The reality behind NDC: Why NDC won't break down the GDS oligopoly – yet

The reality behind NDC: Why NDC won’t break down the GDS oligopoly – yet

It sounds so easy to use NDC, but the reality is: Not too many bookings are being made. Why?

Airlines including Lufthansa, British Airways, Iberia and American have announced direct connect initiatives via NDC. They either introduced charges to book through a GDS or will be offering additional capabilities if booked directly through their NDC interface. When it comes to costs (or certain fares not being available in preferred channels) it affects everybody. It sounds so easy to use NDC, but the reality is: Not too many bookings are being made – especially for business travel. Why is that? Continue reading 

What Are Incentives, Commission & Overrides?

Travel Technology for Dummies: What Are Incentives, Commission & Overrides?

Complicated topics explained in a simple way: Today let us understand what incentives, commission & overrides are.

I spoke a lot about Incentives, commission & overrides in my blog post about the US Airways vs. Sabre trial, where many numbers came to light and provided insight into the money flow here. But this time, I want to focus on what those numbers actually mean. Continue reading 

Travel Technology for Dummies: What is the difference between booking, waitlisting, ticketing, codeshare and interlining?

Travel Technology for Dummies: Booking, Waitlist, Ticket, Codeshare & Interlining

Complicated topics explained in a simple way: What is the difference between booking, waitlisting, ticketing, codeshare and interlining?

Everybody who has ever traveled has come across those terms, but have you ever wondered what they all mean? This article of the series Travel Technology for Dummies will shed some light on what it means if somebody has a booking, is waitlisted or actually has a ticket (or an interline ticket). Continue reading 

Google Focuses on Artificial Intelligence

As Far as the Eye Can Reach: Google Focuses on Artificial Intelligence

At the Google I/O developer conference that took place in mid-May, Google CEO Sundar Pichai announced to around 7,000 guests nothing less than a change of course towards artificial intelligence. But the company’s objectives remain virtually unchanged: to collect data and win over new customers.

The topic dominating the conference: intelligence, or more specifically, artificial intelligence (AI). With the help of AI, devices will understand their users in the future even better than before, making their lives much easier. Continue reading 

What is a Passenger Service System (PSS)?

Travel Technology for Dummies: What Is a Passenger Service System?

Complicated topics explained in a simple way: Last time I explained what a booking reference or PNR is. Today let us talk about the Passenger Service System (PSS).

The PSS usually comprises of the Central Reservation System (CRS), in other words booked inventory, an airline inventory system (free inventory) and a departure control system (DCS). It is basically the technology an airline needs: Continue reading 

Travel Risk Management: Safety first!

Travel Risk Management: Safety First

Political unrest, terror attacks, natural disasters, epidemics – (perceived) insecurity is on the rise among business travelers. This poses new challenges for travel risk management.

Despite all the digital innovations, the number of business trips is increasing year after year: they open doors and drive growth. It is therefore hardly a surprise that in the American Express Global Business Travel (GBT)’s European Business Travel Barometer, around 50 percent of those surveyed said that they classified business trips not as a cost, but as an investment. And costs are also taking a backseat elsewhere: security is increasingly prioritized as the most important aim of travel management. Continue reading 

Travel Technology for Dummies: What Is Overbooking?

Travel Technology for Dummies: What Is Overbooking?

Complicated topics explained in a simple way: Today let us understand what overbooking means.

Since United’s disastrous ‘removal‘ of a paying passenger with an assigned seat from an airplane in early April 2017, which went viral in social media all over the world, the term ‘overbooking’ is on everybody’s mind. But what are ‘must-ride passengers’ and what does ‘overbooking’ actually mean? Continue reading 

What Is a Booking Reference or PNR?

Travel Technology for Dummies: What Is a Booking Reference or PNR?

Complicated topics explained in a simple way: Today let us look at booking references or PNRs.

What is a booking reference or PNR? A booking reference, also referred to as a PNR or Record Locator, is the airline’s internal identifier for your flight booking within their computer system. It is generated by the airline’s computer system, not by the travel agent or GDS. If your flights involve different airlines, there are often separate PNRs for each carrier for use within their respective systems, but you may be given only the ticketing airline’s PNR. Continue reading 

Chatbots: Despite the Hype, their Time Has Not Yet Come

Chatbots: Despite the Hype, their Time Has Not Yet Come

Everyone is talking about chatbots, but they are still at a very early stage of their evolution. For the vision to become reality, a measure of added value is necessary.

When people mention the word “bot” today, most of them are thinking about social bots. These publish predetermined messages on social networks, create new ones by themselves, respond to keywords or automatically share content on related topics. They were heavily used during the recent US presidential election campaign. As exciting as this topic is, however, today I am focusing on another type of bot: the chatbot. Continue reading 

Travel Technology for Dummies: What is Full Content?

Travel Technology for Dummies: What is Full Content?

Complicated topics explained in a simple way: Today let us understand what full content means.

Google Analytics suggests that the most read article on this blog is “The difference between CRS and GDS”. This tells me that there is a need to educate about travel players and their interactions, travel technology and travel business models. I would therefore like to start a new series under the name: Travel Technology for Dummies. Continue reading 

Four Levers – One Goal: Options for IT Modernization

Four Levers – One Goal: Options for IT Modernization

Migration, new product development, standard software, outsourcing – or perhaps a mix? My decision guidance for your IT modernization.

In my last blog post, I illustrated the central challenges to IT modernization and concluded that due to growing lifespans, legacy systems can increasingly become liabilities. Have you also come to the conclusion that your applications and development technology need to be modernized, and have you worked past all concerns that stood in the way of reorganization? Then it is now time to consider the “how”. Continue reading 

IT Modernization between Necessity and Skepticism

IT Modernization between Necessity and Skepticism

Never change a running system: Our old IT landscape (still) works – so why should we change it? Some companies are highly skeptical. Let’s take a glance at the main obstacles in IT modernization.

At the beginning of 2015, I discussed modernizing IT landscapes and replacing legacy systems, something that often accompanies the process. Back then, I concluded that IT modernization is nowhere near close to completion, despite new technologies and automatic migration processes. Even with digitization putting more and more pressure on the situation. Continue reading 

IT Modernization – Yes or No? A Checklist

IT Modernization – Yes or No? A Checklist

Many companies’ application landscapes have grown over time and were added to time and again. Complex interfaces, insufficient documentation, and obsolete development environments result in more and more effort. Changing requirements make an IT modernization necessary – does this apply to you, too?

Some time ago, I presented you the four ways of IT modernization in an infographic. Back then, I suggested that deciding which path to take requires careful consideration and can’t happen overnight. Quite often, however, IT administrators already have difficulty in deciding whether to modernize their IT or not.

Continue reading 

Four Core Components of Higher IT Security

Four Core Components of Higher IT Security

Mitigating risks: For all businesses, IT security must be a crucial part of their overall strategy. In this article, I will outline its cornerstones and how tools can support the risk management process.

The use of information technology introduces risks – risks, however, that can be kept at bay by suitable measures. The following areas are crucial and worth being considered more in detail: software development, technical protection measures, staff training and risk management. Continue reading 

Online Booking Tools of Today and Tomorrow

Of Elephants and Mice: Online Booking Tools of Today and Tomorrow

Let the corporate travel war begin? The market for business-trip booking tools is moving forward – one might even say it’s one “jumbo merger” after another.

What began in 2014 with the takeover of Concur by SAP continued in 2016. KDS will become part of American Express Global Business Travel (GBT) and Amadeus is well on its way to completely take over I-Fao with its online booking engine “Cytric”. At the same time, Sabre is increasingly pushing towards European markets. The winds of change are getting stronger: this is also demonstrated by the fact that GBT and SAP Concur have terminated their reseller partnership. Continue reading 

US Airways Sabre Trial: No Winner – only Losers!

US Airways Sabre Verdict: No Winner – only Losers!

Last week US Airways (now American Airlines) and Sabre made their final pleas to the jury – the five-year-plus antitrust case draw to a close. My prediction became true: There is no winner.

The verdict is in. American Airlines will receive $ 5.1 million in damages – 11.5 percent of what they’d sought. The battle will go on, Sabre will file a motion or appeal, and we are back to square one. Bottom line, attorneys aside, no winner only be losers. The money awarded will hardly cover the expenses of this lawsuit. [UPDATE 3/7/17: Even though the Award is tripled according to Texas law, US Airways disclosed legal costs exceeded $ 122 million ($ 84.5M in attorney fees, $ 36.6M in attorney expenses & almost $ 0.9M in statutory costs), while Sabre estimated their legal fees between $ 35-$ 50 million]. Will airlines now be free to negotiate any deals they may want? I hardly doubt it.

Continue reading 

Going GUI: The Cost of Multi-Source Agent Desktops

Did GDSs pay $ 1.2 billion to avoid multi-source agent desktops? And how much does it cost to develop multi-content booking tools?

Graphical travel user interfaces (GUIs) such as agent desktops, online booking tools and mobile interfaces have been around for a while by now. While they are pretty successful in the online booking space with an adoption at around 90 percent, they are still lagging behind with agents who love their cryptic screen or “green screen”, how this terminal access is called by insiders referring to the ancient IBM 3270 terminals. Continue reading 

Business travel: Are you still paying or already saving?

Business Travel: Are You Still Paying or Already Saving?

Raise employee satisfaction, reduce costs and optimize processes: Why an online booking tool kills three birds with one stone. 

My last blog post focused on business travel in the digital age. The fact is that, despite virtual technologies, face-to-face meetings are indispensable. I also demonstrated the primary objectives of travel management and highlighted the crucial role played by IT in its implementation. Here I primarily referred to the use of an online booking tool (OBT) – often used as a synonym for a travel management system (TMS), an online booking engine (OBE), internet booking engine (IBE) or a self-booking tool (SBT) – as a central management element. Continue reading 

Java 9 – Evolutionary or Revolutionary Development?

Java 9 – Evolutionary or Revolutionary Development?

In just over six months, it will be ready: The Java release 9 is coming. Today we already take a look at what’s new – what is arriving and what is not.

As we constantly observe market as well as technology trends and how they can benefit the travel industry, this time we wanted to highlight the next Java version, which is just around the corner. This becomes specifically interesting as we are in the process of providing value added travel services completely decoupled from the user interface as a restful interface so that anybody can create an innovative user interface and book travel – be it chatbots, virtual agents, a mobile interface or an Online Booking Tool. Continue reading