We’re creating a more connected travel industry, underpinned by sustainability and long-term investor relations.
The way travellers search for, shop, plan and book travel has evolved. Driven in particular by rapid smartphone and (perhaps more importantly) tablet adoption, the traveller can be online, within reach and interacting at their fingertips with a variety of different brands, services, products and companies, at almost any time of the day or night.
In this context, with different brands and different kinds of consumer goods clamouring for the customer’s attention at any given moment, securing the customer’s interest is more difficult than ever. It’s therefore imperative for travel providers to speak directly to the customer’s needs, and to offer products and services that fulfil these – offering the right product or service, via the right means, at the right time.
Easier said than done, perhaps! The first step, of course, is identifying precisely what these needs are. Ultimately, I believe that the end customer needs and expects travel to be hassle-free – from shopping and booking, right at the initial stages of the trip, through the journey itself and even once travel itself is complete, for example, when it comes to filing expense claims for business travel recently undertaken.
What’s encompassed in this idea of hassle-free travel? Well, the end traveller might expect interoperability between providers and a single ticket for all legs of their journey – even if this includes multiple transport modes, such as air and rail or coach. They need to be able to search and compare effectively the options for their entire journey, door-to-door, taking into account their own preferences (such as cost or duration of journey). They certainly expect information and updates (in case of delay, for example) on-the-go, via their mobile device, and they’ll want to be able to make changes to their booking or buy additional services and products at any stage, using their tablet, perhaps. The travel search landscape is fragmenting, and travellers might be looking for a niche experience using a specific intermediary – for example, an app specially designed for planning and booking bachelor parties – or comparing options based on price using a metasearch engine.
One thing is sure: as the variety of channels the traveller uses to search for, book and plan travel increases dramatically, and the range of meta search and travel apps available to them broadens, selling the right travel product or service to the customer at the right time and in the right channel is becoming much more complex. I might even argue that thinking about channels is no longer the right way to go – rather, travel providers need to think about the various ‘moments’ when the traveller is using different means or looking for different things, via different intermediaries, and evolve the way they sell travel accordingly.
At Amadeus, we are helping travel providers to achieve exactly this. We already facilitate interoperability between providers, and we are working with the European Commission as part of the All Ways Travelling consortium to make planning and booking a journey combining different transport modes easier for the traveller. Our cloud-based, 24/7 real-time, single source of data means that we can help travel providers generate a consistent offer to the traveller in any channel, anywhere in the world, at any time. We are present in dozens of markets worldwide, meaning that, while we are a truly global company, we recognise that there isn’t a single global culture – we understand the needs of travellers in different regional and local markets.
As traveller needs change and develop, we draw on this expertise to support travel providers similarly evolving the way they sell their products and services. As travel becomes more complex, travel players will require a strong distribution platform, a consolidator and aggregator, which can manage huge amounts of content and transactions in real time to provide consistent and tailored offers with a high level of transparency. Amadeus is uniquely placed to offer that, handling its huge assets and moving them in new directions as the market evolves, all while working with them to shape the future of travel .