A view from a veteran newbie: how travel technology is evolving

traveltechI was excited to get back into the travel technology space after joining Amadeus a couple of months ago and was quickly amazed at how much the industry has changed. To get a better pulse on the current realities, I recently attended the T2RL conference in London and the IATA Airline Industry Retailing Symposium in Rome.

In addition to seeing many former customers and colleagues, it was interesting to hear about the same topics that were being pondered three years ago (NDC, One Order and dynamic pricing to name a few).  Although the discussions were much more mature, the adoption and reality of most of these initiatives are still in the early phases.

Making progress on NDC

NDC is finally gaining traction in the industry. However, I’m concerned about all the confusion surrounding the topic.  NDC, by definition, is just a common standard that the industry can use to connect APIs between the airlines and 3rd parties (either directly or through intermediaries).  The exciting thing to me about NDC is that it unlocks opportunities for our customers to create better products (or offers) for their customers across multiple channels. This will make for better products for the traveling public, while generating incremental revenues for the airlines. Given my history in this space, I’m cautiously optimistic about the adoption of NDC over the next few years. I still think we have many things to solve around the complexity and change it brings to the industry. Airlines and IT companies have the responsibility to fully understand the impact that changes like shopping behavior and ticketing will have on the host PSS systems. We will also have to optimize when working with 3rd party merchandising products.

The future is bright

I’m excited about the future in other areas like One Order and dynamic pricing. One Order, the IATA initiative aiming to modernize the order management process, will hopefully eliminate many of the complexities in current systems related to PNR and ticketing, while dynamic pricing creates opportunities to take that next major step in revenue management looking at the total passenger value on a more personal basis. We, as an industry, will have to think about disruption, alliance/partner management, scalability and transition as we deal with the changes. There will be increased cost from investment and running multiple systems in parallel that have to be taken into account. As a revenue management person at heart, I believe that regardless of the changes, the core principles of revenue management will be around for a long time.

Amadeus is embracing the change that is coming in our industry. We are investing a sizeable amount of money in these new technologies and will build on our track record of having the leading technology in the industry. I’m amazed every time I sit in an internal meeting or a customer presentation how truly brilliant our people are. They take pride in solving customer issues with a smile and enabling tremendous improvement in our industry.

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