A report on the next generation of travel websites, (inspired by the titanic success of Myspace & Trip Advisor) highlights the growing clout of consumer-authored online content. Can this new breed of user-generated-media sites (blogs, travelogues, pictures, videos and musings from real-world travelers) compete head-on with the exhaustively researched & professionally presented guidebooks of established travel sites?
While user-generated media has its appeal (irreverent, inventive and honest as opposed to company-endorsed sales brochure), serious travelers are often best served by a mix of authenticity and expertness. Engaging the visitor in an endless stream of content has not proven to be a sustainable business model for all travel sites. User content that has an end-objective (helping the visitor make a decision on a hotel or an airline or a destination) usually delivers better results (as Trip Advisor has proven)