Ahead of the Bell: Online Travel

NEW YORK (Associated Press) – An analyst started coverage of three
leading online travel companies Thursday, saying each has potential for
sizable future growth, but that all three face growing pains.

Credit Suisse analyst Scott Barry gave a "Neutral" rating to Orbitz Worldwide Inc., Expedia Inc. and Priceline.com Inc.

Bellevue,
Wash.-based Expedia has positioned itself well for global business,
especially in Europe and Asia, using its financial flexibility and
superior reach, Barry said. Since the company can’t always offer deep
discounts to customers, Expedia relies heavily on user-generated
reviews to drive customer loyalty, an angle that sets its apart from
its peers, he said.

Link: Ahead of the Bell: Online Travel.

CPG Consumers Trust Online Reviews – eMarketer

Consumer product reviews may have once been suspect, but virtually all shoppers now find them credible, according to a Deloitte Consumer Product Group-sponsored study. Deloitte also found that 62% of Internet users read product reviews written by other consumers.

The study comes on the heels of other user review studies that found that online shoppers often check them when researching product purchases.

Link: CPG Consumers Trust Online Reviews – eMarketer.

Also check out ChatterGuard.com.

Internet Travel News – Orbitz launches traveller updates

Orbitz is launching its incentive program supporting the beta-test of its OrbitzTLC Traveler Update service.

Orbitz also recently unveiled
its newest television advertising creative, showcasing this latest
technology innovation.
   

    OrbitzTLC Traveler Update is a new service which invites travelers to
share real-time information regarding what’s happening in and around the
nation’s top airports. Additionally, the site includes historical security
wait times from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA),
up-to-the-minute flight information from the Federal Aviation
Administration (FAA), OrbitzTLC air traffic alerts and other reliable
traffic and weather information.

Link: Internet Travel News – Orbitz launches traveller updates.

Powerset: Move Over, Google

How do you beat Google (GOOG)
at its own game? Search engine upstart Powerset is betting on the
wisdom of the crowds. As the latest step in one of the longer buildups
to a product launch in Internet history, Powerset
on Sept. 17 is taking the wraps off a new online community site called
Powerset Labs. The company hopes the site will marshal thousands of
people to help build and improve its search engine before it goes
public next year.

Link: Powerset: Move Over, Google.

Social networking sites breaking free from the PC – The Boston Globe

Inhabiting the real world may seem like a mobile, social experience to
most people. But for the digitally dependent, riding a crowded bus can
be more isolating than sitting in a room alone with a computer.

Link: Social networking sites breaking free from the PC – The Boston Globe.

AA.com to enable customers to change their reservations online

American Airlines has introduced a feature on its website that allows
many customers to change their reservations online at anytime, day or
night.

Link: AA.com to enable customers to change their reservations online.

Top 25 travel Web sites – CNN.com

Link: Top 25 travel Web sites – CNN.com.

The Web is an essential tool for travelers, but as booking engines and trip forums evolve and multiply, you have to know where to look — and whom to trust. To help you, Travel + Leisure has assembled the ultimate online guide.

Google Watch – Google vs. Microsoft – Microsoft + Facebook = Trouble for Google

Some interesting rumors have surfaced this week regarding the Microsoft, Google and Facebook juggernauts.

First,
Michael Arrington from TechCrunch set the blogosphere afire Friday when
he reported that a group of "industry luminaries" attended a cloak-and-dagger meeting at Google’s headquarters to discuss how to deal with Facebook,
whose 40-million-plus users aren’t the issue so much as its open
development platform. Arrington said not one but THREE sources fed him
the info (can you say "leak"?).

Link: Google Watch – Google vs. Microsoft – Microsoft + Facebook = Trouble for Google.