Photo courtesy: Flickr/masochrismtango

More vendors are making waves among the ranks of those that figure semantic technology has a role to play in the travel sector, from helping hospitality providers assess the quality of user experiences to serving as a B2B backbone for companies that want to help users book travel plans, whether they’re aiming to spend Thanksgiving with the family in Nebraska or Christmas shopping in Paris, and more.

* At the PhoCusWrite 2011 Travel Innovation Summit last week, ReviewPro won the QuickMobile Award for Travel Innovation: Emerging Category.

 The company provides web-based analytics for hotels to aggregate, organize and manage their online reputation and presence in leading social media sites. Its Global Review Index is a general reputation score based upon a proprietary algorithm that provides a quantitative analysis of data taken from all major Online Travel Alliance and online review sites, and it also provides indexes for the performance of a hotel in the key departments/attributes that review sites track. Semantics come in by way of sentiment analytics that offer a qualitative assessment of what is being said in the text of all reviews to determine if the sentiment is positive or negative

* Evature picked up the DEMO award for game-changing travel innovation, as well as the TravelStoreMaker.com Award for Travel Innovation: International Category at the same event. Evature uses natural language technology in its Eva virtual travel agent to enable free-text travel search for mobile, social and other websites. It purports to let users type in comments like: “I would like to fly to Paris on tuesday next week. I need to land before 2pm” or “I wish to fli [Sic] from Bostn [Sic] to Miyami [Sic] on next wensday [Sic again].” It’s designed for online travel sites as a tool to improve users satisfaction and conversion rates. There’s also a Facebook page, SkyscannerFlightSearch, that users can try out directly (if you don’t mind getting your results in pounds rather than dollars).

* Other somehow-semantically-enhanced travel players trotted out their wares at the event, as well, even if they didn’t take home an award. From Rearden Commerce, for instance, came Deem Travel, whose goal is to surface personalized travel options and enable business travelers to collect, organize, collaborate and purchase a trip that best fits their collective needs. The discovery experience for the persons contemplating or the individual planning the trip – an admin assistant, perhaps – relies on a relevance engine that considers an individual’s preferences. The engine also takes into account semantic and contextual information such as traveler location, past bookings, job responsibilities and personal identifiers, including whether their impressions of hotels or restaurants were or were not favorable.

The Deem ecommerce platform at large applies semantic technology to to optimize the exchange of goods, services, and information with personalization and repeat value to drive customer loyalty.