A German magazine reports that politics may pave the way for ground transportation intermediaries such as Uber, Lyft etc. to legally challenge the legacy taxi monopoly in Germany – the largest travel market in Europe.
Laws from the 1960s or even 1930s are not appropriate for innovation as part of the digital age. Some laws protect an industry that failed to innovate over years. Also, chauffeur driven ride sharing is currently not allowed in Germany, even though it would relieve heavily congested road significantly. Continue reading
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
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
Complicated topics explained in a simple way: Today let us understand what active and passive segments are.
First of all, what is a segment? We often talk about booking, segments, etc. but I have not yet provided a clear explanation of a segment other than that a booking on average has 2 ½ segments. Continue reading
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
Although the European Commission last week announced that they have agreed in principle with the US on new data transmission rules, according to the German Business Travel Association (VDR) it is believed that the situation is still quite uncertain.
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
One of my colleagues in Germany has written this article on the new Microsoft Windows 10 for our technology blog in Germany. I thought this is of interest for our readers in the US as well and thus translated it.
With Windows 10 Microsoft is trying to win back users it scared away with Windows 8. But there is one little obstacle: inadequate data protection. Continue reading
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
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 tool. Continue reading