One of the most competitive industries on the Internet is, without a doubt, travel (tourism). An example of this is the proposal of products and services that international companies have in this regard, such as AirBNB, Booking, ODIGEO, Expedia, Priceline as the best known and now Google, which has also decided to enter to participate in this niche in the market.
To meet the demand of all those interested in traveling, whether for business or pleasure, there are endless portals and mobile applications available. However, these portals and applications must be able to satisfy and be attentive to the particular needs of each traveler.
We must not rule out the business sector, that is, that offer focused on satisfying the demand for trips organized by companies, such as the already famous Off-Sites or retreats. In this sense, there is already an increase in the offer by the travel sector in response to the needs of organizations. In other words, it is about considering not just one person but a group. American Express is one of the great providers for these corporate experiences.
Mobility has played an important role in shaping the demand for services that travelers expect from travel platforms, one of these outstanding apps is HotelTonight. But we are seeing apps like ByHours looking for a place in the market for “on demand” offer.
At some point travelers will make reservations through a Voice Booking Engine from devices such as Alexa or Google Home – Ronald Bleeker – Airtrade Holland.
One of the most critical challenges that each of these travel platforms faces is the long journey for a traveler to make the decision to book a hotel or a plane ticket. It will be very interesting to see how chat and voice services can reduce this time. In other words, how attentive can they be to guide the customer in their choice and achieve the "closing of the sale" in less time.
In the software industry, chatbots are already an established tool, Slack, for example, is one of the most prominent platforms in this area. A bot allows workgroups to increase their productivity; for example, to know the status of the work carried out by a team that practices scrum methodologies, we have the Stand-Bot.
Now we see how, little by little, messaging tools enter the workflow of travel agents. So we will see an increase in the offer of travel agencies with the support of chatbots, both for the B2B and B2C service.
Niches in the travel industry.
For a long time I have been part of the sector called "digital nomads", professionals who do not have a physical restriction to work. As part of my professional work I travel around 75,000 miles on national and transatlantic flights, which has allowed me to get to know some of the tools that allow you to take advantage of offers to create a unique travel experience.
For travelers we are seeing a trend on chat interfaces and messages enriched by proactive bot notifications or artificial intelligence systems – Alex Shchedrin – Data Art.
Mobile applications such as Hopper and Hitlist notify me when a route to a destination has dropped in price in a range of dates for which I am willing to travel. Now more than ever, analytics plays an important role in predicting the purchase of flights or hotel stays.
Online Travel Agency Platforms.
If you work in the travel industry, it is impossible that you do not know Saber, Amadeus or TravelPort, famous GDS that allow companies like Priceline, Expedia and Booking. All of these platforms are designed to deliver search results for destinations on specific dates. This has allowed them, for many years, to have hegemony in the travel industry.
From June 23 to 24, a hackathon focused on the Saber platform and the travel industry called Hackaton: TTX will meet in the city of Las Vegas. This event will allow various developers to present creations based on GDS solutions. But it should be noted that teams from various companies in the sector will also participate, with the aim of showing the new market trends that will be working with services such as Smooch, Twilio, Ticket Evolution, Microsoft and Data Art.
One of the challenges we face as technology integrators is to live up to our passengers who are now managing everything from their mobile – Roberto López – BCD Travel Chile.
We will also cover the hacks submitted by participating teams and announce the winners who are contesting a $ 5,000 USD prize for those teams with innovative ideas to meet the needs of travelers.
Roberto López, Project & Technology Manager at BCD Travel, one of the main providers of development services for travel agencies, is clear that a key factor is the preparation of professionals in the sector. It recognizes that consultants must be aware of trends in order to implement efficient workflows with special attention to the needs of the new generation of travelers.
Technological challenges and trends.
We interviewed several experts from different companies in Europe and Latin America to understand a bit where the online travel industry is heading, but above all to be able to tell them where the opportunities are for the new creation of services for the travel industry.
One of these experts is Alex Shchedrin, current Vice President of Strategic Services for Data Art, a firm specializing in software industry solutions for the travel industry. He tells us that he sees the following challenges for global distributed systems (GDS) such as Saber, Amadeus and Travel Port.
- The learning curve is high for booking platforms.
- Understanding the workflows of a travel agent is a complex task.
It is important to have a partner that allows you to access accumulated experience in various areas of the sector to be able to implement with a GDS, this is something that requires planning and design for the development of solutions for traditional and / or online travel agencies.
Some platforms (GDS) are already adding content to add value to their bookings, but the challenge is how to implement and add value to the travel agency workflow – Ronald Beeker – Airtrade Holland.
Chatbots are booming in the travel industry and, according to Ronald Beeker, Airtrade Holland Senior Vice President, we are in the early stages of bringing them into the corporate area. For now they serve as a support point for travel agencies and airlines. A clear example is KLM's Digital Media Hub, which has reduced the response time to travelers who ask questions on social networks.
The great challenge for operators and travel agencies is to keep abreast of market trends, to continue innovating in how they serve travelers. Which will continue to evolve over time – Björn Böhme – Tramada Systems.
For Björn Böhme Global Director of Engineering and Product at Tramada Systems, who worked on the construction of the base product of the service provider for hotel and airline booking systems, the challenge is to be able to integrate the different providers that allow us to offer a comprehensive and efficient service for travelers.
From June 27 to 29, these travel industry professionals have an appointment in Las Vegas to see the new developments of Saber, one of the most outstanding Globdal Delivery Systems platforms in the sector at its annual Travel Technology Exchange (TTX) conference.
We will be reporting on what we have seen at the Hackathon and at the conference in these following days. So stay tuned to the #SabreTTX hashtag.