Michael Strauss

Michael Strauss

Michael Strauss is the CEO of Miami-based PASS Consulting Corporation. He has been the driver behind PASS's success and continued growth in the travel and telecommunications industries. He is also Head of the Business Unit Travel worldwide for PASS Consulting Group. Michael started his professional career in 1993 at Siemens Mobile Germany as a developer for cordless phone systems. He soon was in charge for product development and strategic relationships with leading customers. Later he was responsible for both strategic market and trend analysis for Siemens' cell phone network division and worked closely with the Siemens executive leadership team. In 2000, Michael Strauss joined PASS Germany, where he developed and managed the telecommunications division. In 2004 he was named CEO of PASS North America and at the same time Head of the Business Unit Travel. Since then Michael has been instrumental in scaling PASS's technology solutions while maintaining a culture of innovation within the company. Michael holds a Masters degree in Engineering and Information Technology from the Technical University of Munich.

All posts by Michael Strauss:

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 

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 

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 

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 

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 

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 

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 

let-me-stop-you-right-there-lufthansa-defends-dcc-decision-against-vdr-criticism

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 

GDS-fee-is-Lufthansa-serious-or-just-negotiating

Is Lufthansa Serious Or Just Negotiating? Why a Few Direct Connect Bookings Will Save Millions

If you were following the travel news last week, you have probably already heard about the big Lufthansa news. Starting on the 1st of September, all airlines of the Lufthansa group are going to add a 16€ fee to every booking made via GDS.

The “Distribution Cost Charge” affects Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines and Swiss International Airlines, but will not be added to tickets purchased through their own website, airline ticket counters or service centers. Continue reading 

oil-prices-experiencing-record-lows-why-flying-still-doesnt-get-cheaper

Oil Prices Experiencing Record Lows: Why Flying Still Doesn’t Get Cheaper

After my last article I’m starting to debate using cabs, but it was the easiest option on my corporate trip last week. When I sat down something else suddenly hit me: A big yellow fuel surcharge sign on the car’s window.

We are all aware of the fact that Kerosene hasn’t been this inexpensive in years. So why is it that we have to pay surcharges on cab rides and flying hasn’t gotten any cheaper, too? Continue reading 

will-uber-soon-deliver-amazon-packages

Will Uber Soon Deliver Amazon Packages – Replacing UPS?

I heard some interesting theories today which made me think. Will Uber eventually deliver Amazon packages? Uber definitely revolutionized ground transportation. Challenges were mastered easily and instead of fighting back, fines were paid leaving the competition win in court but not on the street.

Sounds familiar? Correct – Amazon and Uber share some common tactics. So why not join forces and let private people deliver packages to your home? Maybe deliveries with drones were a bit futuristic, but cut down delivery times to hours with private drivers seems pretty realistic. Do you think UPS is nervous? Continue reading 

Corporate Travel

How to Make the Most Out Of Corporate Travel

Did you know that for every dollar invested in corporate travel, companies can increase their revenue by an average of $9.50 and $2.90 in new profits? No wonder that Americans went on more than 452 million corporate trips in 2014, with almost 40% going to meetings and events.

Even though corporate travel is not about the employee’s pleasure and serves a greater purpose, there are still some easy ways to make the most out of your trip and even save your company some money. Continue reading