Friday, 15 May 2015

Reinventing the Middleman

The internet has had a profound effect on so many aspects of our daily behaviour. Shopping is the obvious one of interest to marketeers, but almost every area of daily life has been affected, from how we learn and educate ourselves to how we stay healthy and treat illness. The overwhelming trend is towards cutting out the middleman, whether it's self-diagnosis to avid a visit to the doctor, or cutting out that time- and energy-consuming trip to the physical store.

One area that has fundamentally changed is booking a holiday. The first step towards booking a hotel used to be through the high street travel agents, but for many people now, it's straight to TripAdvisor to see what other people (we assume like ourselves) have said about the hotels in our chosen resort. We have learned to go beyond the images in the glossy brochures and to seek out reality. So much so that sensible hotels are now putting TripAdvisor comments on their websites.

But there is always the counter trend. I was very interested to witness a complete reinvention of the travel agent in Black Tomato. This new-style travel agent is bringing personalisation back into holiday planning and using the internet to bring the experience to life before and after the actual holiday. The insight and basis is all about the need for individually tailored experiences and great value for time. Using the power of the internet and the possibilities that digital technology brings to the brand's advantage, rather than moaning that the internet is killing off the industry.

I wonder which other moribund services or industries can be reinvented in this way?

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