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How Well Do Predictions Work – a Review of 2012

December 29, 2012

VaultPad

Each year the team at TNooz does a series of predictions. This coming year the focus is on Mobile, surprising since I think we are already there. It is one of the most popular series the team does.

But how well did we do for 2012? The TNooz predictions for 2012 were not that bad. But in the interests of a true public service – perhaps a bit of self flagellation is in order.

First what did I predict?
1. User experience hits home

I predict that the current dissatisfaction with user experience with travel brands on the web will accelerate in 2012. In fact, I believe that we will start using the term “consumer fatigue”.

This will have a massive impact on web search and shopping for other products, but it will hit travel hard as the current processes and widget-based explicit interaction are really rather awful.

2. Cash for cache

The process of availability cache creation will start to cause significant issues. Owners of inventory will effectively start charging for the access to an “approved” state of availability.

This will cause significant problems for the metasearch or search companies in the travel industry

HOW DID I DO

1. User Experience. Oh yes. Decidedly this has happened. Some hard data shows that users are moving away from the conventional UX particularly in mobile. Mobile search has also proved to be an obstacle to “sellers” and users alike.  I will give myself 7/10 marks for this one. It is a slow burn and one that will happen over time. The problem is that the manifestation of it will come in different ways. While its not cited as the reason – I believe that a large part of IATA’s NDC effort has now focused on the Users ability to provide information via the intermediary channel to the supply community.

The issue of handling the ocean of data and how we access it is not going to get easier. Big Data tools are slowly making it better but we still have no trust (or rather not enough trust) in what we are seeing. Essentially we dont trust machine results enough to rely on them.

2. The battle over cache, Again a behind the scenes battle and one that will continue for a long time. Part of the problems with transactional sites is that they need to work on cache for performance. As users have little to no trust in the results anyway – web site performance matters more than accuracy and quality of results. Its logical. If the site doesn’t perform fast enough then users bail out of the process and click away before even analyzing the results. In the case of the airlines – this is endemic driven by the airlines’ need for obfuscation of the price. In the case of hotels – it is natural given the complexity and multiple models of the accommodation market. However I will only give myself 5/10 for this one. Its there but I can’t demonstrate that it has proved to be as important as I think. Trust me though behind the scenes this one is a 9/10.

So how will I do in 2013? A good question. Let’s see.
Cheers

Timothy

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