Pinpoint Travel: If It Works, They Win
Going to write more about this in TKG's Local Media Journal. AOL beta launched a new metasearch travel site, Pinpoint Travel. It doesn't replace AOL's own travel channel. In fact, it doesn't carry the AOL brand (part of the strategy of reaching out to a broader Web audience).
Internet travel booking has become a multi-billion-dollar industry (IAC is one of the biggest players), but from a user experience, it "sucks" — to use the colloquial expression.
Why? Because I as a user don't have confidence that the prices and selections I'm looking at are comprehensive or reliable. A hotel could be $198 on Orbitz, $220 on Expedia and another price on Hotels.com or Travelocity. Also, I have to go to IAC's TripAdvisor to get hotel ratings and reviews, which are very important.
I want to go to one place and book my travel with confidence, not 10 separate vertical sites each supplying a piece of the puzzle (car, flight, hotel).
Those sites should be very very afraid. If this offering is basically comprehensive (still no Southwest) and provides the full functionality that is represented (reviews, personalization, etc.), it will become a major travel destination (no pun intended) and could dominate the space.