Travelocity: The Walled Garden Finally Falls - Almost

Travelocity has long promoted their igoyougo property (which has morphed over time into a version of Booking Buddy or Super Search) using pop-unders and banner ads. Travelocity's goal has been to still a searching consumer to convert somewhere even if not on the Travelocity mothership. In other words, better to get a few dollars in affiliate revenue by shipping the consumer off to a competitor than end up with nothing. Afterall, Travelocity attracted the consumer to their site somehow which probably wasn't free - might as well make something on it.

But we recently noticed a much more prominent placement - right at the bottom of the air search results page. Travelocity is also clearly displaying their competitors logos - right on their own site - first time we have seen that on major OTA besides Hotwire.

Now if only the search box actually worked without leaving the page - it does not allow a user to actually input city pairs and dates (much less do the obvious and pre-populate these fields.) Users who try and input search criteria are redirected to a new window - at least the search parameters are passed over....

Hotwire wins for elegance and usability, Travelocity for the bold logo placement....

These insights are excerpted with permission from Tom Botts' Hudson Crossing blog.