Nobody likes feeling uncomfortable – especially in times of disruption. Yet, business guru Seth Godin says that discomfort brings engagement and change; it’s about “doing something others [are] unlikely to do because they’re hiding out in the comfortable zone.”
At GBTA last week, I had the opportunity to listen as business travel leaders candidly shared their “pain points,” i.e., the things that keep them up at night. Here are five ways Amadeus is helping business travel leaders step out of their comfortable zones to improve the overall customer experience and embrace innovation.
- Delivering more options for corporate travelers
Last week we were thrilled to announce that Southwest Airlines extended its long-standing partnership with Amadeus to make the carrier’s domestic content – including ancillary services – available to travel managers via the Amadeus Travel Platform. This is great news for business travel agencies who, when the content goes live, can search, book and service their Southwest business travelers with all the convenience, integration and reporting capabilities of their preferred booking channel. Best of all, they get to experience two key benefits of booking an Amadeus Altéa Passenger Service System (PSS) carrier: shared PNR and real-time information.
- Improving the business travel experience with NDC
For a long time, airlines have wanted to become retailers and merchandize to their travelers, including business travelers. The industry standard New Distribution Capability (NDC) is helping us close this gap, and Amadeus’ NDC [X] program is helping lead the change. Since the mid-2000s, we’ve been evolving our platforms to process NDC content the same way we handle like content from any other content source. We recently launched our NDC-enabled Web Services solution – and will launch Amadeus Selling Platform Connect for our business travel agencies – and are integrating this technology in our flagship online booking tool, Amadeus cytric Travel & Expense.
We recently announced an important milestone with American Airlines and American Express Global Business Travel for the processing of live NDC bookings. The significance of the announcement with the largest airline and the largest TMC in the world is the joint focus on an end-to-end NDC workflow at the scale and performance that the agencies and airlines are used to in a pre-NDC world (sub-second response times, highest system availability and scalability).
CWT, one of Amadeus’ active members of the Amadeus NDC [X] program, is set to deploy our NDC-enabled Amadeus Selling Platform Connect desktop solution as part of their strategic “business to business for employees” approach. These advances will enable Amadeus corporate customers like CWT to access NDC content in their trusted booking environment, plus enjoy natural process flows to their chosen servicing partners. It’s about enhancing the overall travel experience with unmatched technology and rich content to serve business travelers faster, better and smoother.
At GBTA we recognized key NDC-X program partners as NDC Champions for their contributions. Thank you to American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Singapore Airlines, Avianca, American Express Global Business Travel, BCD, CWT and FCM for celebrating with us.
We also held numerous sessions on NDC and participated on the Center Stage panel, the “ABC’s of NDC”. I learned from the various sessions and discussions at GBTA that there is still a lot of confusion and anxiety around NDC and more education and clarity is needed.
- Leveraging mobile for seamless journeys
Travel is mobile, and business travelers are highly dependent on getting real-time mobile support at a moment’s notice. In fact, our research shows that booking is one of the most aggravating touchpoints in a customer’s journey. As a result, travel companies realize that to capture more share of the business traveler’s wallet, they must improve – even own – the relationship with their travelers. Amadeus Mobile White Label solutions feature customized, “plug-and-play” solutions that keep travel companies connected to their travelers. For BTAs looking to grow, Amadeus XSell Navigator delivers additional revenue streams with ancillary content and merchandising opportunities. And for corporations looking to enhance the employee-traveler’s experience, this solution supports end-to-end booking from pre-trip all the way through the post-booking phase.
- Staying connected and providing peace of mind
Today’s corporate travel managers understand that they play a huge role in protecting their employees from potentially derailing trip stressors caused by security risks, inclement weather, strikes, health scares and more. It’s critical that travel leaders stay connected with travelers at all times, especially during key incidents when travelers need them most. Amadeus Mobile Messenger works with an app installed on the business traveler’s smartphone. It uses risk monitoring technology to evaluate potential disruptions, tracks those most likely to be impacted, and automatically communicates with them in the event of an incident. If a traveler doesn’t have a smartphone, Amadeus Mobile Messenger can send an SMS or email instead. In today’s ever-changing world, providing peace of mind to business travelers has never been more important.
- Innovating to facilitate better journeys
Innovation is a key priority at Amadeus. In fact, we spend about 16% to 18% of our revenues on R&D. For business travelers and the travel managers who serve them, concepts like Digital Traveler ID promise to add transformative value throughout the travel journey. For example, travelers are being asked more frequently to provide essential documentation such as visa waivers, pre-checks, vetting and other requirements. At major airports, facial and document recognition is becoming more accepted, with digital identity speeding up the entire process – from booking to airport and hotel screening and check-in. As a result, travel companies have a great opportunity to get ahead of this issue. If we can address these pain points early on in the traveler’s journey and eliminate friction, we can streamline the entire process and make journeys less stressful and more enjoyable.
Creating a brighter future for business travel
Although our industry continues to face disruption at every turn, it’s up to Amadeus in partnership with our business travel and corporate customers, to create smoother experiences for every business traveler. It’s about taking a “traveler-centric” approach and putting aside outdated models and technologies that no longer serve us or our customers well.
At Amadeus, we understand that forward-thinking companies that make it easier for travelers to buy their service grow their businesses and optimize revenues. That’s why we’re here to help our customers move away from outdated comfortable zones, by providing valuable airline and hotel content, improving the overall customer experience, adopting new and transformative technologies, and leading the way through innovation.