Tourism search engines the next tool: Yahoo7 boss

The way the internet works for tourism operators is changing rapidly, with the introduction of specific travel search engines the next innovation, a national industry conference has been told.

Yahoo7 chief executive Rohan Lund has told the Travel Futures conference as the internet's getting bigger it's also getting harder to navigate.

"As the internet fragments, like all media, we're seeing searches start to narrow with vertical search experiences emerging," he said.

"It's not good enough any more to give a billion results, searches need to become more intuitive and tailored to the experience people are looking for, and I think we'll see the emergence of travel search engines.

"For the tourism industry it's about reaching the people who matter most; it's about reaching people who are looking to travel and it's about getting a social referral from your friends and family.

"If I'm looking to travel I'm interested in ratings and reviews, and hearing stories of other people who've been to that place and I'm very interested in what my friends and family say."

Yahoo7 this week launched its new online travel site, Totaltravel, which it bought for an undisclosed sum in 2009.

Mr Lund said after nearly 12 months work by a team of 20 the site was totally transformed.

"The new site will deliver a total travel experience. It inspires me to travel, it inspires me to plan and research a holiday, to transact and book, but also to come back and share my experience.

"It is the biggest project we've ever undertaken in this country, and the site covers everything about Australia and New Zealand.

"Online travel is changing, it's no longer about getting from A to B, it's about immersing yourself in the local destination, knowing what's on, but it's also being able to check availability, look at flight times, all of that.

"It's unrecognisable from the original site, we have lots of images, lots of videos, lots of stories so it's much more content-rich.

"We started with a lot of great data, we just wanted to turn it into a great experience."



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