I have a confession to make. In 1999, I gave a conference presentation where I foretold the demise of high street retail within 25 years. Here is what I said: “In 2024, consumers buy information products exclusively on-line. When they buy travel, an information product at the point of sale, they do not dream of leaving the home or office to walk into high street retail premises that cannot even physically demonstrate the product, let alone provide any more information than they can access on their net appliances. They look back to the last few years of the Second Millennium and realise that this was the period when the On-Line Era began. They realise that travel, more than any other industry, contributed to a new way of life. They know that, during that exciting period of change, the travel industry showed the world that electronic distribution is the preferred way of retailing.”
Large travel companies that can afford to develop sophisticated technology and continually test and hone their websites. Small, specialist travel companies that work hard to build a reputation as being experts in their own product area.
How extensive does a news item need to be to seriously dampen or kill inbound tourism? A tsunami may or may not affect a whole coast line, bush fires might be limited to a few areas, riots may only be breaking out in the capital city? On the news, though, it may look like a whole country is in trouble.
Last week I was chairing the Travel Technology Initiative’s Summer Forum – Take Flight! This was about latest developments in flight distribution. Speakers covered Google Flight, latest GDS developments and a presentation from Jerry Foran,, Head of Product Delivery, Revenue Management, British Airways, about IATA’s New Distribution Capability initiative (NDC). You can view the presentations at www.genesys.net/events.htm .
I am just back from Dubai, having given a talk at the Arabian Travel Market on Latest Technology Trends. One thing I like to do now and then is to take a long view on where technology is heading and I am thinking, in particular, of what I call consumer access technology. This is electronic technology that provides communications and access to information and services.
A week or two ago Harriet Green, CEO of Thomas Cook, outlined her new strategy for the business. She said that, under the new strategy, British brands will be simplified to “five omni-channel B2C brands.” This struck a chord with me as 12 years ago, in 2001, I organised a conference for Travel Technology Initiative called ‘Firing on all Channels.’
Last week I was chairing Travel Technology Initiative’s Spring conference, Let’s Get Personal. It was about social media, personalisation and customer relationship management; all those good things that are so important to be doing well. There were some great presenters. They talked about how to do social media better, working with bloggers, the enormity of the mobile opportunity and so on. You can view the presentations on my website.
Big data can unlock significant value by making information more transparent and usable. As organisations create and store more transactional data in digital form, they can collect more accurate and detailed information to help make better management decisions. Big data allows ever-narrower segmentation of customers and therefore much more precisely tailored products or services.
Did you see the headline a week or so ago, “The £1bn digital boom?” In 2012 the value of downloads to home computers, smartphones and tablets rose 11.4% to £1.033 billion whilst physical sales of CDs, DVDs and computer games were down 17.6% on the previous year, as HMV and Blockbuster know only too well.