We’re creating a more connected travel industry, underpinned by sustainability and long-term investor relations.
What does a more connected travel future mean to you from both a consumer and a business standpoint?
The way I see it is that the customer is becoming more demanding in terms of experiencing a seamless end-to-end travel experience, from the moment a trip is booked all the way to post-trip user generated reviews. Devices are progressively substituting traditional methods to carry out activities such as making payments and booking flights.
It is clear that the digital evolution in our society is heavily impacting the travel industry as we know it, and ultimately the way travellers want to be served. Ideally travel providers such as airlines, hoteliers and airports would like to know where you are at any given moment in time. This societal change means all players including Amadeus need to adapt to this new environment. For example in the future a mobile device could facilitate check in/out of hotels and also serve as the key to the assigned room.
Our goal is to help providers make the best use of this new technology to best serve their customers in turn. However, these service opportunities are still fragmented and disconnected today.
There’s been much talk about the role of the mobile phone as the be all and end all to create a seamless travel experience – but is there more talk than action today?
I think there is quite a lot of focus on mobile today within the industry and beyond, on par with important topics such as Big Data. It was just a few years ago that Amadeus commissioned The Always Connected Traveller study that talked about mobile as the unstoppable force that’s set to transform the customer experience. This channel is undoubtedly the most intimate and flexible way to connect and interact with a customer, offering the ability to deliver tailored offers at any stage of the travel process. Travellers are beginning to expect and adopt mobile services including travel apps across their entire journey.
Everyone including Amadeus is trying to interpret mobile within their own business environment, both replicating existing processes in the mobile channel to proposing new services such as creating new ways to help airports serve their customers for example. As far as I see it, mobile is an evolution for the long term and as a society we are only at the early stages of its development, it has yet to reach its full potential.
How is industry collaboration key to improving the door-to-door experience for travellers?
It’s certainly a very complex concept, there are many combinations to get from A to B; to offer the traveller different bookable options in split seconds according to price, time travelled etc. is a very difficult request. Today, full integration of transport and travel services does not exist, especially since all of the various important parts of the travel process are not yet connected which largely prevents the different travel industry providers from offering existing travel services in a better, more seamless way.
Amadeus is uniquely placed at the heart of the global travel technology industry and arguably best positioned to make this vision a reality. But it is absolutely key that all industry players are collaborating to make this happen since there are number of important interoperability challenges that need to be addressed to be able to deliver a better all-round travel experience for the traveller from beginning to end.
Are there other industries that travel could learn from to be more connected?
I follow with interest certain players in the digital advertising industry who are trying to evolve their business from a predominately PC-based cookie-tracking one to also include the mobile channel. I feel that we in the travel industry have something to learn from them. Today, their customer targeting and personalisation is more advanced than the equivalent within the travel industry as a whole, and as a consequence they are ultimately able to offer intelligent targeted ads directly to the end consumer.
From a personal point of view, what single enhancement of the travel experience would help you live a more connected travel experience?
I am a frequent business traveller and my dream, probably like many colleagues, would be to enhance the travel experience specifically when travel disruptions occur. For example, if a flight is cancelled, wouldn’t it be great to be at the stage of evolution in the travel industry and mobile world where all subsequent changes including the re-issuing of flights and rebooking of hotels is taken care of and optimised in an instant? The industry is not quite there yet today, but I am hopeful it will be the case in the not so distant future, and I am sure that Amadeus is going to play a critical role in achieving this.