Travelcasting is the commercial application of podcasting for the travel industry. Travelcasting is the distribution and publishing of audio and video feeds, that offer travel information delivered over the Internet, for on demand listening.
“This is a new step in the evolution of on-demand travel information delivery, making it accessible, informative, useful and appealing” says Ryan Hoback, CEO of What I Want Podcasting. This mix presents the travel industry with a very unique opportunity to reach its audience through this new medium. Those individuals, who are already seeking travel information actively, will use RSS subscription technology built into each podcast feed, to receive information immediately as it is updated by each organization. With one click of a button, a user can subscribe to a feed that may be interesting, and any related information that is ever updated to that feed will be automatically processed to their personal aggregator. An aggregator is able to subscribe to a feed, check for new content at user-determined intervals, and retrieve the content.
To take this process one step further, podcasting publishes each feed with the capability to be transferred to any portable audio or video device. So with the growth of the ipod and all the other portable media devices, you have the ability to grab travelcasts and place them on your portable player for listening or viewing. Most users attach their portable players to their computers daily or weekly, and once the player is attached they automatically receive the new travelcast updates.
The flexibility of this medium is what will drive the growth of Travelcasting tremendously over the next few years. There are a numerous formats that can be used in developing a travelcast. Virtual audio and video tours, give the power to the listener or viewer to receive on-demand travel tours for their destinations. In addition, podcasts are being placed on portable video devices to offer high-end guests tours of the property when they check-in.
The best thing about travelcasting is that the marketing opportunities are endless. With normal media, once a program is developed it only lives for a certain amount of time, and then it goes dormant and no longer exists in society. With podcasting, these feeds can be published to the web so that they will live forever, or until the organization request for them to be removed.
Here are some examples of how podcasting will affect the travel industry. The best sales associates for most resorts are travel agents and agencies. Travel agents and agencies rely on each resort to constantly update them with new deals and promotions, as well as supply them with the tools they need to promote the resorts, in order to keep clients satisfied. With podcasting, and its subscription based technology, you can put out audio or video updates of information that you would like the travel agencies to use, and they will receive as soon as it is posted on your server.
Another example of its use could be in coordination with existing web pages. Most resorts have numerous web pages which deliver travel information in text format. By providing an audio or video link on that page it gives the user a different and potentially more effective format for receiving the information. So not only can these audio and video feeds be placed on web pages where “one-click” lets you listen or view a travelcast, it can be sent to portable devices as well. This is also a great way to teach your existing users how to start utilizing travelcasting services by easing them into it, fusing your current website with new technology.
The options are wide open for the development of travelcast programs that are cutting edge, and highly opportunistic in terms of converting listeners into consumers.
The popularity of portable on demand information will grow even greater as wireless internet services continue to flourish across the country. These portable devices will no longer have to be connected to the internet; they will receive information wirelessly as it is updated. In addition, as cell phones and portable devices continue to merge together, the market grows larger.
For organizations that have members worldwide, the distribution of company information is very important, and once again this offers each institution a method of on-demand delivery which is convenient to all. Travelcasting can also be used as a direct line of communication, by recording video-casts of company messages from executives for company wide distribution.
There are numerous uses for travelcasting, and over the next few years it will explode in popularity. It is beneficial to organizations as well as the consumer, and it will be seen as a great tool in any travel organizations’ operations.