In October 2017, I wrote a blog about the technical and commercial challenges of NDC. The title was “The reality behind NDC: Why NDC won’t break down the GDS oligopoly – yet”; A year later, I guess one can say for sure that the last word “yet” of the title can be erased. The New Distribution Capability – or in short NDC – will come that’s for sure, but primarily through the GDSs! 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
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
Last week we were talking about corporate travel expenses and how to manage them in the most effective way without spending thousands of dollars on pricey software. Since the corporate travel volume is constantly growing, it is time to have a closer look at some facts about U.S. travel spending in the past, as well as projections for 2015.
At the beginning of this month Amadeus announced the acquisition of German IT company I-FAO. I-FAO developed Cytric, a leading online corporate booking tool which is already used by major European and international companies like IKEA, Accenture, ADP, Siemens or Canon Europe.
Amadeus already fortified its sales presence as the leading leisure travel sales platform in Germany with the 2006 acquisition of TravelTainment (the primary leisure travel internet booking engine in Germany) and is now yet again adding to its suit of products another corporate booking tool (Cytric) right next to their own corporate booking tool, E-Travel (which is also supported by PASS Consulting’s XX/1). Continue reading
American Express recently announced to enter a joint venture with an investment group led by Certares.
This deal also means American Express will separate its Global Business Travel division (GBT) operations into a dedicated holding structure in which American Express and the investor group will hold an ownership of 50% each in exchange for a $900 million investment in the joint venture by the investor group. The venture will be led by Bill Glenn, former President of Global Commercial Services at American Express. Continue reading
IATA’s resolution 787: The NDC Hot Seat
In my eyes it is incredible how much fear there really is for nothing: For over one hour the audience got caught up on why will there be fields, such as marriage status or gender in the suggested XML. Continue reading
In a previous article, we we talked about the latest evolution of the travel agent desktops. We went through the different business moves of travel technology providers that led them from green screens to graphical interfaces and the arrival of multi sources platforms.
We also analyzed the role of TMCs, underlining their need to improve internal processes and service quality as well as their interest in reducing dependence from GDSs.
Internet has revolutionized the way in which people plan and book travel. Travelers became more comfortable with the idea of doing their own research and travel arrangements without travel agents.
According to Michael Strauss, CEO of PASS Consulting Corporation, in 2010, “already more than half of the bookings are being made online in EMEA as well as in North America”. The latest figures from a report by Global Industry Analysts, Inc estimate that the online travel will reach US$533.8 billion by 2018.
Travelport has Universal Desktop, Amadeus has Amadeus One, Sabre has Red Workplace. These GDSs are not the only providers of point-of-sale (POS) applications, far from it.
While most of GDSs kept traditional tools, innovative third-party technology providers such as PASS Consulting Corporation (PASS), TRX or G2 SwitchWorks – the last two sold their technologies already – released new POS desktops and early introduced new technologies that would soon satisfy travel agencies’ needs: multi-GDS connection and graphical user front-ends. Continue reading
They entered a white-label partnership with the Travelocity Partner Network. The Travelocity Partner Network which interestingly is not part of Kayak’s metasearch results will be the merchant of records and thus functions as the travel agent.
Since it is not an exclusive deal, Kayak can bring in other partner and might also extend its direct booking offers to flights or car rentals.
As reported by Tnooz, Kayak and Microsoft’s Bing will enter a strategic alliance. This is remarkable for two reasons: First, Kayak and Bing used to be – and in a way still are- competitors and second, this alliance is directly connected with the Google-ITA deal that still is being investigated by the Department of Justice.
Starting in a few weeks Kayak, the leading metasearch site, will power Bing’s metasearch for flights. Most likely other services will follow. Kayak could for example supply Bing’s hotel search which is currently sponsored by Orbitz. Bing plans to use Kayak’s search results as a basis for new innovative travel search offers, such as autosuggest solution, price predictor, rate indicator and Flight Answers.
Besides being up to date with the newest technologies across industries, as a travel technology provider we are constantly observing the current developments in our industry from a business perspective. Among the hottest topics: full Content Agreements vs. Direct Connections or Google’s “alleged” market entry.
With Airlines such as AA moving away from the GDS-dependent distribution model to Direct Connections with Agencies and TMC’s some say this will finally establish a foundation for innovation in travel distribution; for the first time since almost half a century there would be a serious alternative to the GDSs while creating an incentive for TMCs to accelerate the development of their software. Economically the GDSs behavior in the last years is easy to understand: Continue reading
Last week Expedia – the world’s largest travel company – announced the acquisition of Mobiata to improve its position in the fast growing mobile travel market. Mobiata is a mobile travel app developer based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Since its creation in 2008 Mobiata has developed several top selling mobile travel applications such as FlightTrack, TripDeck or HotelPal.
Keeping this in mind the acquisition clearly indicates the growing importance of mobile devices in travelling. State-of-the-art mobile phones such as Blackberry or iPhone and easy accessible high-speed internet connections at almost every location in the world have provided the basis for convenient mobile booking. Continue reading
A Wall Street Journal investigation has revealed that several Facebook apps including the top 10 Apps have been leaking user information to third party companies, in particular users’ unique Facebook ID, which grants access to the users’ names and names of their friends.
With about 500 million registered users and still growing, Facebook is the biggest social network in the world. And about 70% of its users use apps each month to play games or to customize their own Facebook pages. Considering the huge number of users, leaking sensitive data to advertising companies is a serious issue. Continue reading
Recently Sabre announced the launch of its next generation agent tool that will as expected offer multi-GDS access. With Amadeus (AmadeusOne) and Travelport (Universal Desktop) already offering a similar solution all three GDSs offer connections to each other’s hosts now. Constant Change Causes Difficulties For Industry Players
However, the given discontinuity of environment and volatility of the market caused by various mergers, political decisions and protectionism along with the economic downturns resulting in business travel budget cuts, make industry participants meeting new challenges. Continue reading
Two possible ways the Cloud could Influence Technology Solutions for Travel. Cloud computing is not a new idea in the global sense, but it is not as widely recognized in the travel sector as it should be. There are different ways (described in the following in no particular order of importance) to affect travel as well as related technologies and businesses.
Cloud computing can replace applications, hardware and software traditionally used by travel agents, so that they can work online and are charged a license fee. Agents can benefit from the technology as it works on a pay-as-you-book basis that can be much more cost effective for companies during the years of recession. Continue reading
With Google recently announcing the rollout of their long rumored and unofficially called “GDrive”, an extension of Google Docs which enables users to upload, store, organize and access any type of file virtually, the discussion about cloud computing, (which lately was already gathering dust), becomes worth talking about again.
In combination with shared folders, Google provides users with the ability of secure and easy collaboration on online files by storing them in the cloud. Its forerunner Google Wave already changes the direction away from people thinking, ‘This is my PC, and this is my hard drive,‘ to ’this is how I interact with the web. Continue reading
As the premier global Award of that kind, The World Travel Awards promotes excellence honoring the leader in the travel industry with trophies in all areas of the industry and all over the world. Since 1994 the winners are setting benchmarks in tourism to which all others aspire.
Excellence in over 1000 categories
On a global level the best of the best are celebrated each year in 1012 categories including but not limited to the following: Continue reading