, BudgetTravel.com
In summary, it’s fantastic that little known towns and attractions in Africa are being showered with visitors and media focus. The SEO arms race, on the other hand, is a despicable development in the search sector, and one that we hope will be sorted out soon to give genuine websites their rightful share of web visitors.