I recently did an interview with Phocuswire on how to foster innovation and make it work for all travel companies. First, when you think about innovation in the travel industry, a critical question arises: Should we prioritize speed over scale, or scale over speed? While both are critical, for Amadeus, scale is in our DNA. So to make innovation a success for online travel agencies (OTA), three things are required: investment in technology, the backbone of innovation; public collaboration, which fosters the development of great ideas; and boldness, which requires constant reinvention to keep pace with the speed of change.
Online travel agencies vs. the behemoths
Gatekeeper-disruptors are everywhere! The Google / Amazon / Facebook “trifecta” alone spends $12 billion annually on artificial intelligence (AI). There is no doubt this investment will hit the travel industry hard and soon. Airlines are also evolving, and NDC is a great conduit for turning them into digital retailers.
The success of other disruptors like Airbnb and Uber also raises the question: What’s left for the online travel agency? I believe a better question to ask is: What’s new for the online travel agency? In my view, OTAs have always been nimble and able to evolve, adapt and keep up with change. I am also confident there is room at the table for everyone.
Amadeus, beyond GDS
At Amadeus, we are investing in two innovations to empower OTAs’ success:
The Amadeus Travel Platform’s open systems allow us to capture and distribute any type of content, including low cost carrier (LCC), third-party aggregator and NDC, alongside GDS content, which offers the true breadth of our technology for OTAs.
Merchandising is no longer an add-on at the end of the purchase. Rather, it’s a core component that facilitates how travelers search, shop and select travel. Now the retailer can offer seats, bags and fare families at the onset of the sale, providing greater transparency to the end traveler.
Helping travel companies grow
Amadeus is here to help our online travel agency customers solve their pain points: to boost traffic acquisition, drive down marketing costs, and convert customers more efficiently. Regardless of size, a lot is at stake.
From the largest travel players in the industry to the smallest startup, our mandate is to provide all online travel retailers with innovative technology, combined with the expertise of our people, to enable them to compete in the marketplace, evolve their core capability, expand their offer, and explore new frontiers.
Here’s to the journey ahead in 2019!