Keeping up


e are now planning the annual Travel Weekly Conference, set for spring in Orlando. The show will be quite different from its predecessors, in part because the event -- a technology show -- is narrowly focused, for the first time, on the Internet.

The effect of that is to create a program that is heavily focused on the leisure side of the business.

It also promises a chance for agents to do lots of research in a short period of time on "who's doing what to whom" in the travel Web world.

However, as we knew from the start, our roster of speakers is a fluid thing. In today's volatile world of dot-coms, companies come and go. It is disappointing that some of the Web businesses that sounded so creative and interesting will not be represented at our show, after all.

For example, we lined up a speaker to describe the intriguing air fare shopping concept launched not too long ago by Savvio. But that young business shut down at the beginning of the month.

When also ceased operations, putting its assets up for sale -- there went another speaker.

Whiplash, which planned a system that agents could use to book customized leisure trips electronically, is not likely to be represented. Its assets are for sale, as well.

This rundown is not meant to highlight who will not be at our show, but to make the point about a lively, fast-evolving business environment. The panels that each of these speakers was slated for remain on our schedule, with plenty of candidates to share details of business plans and life in the cyberbusiness world.

The sessions are, respectively:

  • Going, Going, Gone -- and Other Pricing Models, featuring sites that sponsor auctions, reverse auctions and other nontraditional methods of pricing and distributing the travel product.
  • Enriching That Web Site, on firms that offer third-party content and bookable products with which agents can enhance their Web sites.
  • The Web, at a Leisurely Pace, presenting Web sites that make it possible to book leisure products that historically have been impossible to book electronically or difficult to even contact.
  • The travel Web world bears watching, regardless of how involved you become with it in your business. I urge you to make space on your calendars for the April 29 to May 1 event.

    Come along to see who is doing what in Web travel by then.

    I look forward to getting those answers myself.

    To register, go to

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