Press release

Amadeus Affinity Shopper wins industry vote at PhoCusWright Travel Innovation Summit

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Amadeus announces its Affinity Shopper product, developed for airline websites and launched last week, has won the PhoCusWright travel technology innovation award. Recognised at The Travel Innovation Summit in Orlando, USA, Affinity Shopper is the first solution from Amadeus Extreme Search technology portfolio which enables travellers to shop on airline websites by their desired travel experience rather than on a linear date and destination basis.

Madrid, 18 November, 2009 – Amadeus, a leading provider of technology and distribution solutions to the travel and tourism industry, has identified the Amateur-Expert Traveller – who is more knowledgeable, more adventurous and more likely to live in an emerging economy than ever before – and whose rise coincides with innovations in the trip experience and the growth of niche travel in the post-recessionary environment.

Based on primary research with 2,719 travel professionals and 30 thought-leaders and senior executives from companies such as Kayak, Forrester and Qatar Airways, the report highlights three significant developments:

The Amateur-Expert Traveller: the average consumer has been empowered by the internet, and the dynamic of the relationship between travel companies and their customers is changing. 73% of industry professionals welcome the greater knowledge brought by user-generated content, which drives up customer expectations, and creates new opportunities for travel agents to share their expertise with increasingly adventurous travellers.

The responsive journey: 62% of those surveyed think that the journey experience is ripe for technological innovation. The maturing of the mobile internet will give rise to massive innovation around the trip itself.

All niches great and small: travel companies’ revenue streams are becoming more evenly spread over a wider range of products. The traditional 80/20 sales distribution curve no longer applies to 38% of respondents, for whom 80% of their revenues was contributed by 60% or more of their products. Similarly, niche travel offers present opportunities for travel companies. Those surveyed identified adventure travel (83%), religious travel (55%), and weddings (45%) as key growth areas for specialist holidays.

According to Ian Wheeler, Vice President, Marketing and Distribution, Amadeus: “The growing expertise of travellers has had a profound impact on the travel industry as the average consumer, empowered by the internet, is increasingly well-informed. But greater expectations are being embraced by the travel industry, and it’s spurring on a new wave of innovation in the wake of the recession.”

Innovation in new technologies across the whole travel experience will be a critical source of new services and revenue streams for travel companies. In the survey, one third of respondents think that virtual reality will soon have the biggest impact on the travel experience by matching holidaymakers with destinations much more accurately.

But virtual reality is just one of many different technologies that will shape our travel experience in the future. Yesterday, Amadeus presented a new Extreme Search solution, a search engine that transforms travel websites into a ‘traveller playground’ where consumers can explore and select their trip based on their desired holiday experience, rather than simply searching for flights along specific routes on exact dates. Driven by Amadeus’ ‘Extreme Search’ concept, travellers can ask: ‘Where can I go and what can I do, for the money I want to spend?’ and instantly find clear alternatives, on the same initial search page.

According to Wheeler; “You do not always enter a store looking for a blue shirt or a striped tie. In the same way, you do not always know if you want to go to Mexico, Miami or the Bahamas but you do know you want to go to the beach. Thanks to Extreme Search, a traveller could narrow their search to ‘beach holidays, anytime between November and January at 25 degrees Celsius’ and relevant destinations from across the globe would be displayed. Extreme Search is one of the many new technological concepts which will intuitively help travellers find what they want quickly, and guide them towards new experiences based on their interests.”

The rise of the BRIC economies

As BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) economies continue to grow, the traditional tourism and business travel landscape is changing. Our survey predicts that by 2020, China will be the third largest tourist destination in the world, ahead of traditionally second-placed Spain. Moreover, economic growth in these countries means that holidaymakers and business travellers are increasingly likely to be from Brazil, Russia, India and China. Successful travel companies will need to bear in mind the cultural specificity of serving Chinese or Brazilian holidaymakers instead of North Americans or Europeans.

In addition, while many industry watchers think the internet will take over the travel industry, 75% of industry experts think that we won’t all be booking our holidays online. As more of the world becomes accessible, we’ll still need the help of traditional travel agents to help us find that holiday that’s just a little bit more interesting. This is particularly true for the developing economies where a premium is placed on customer service and human interaction.

According to Wheeler: “The last year has been challenging - there’s no doubt about it. But we can clearly see the desire within the industry to grow, adapt, and innovate around the whole consumer experience.”

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You can view the full report at www.amadeus.com/amateur-expert along with case studies of the new amateur-expert traveller. For further information, or to arrange an interview, please contact [mediarelations@amadeus.com]

Notes to the editors

Amadeus is the chosen technology partner for providers, sellers, and buyers of travel. The company provides distribution, IT and point-of-sale solutions to help its customers adapt, grow and succeed in the fast changing travel industry. Customer groups include travel providers (airlines, hotels, car rental companies, railway companies, ferry lines, cruise lines, insurance companies and tour operators), travel sellers (travel agencies) and travel buyers (corporations and travellers).

In just a few years, Amadeus has become a leading airline IT provider offering a fast growing portfolio of unique new generation solutions shared by a community of over 200 airlines. The portfolio includes the Amadeus Altea Suite (new generation customer management solution), the Amadeus e-Commerce Suite and other added value solutions like Amadeus Revenue Integrity.

Amadeus has central sites in Madrid (corporate headquarters & marketing), Nice (development) and Erding (Operations – data processing centre) and regional offices in Miami, Buenos Aires, Bangkok and Dubai. At market level, Amadeus maintains customer operations through 71 local Amadeus Commercial Organisations covering 219 markets.

The company is majority owned by WAM Acquisition, whose shareholders are BC Partners, Cinven, Air France, Iberia and Lufthansa. Amadeus employs over 8,900 employees worldwide, representing 105 nationalities.

More information about Amadeus is available at: http://www.amadeus.com

Contact details

Corporate Communication / Corporate Marketing
tel: +34 91 582 0160
fax : +34 91 582 0188
e-mail : mediarelations@amadeus.com