What if the world became more integrated, instead of more fragmented?

Rafael Hernández

Director, Corporate Strategy, Amadeus IT Group

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The world is already becoming more interconnected with the Internet of Things. What if this trend continues and attitudes become more favourable towards sharing data? Would this lead to a future where more personal information is taken from more data points?

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This is the basis for the second scenarioA.T. Kearneyformulated for its ‘What If?’ report, called ‘Dali’ because it is innovative, futuristic, and a little surreal. It sees less protectionism, and that fosters collaboration between businesses and across borders.

In this scenario, there might be a backlash against machines knowing everything about us. A tired traveller in an airport lounge may resent being bombarded with special offers from nearby shops. Despite these issues, travel becomes faster, cheaper and safer for travellers. People enjoy fewer security controls at borders. They will have real-time information on unforeseen events such as flight delays. Driverless cars will await at their destination to navigate unknown cities.

The Dali scenario also sees collaboration across the industry, allowing travel providers to become more efficient. For all these gains and advances in technology, it is not a ‘win-win’ scenario. Traditional and online travel agencies will lose business as people rely more on digital assistants for travel. But this will not happen overnight and online travel agencies will defend their relevance by buying data.

This is the scenario that is best for the ‘colonisation’ of the travel industry by tech giants, like Google, Amazon, Baidu, and Alibaba. They will hold the upper hand thanks to the sheer volume and variety of data they have about people, and their superior data crunching analytics. This means that traditional travel providers such as airlines and hotels would lose their direct relationship with their clients, as tech giants become the ‘gatekeepers’ of the travel industry.

Global Distribution Systems will also play a role in this scenario. “When you have a cornerstone technology that has already been built, that aggregates so many providers,” says Decius Valmorbida, Vice President Europe, Middle East and Africa at Amadeus, “you do not destroy it. You build upon it.” There is opportunity to provide aggregated data to new, specialised search engines. Amadeus is already providing this function to the travel search engine Kayak.

For more about this scenario and the others identified in the report – downloadWhat if? Imagining the future of the travel industry.