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. Will airlines now be free to negotiate any deals they may want? I hardly doubt it. Continue reading 

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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 

Software Development: Buy or mAKE? Just BAKE!

Software Development: Buy or mAKE? Just BAKE!

A really good end product is often the result of the perfect mix of ingredients – not only when baking a cake, but also in software development.

Software is the central ingredient of digitization. Innovative products and services are no longer conceivable without it. Competitiveness crucially depends on the ability to create software-intensive products and services quickly and with highest quality. In software development, one therefore has to face the make-or-buy decision. Continue reading 

Chatbots – the Biggest IT Revolution after the iPhone?

Chatbots – the Biggest IT Revolution after the iPhone?

Will chatbots supersede apps and websites? A view into the future.

What is a chatbot? A chatbot is a service powered by rules and sometimes artificial intelligence (AI), which you interact with via a chat interface. An example: If you need new shoes, instead of going to the store and talking to the salesperson about what you want or scrolling through all shoes on a website, you would simply tell the chatbot what you want: your size and your preferred style. Then you would get returned the results as if you were in the store. Chatbots are supposedly huge because for the first time in history, messaging apps have surpassed social networks with over three billion active users per month (almost ½ of the world’s population). Continue reading 

Business travel in the digital age

Business Travel in the Digital Age

According to the GBTA BTI™ Outlook – Annual Global Report & Forecast travelers in Northern America spent $320 billion USD on business travel last year.

Business travel spending has grown at an average rate of 4.8 percent over the past four years. Western Europe and Northern America combined to make up half of the global spend in 2015 ($619 billion according to GBTA). Emerging markets struggled while key developed markets including the U.S., Germany, France and UK were steady. Continue reading 

The impact of PropTech on Business Travel

The Impact of PropTech on Business Travel

FinTech, InsurTech and HealthTech … the industry is facing a wave of digital disruptions that are starting to reshape the financial, insurance and health service sector. But have you already gotten in touch with the latest buzzword PropTech? And do you know what connects PropTech and business travellers?

Usually in the travel industry, booking travel is considered air, car, hotel, possibly some leisure aspects such as cruise, tour, activities (if it is not for business travel) and ground transportation (if you consider door-to-door). Today I want to draw your attention on the hotel portion – but expand on it as today’s travel environment is not so simple anymore. A better term would probably be accommodation. Continue reading 

4 Ways of IT Modernization

4 Ways of IT Modernization [Infographic]

What suits best when? Migration, new development, standard software or outsourcing: four ways of IT modernization – graphically visualized for you.

The travel industry has probably been one of the first industries using IT primarily in order to create bookings and deal with the rise of air travel. No surprise that a lot of legacy systems are still around. Core business processes such as GDS or CRS to most extent still run on mainframes as they are reliable and fast though expensive to maintain. Continue reading 

How IT can improve security on business trips

How IT can Improve Security on Business Trips

The last few months made more and more aware of an important topic for travelers – the safety while traveling. IT can be of great support here.

I do not know about you, but when I am at the station and I suddenly hear the announcement “The owner of the suitcase on track 23 is asked to return to his luggage immediately”, my pulse shoots up involuntarily. This increased need for security is confirmed by the recently published Business Travel Report of the German Business Travel Association, VDR (Verband Deutsches Reisemanagement e.V.) – and not only in the private context. Also on the company side this issue is getting more and more attention. Continue reading 

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How German Start-ups care about Quality

Software Engineering by start-ups – chaos and bugs instead of structure and quality? This was the title of a conference by the German federal association for the ITC industry BITKOM in mid-April. Its purpose was an exchange between established ITC companies and start-ups.

In particular, the key questions were: how chaotic are the conditions under which start-ups actually develop software – and of which importance is quality management to them. The location was suited to address these issues: the Hasso-Plattner-Institute for software systems engineering (HPI) in Potsdam, which already has supported numerous start-ups in the IT business. Continue reading 

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Safe Harbor 2.0: Relaunch of a Compromise

After Safe Harbor: A “Privacy Shield” shall protect the data of European citizens in the US.

In my last post I asked: “After Safe Harbor: Where is the legal certainty promised by the EC?“. Now the follow-up agreement for the regulation of transatlantic data transfers which has been expected for end of January at least is in sight. Yesterday the USA agreed at political level with the EC regarding a new framework with the promising name “EU-US Privacy Shield”. Continue reading 

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After Safe Harbor: Where is the legal certainty promised by the EC?

The Safe Harbor vacuum: the legal certainty promised by the EC for end of January is still pending; thereby the future of transatlantic data transfers still remains unclear. Does the politics really leave the IT industry in the lurch?

In the European Community the handling of individual-related data is regulated by the Directive 95/46/EC, which is deemed as one of the safest data protection standards in the world. It prohibits the transfer of individual-related data from the EC to countries without a comparable level of protection. Continue reading 

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PASS’ Online Booking Tool – featured on The Company Dime

A recent article in ‘The Company Dime’ highlights our company’s built-to-order Online Booking Tool (OBT) which was rolled out globally with a major financial institution in 2014, replacing Concur’s Cliqbook . We want to thank Jay Campbell for the feature which you can read in full length on our website: The Company Dime – PASS’ Online Booking Tool

Continue reading 

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Let Me Stop You Right There: Lufthansa Defends DCC Decision Against VDR Criticism

After the VDR criticized Lufthansa’s GDS fee in an open letter on the 9th of July, the company replied politely but firmly and explained why the DCC (Distribution Cost Charge) might be important for the future of the travel industry.

“German companies and their business travelers (…) are opposed to the sales strategy you have announced”, the VDR reproachfully started its letter to Jens Bischof, member of the Lufthansa German Airlines Board.  “The introduction of your DCC involves a fundamental unilateral change to the system – those that fail to comply pay a high price, with a surcharge of 16 Euros per ticket.”  Continue reading 

Corporate-Travel-Gamification-Nonsense-Or-Genius

Corporate Travel Gamification: Nonsense or Genius?

The concept of Gamification is simple: Play by the rules of your company and you will be rewarded. But what’s behind this modern way of encouraging employees to comply with corporate travel policies?

If you had a look at my article about Expense Management, you should be aware of my position regarding travel policies. I hold the opinion that the best option for the company and the most efficient option for the traveler can be reached through clever policies paired with a good corporate booking toolContinue reading