Travel Tech­nol­ogy

Business Traveller (Africa) - - CONTENTS -

Tech­nol­ogy and ser­vice in­no­va­tions are mak­ing it eas­ier and cheaper to dis­cover, reach and en­joy travel des­ti­na­tions, re­gard­less of whether you’re a busi­ness or leisure trav­eller. While deals, spe­cials and pro­mo­tions are driv­ing de­sire and ac­tion, visu­ally en­riched and per­son­al­ized dig­i­tal con­tent channels and ser­vices, are mak­ing travel a more ef­fi­cient in­dus­try.

Trav­el­ling is a per­sonal and emo­tional ex­pe­ri­ence, re­gard­less of whether you’re on a busi­ness trip or tak­ing a hol­i­day with the fam­ily, and the global travel in­dus­try is cur­rently go­ing through an in­ter­est­ing trans­for­ma­tion, as it at­tempts to find the bal­ance be­tween au­toma­tion and hu­man in­ter­ac­tion.

Are­cent re­port from Skift and Adobe re­vealed that per­son­al­i­sa­tion is the most im­por­tant fac­tor when it comes to the travel cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence, and ac­cord­ing to ad­di­tional re­search by Google, along­side the in­creas­ing de­mand for last­minute travel is the need for ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence. Ap­par­ently, ac­cord­ing to the re­search, 57% of trav­ellers be­lieve brands should tailor in­for­ma­tion based on per­sonal pref­er­ences and past be­hav­iours, and 36% said they would be will­ing to pay more for per­son­alised ser­vices.

“There's no doubt that ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence is here to stay in busi­ness travel,” says Ni­cole Ado­nis, GM of FCM Travel So­lu­tions South Africa, which ear­lier this year rolled out the chat­bot Sam. “The vol­ume of data held by travel providers, in­clud­ing TMCs, such as trav­eller pro­files, trans­ac­tion his­tory and per­sonal pref­er­ences, make travel and AI ideal bed­fel­lows. At the high­est level, AI has the ca­pa­bil­ity to im­prove cus­tomer ser­vice, to make that ser­vice more per­sonal and im­prove travel plan­ning.”

The tech­nol­ogy com­pa­nies – and the promi­nent play­ers in this space – would seem­ingly agree.

“We are mix­ing AI (deep learn­ing) with econo­met­ric mod­els and be­havioural eco­nom­ics, in­clud­ing the ir­ra­tional be­hav­iours of hu­mans, to bet­ter model and pre­dict trav­eller choices,” says Andy Hed­ley, GM of Amadeus South­ern Africa. “Ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence and bots – from travel com­pan­ion to travel as­sis­tant to travel es­sen­tial - cor­po­ra­tions and TMCs sit on a mas­sive amount of data and should lever­age this data as a way to build pre­dic­tive anal­y­sis and bench­marks, and to of­fer rel­e­vant and in­stant in­for­ma­tion to trav­ellers.”

“AI is the golden ticket that can un­lock in­sights to cre­ate the per­son­alised, tai­lored and cus­tomised ex­pe­ri­ence trav­ellers crave,” says Guido Ver­weij, Trav­el­port's Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor for Africa. “Ad­vanced AI so­lu­tions elim­i­nate the need to be re­ac­tive, al­low­ing busi­nesses to be­come more proac­tive and strate­gic through pre­dic­tive ca­pa­bil­i­ties. By con­stantly in­form­ing a travel AI, train­ing it and pro­vid­ing it with ac­cess to the rich­est, most ex­ten­sive real-time data sets, op­por­tu­ni­ties to de­liver per­sonal, fric­tion­less travel ex­pe­ri­ence be­come seam­less.”

There's clearly a huge op­por­tu­nity for travel brands and en­ti­ties will­ing to take the tech­no­log­i­cal ‘plunge' and open them­selves up to this sort of change.

Fur­ther to that, au­toma­tion is al­ready help­ing com­pa­nies to tar­get and reach cus­tomers and de­liver bet­ter ser­vices, but the change has just started. There is still a big op­por­tu­nity to sim­plify cus­tomer jour­neys and per­son­alise ex­pe­ri­ences in the travel and hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­tries.

In ad­di­tion, data on con­sumer de­mand and mar­ket in­sights are es­sen­tial to un­der­stand­ing the in­dus­try and its cus­tomers, as well

“AI is the golden ticket that can un­lock in­sights to cre­ate the per­son­alised, tai­lored and cus­tomised ex­pe­ri­ence trav­ellers crave. ”

as pre­dict­ing trends. As so­cial me­dia dom­i­nates the in­ter­net and changes con­sumer be­hav­iour, anal­y­sis of on­line sen­ti­ment and de­mand can help com­pa­nies iden­tify op­por­tu­ni­ties and risks, as well as tai­lor­ing ser­vices and prod­ucts based on what con­sumers are seek­ing and dis­cussing, both pos­i­tively and neg­a­tively.

Those are just some of the ex­am­ples where tech­nol­ogy is play­ing an even big­ger role in the whole travel process.

“I think the fo­cus is def­i­nitely be­yond mak­ing trips eas­ier through tech­nol­ogy,” says Louis van Zyl, CEO of Carl­son Wagonlit Travel South Africa. “It touches on max­i­miz­ing value, ed­u­cat­ing buy­ers, mak­ing them the ex­perts in their trip plan­ning and ex­e­cu­tion pro­cesses, but also keep­ing them in­formed and equipped through­out the en­tire process, from plan­ning to un­der­go­ing their trips, to ul­ti­mately re­turn­ing home and com­plet­ing the process.”

Van Zyl, though, is also of the opin­ion that tech­nol­ogy shouldn't re­main purely “busi­ness”.

“I think an el­e­ment we shouldn't

lose fo­cus of is the el­e­ment of fun,” he says. “I think tech­nol­ogy can also help in break­ing the monotony of a busi­ness trip and pro­vid­ing op­tions for trav­ellers to take time to en­joy what their busi­ness des­ti­na­tions of­fer out­side of the work com­mit­ments.”

TMCs

Van Zyl's views are in­ter­est­ing, be­cause there's a dis­cus­sion to be had around how the modern-day travel man­age­ment com­pany buys into tech­no­log­i­cal ad­vance­ment and con­tin­ues to re­main rel­e­vant to its cus­tomers, par­tic­u­larly if one delves into the ‘au­toma­tion v man­power' de­bate.

“I can't see TMCs play­ing big­ger roles in the de­vel­op­ment of tech­nol­ogy,” says Van Zyl. “That's the space of the tech com­pa­nies and it will be in­creas­ingly harder to com­pete with the ex­perts. We are get­ting feed­back from our cus­tomers that it is not more tech­nol­ogy that they want, but rather tech­nol­ogy that will as­sist by chan­nelling them to the ul­ti­mate space or sys­tems that would best suit their needs. More than any other time, I see a fun­da­men­tal shift in the way the in­dus­try will op­er­ate and ser­vice busi­ness trav­ellers, due to the com­ing tech­no­log­i­cal ad­vance­ments in the next year to year and a half.”

Whereas once TMCs func­tioned pri­mar­ily to process book­ings, now they must har­ness data and tools such as AI, pre­dic­tive an­a­lyt­ics and chat­bots to pro­vide value to their cus­tomers through­out the travel ex­pe­ri­ence.

Th­ese are some of the con­clu­sions from ‘Har­ness­ing Tech­nol­ogy to Em­power Your Peo­ple', a re­port from Ad­van­tage Travel Part­ner­ship based on find­ings from the 2017 Ad­van­tage Con­fer­ence and Busi­ness Travel Sym­po­sium, and a “Buyer Re­search Sur­vey” con­ducted by the In­sti­tute of Travel Man­age­ment.

“Through con­tin­u­ous dis­cus­sions with mem­bers and re­search un­der­taken with travel buy­ers from ITM, we noted that tech­nol­ogy strength­ens the ser­vice of a TMC,” says Neil Ar­morgie, CEO of WIN and Global Prod­uct Di­rec­tor for Ad­van­tage.

“Hu­man in­ter­ac­tion re­mains the vi­tal in­gre­di­ent that busi­ness trav­ellers and clients are ul­ti­mately look­ing for. Tech­nol­ogy en­hances this part­ner­ship, mak­ing for a more seam­less re­la­tion­ship and there­fore achiev­ing bet­ter pro­duc­tiv­ity for the client, which ul­ti­mately helps them grow their busi­ness.”

So, more a com­ple­men­tary re­la­tion­ship, as op­posed to one where the two el­e­ments are in con­flict, or com­pe­ti­tion.

Ac­cord­ing to the re­search, 87% of travel buy­ers were ex­cited about the fu­ture of travel tech­nol­ogy, but 76% said they were look­ing for help from busi­ness part­ners to keep them up-to-date on new de­vel­op­ments.

So, in con­trast to what Van Zyl was say­ing, this re­port rec­om­mended that TMCs should look to fill this role by mak­ing strate­gic in­vest­ments in new tech­nol­ogy and qual­i­fied staff, cre­at­ing an ap­pro­pri­ate bal­ance of “man and ma­chine.”

The pa­per went on to say that:

“As much as new tech­nolo­gies will au­to­mate process-driven tasks, busi­ness travel con­tin­ues to be an in­dus­try dom­i­nated by peo­ple and re­la­tion­ships, and the abil­ity to de­ploy peo­ple into more creative roles should be an ex­cel­lent op­por­tu­nity to fur­ther per­son­al­ize the travel ex­pe­ri­ence.”

Along sim­i­lar lines, Wings Travel takes the view that the TMC needs to be adapt­able and flex­i­ble to meet­ing the needs of a cus­tomer and an en­vi­ron­ment in which tech­nol­ogy now has a huge say.

“As the world be­comes in­creas­ingly re­liant on con­nec­tiv­ity, the need for tech­nol­ogy in busi­ness be­comes vi­tal,” says Ne­manja KrstiĆ, Head of Tech­nol­ogy at Wings Travel Man­age­ment. “De­liv­er­ing travel so­lu­tions has had to evolve in line with th­ese trends and with that, new meth­ods of con­duct­ing busi­ness, pro­cess­ing client data and sourc­ing rel­e­vant con­tent had to be ap­plied. TMCs sim­ply have to em­brace tech­nol­ogy to de­liver th­ese ser­vices in a world that is al­ways on­line.”

NDC

There's no doubt that one of the hottest top­ics in the travel in­dus­try is IATA's New Dis­tri­bu­tion Ca­pa­bil­ity (NDC).

NDC is a travel in­dus­try­sup­ported pro­gram launched by IATA for the de­vel­op­ment and mar­ket adop­tion of a new, XMLbased data trans­mis­sion stan­dard.

The NDC Stan­dard en­hances the ca­pa­bil­ity of com­mu­ni­ca­tions be­tween air­lines and travel agents and is open to any third party, in­ter­me­di­ary, IT provider or nonIATA mem­ber, to im­ple­ment and use.

Ac­cord­ing to IATA, the NDC Stan­dard en­ables the travel in­dus­try to trans­form the way air prod­ucts are re­tailed to cor­po­ra­tions, leisure and busi­ness trav­ellers, by ad­dress­ing the in­dus­try's cur­rent dis­tri­bu­tion lim­i­ta­tions:

- Prod­uct dif­fer­en­ti­a­tion and

time-to-mar­ket

- Ac­cess to full and rich air

con­tent

- Trans­par­ent shop­ping ex­pe­ri­ence

But NDC has been a long time in the works, and IATA has had to work hard to get the travel in­dus­try on­board.

In fact, ac­cord­ing to a re­cent re­port by ACTE, many travel man­agers still feel in the dark about the is­sue. The re­port said that al­most a quar­ter (23%) of travel man­agers said they were “not at all” con­fi­dent in their un­der­stand­ing of NDC and what it means for their pro­gramme. A fur­ther 58% said they were only “some­what” con­fi­dent in their un­der­stand­ing.

“I think we have ex­pe­ri­enced the ini­tial eu­pho­ria of what it prom­ises to bring to our in­dus­try, the de­spon­dency of the re­al­iza­tion that it is not the ul­ti­mate an­swer to all our short­com­ings, and the frus­tra­tion of the ini­tial teething pains,” says Van Zyl. “As usual, I think the early adopters have felt the most pain, but I have no doubt that IATA and the

NDC pro­po­nents will ul­ti­mately over­come the ini­tial chal­lenges, like deal­ing with all the ex­cep­tions in trans­act­ing on this plat­form, in­clud­ing in­ter­lin­ing and pack­ag­ing an­cil­lar­ies. As with all new and dis­rup­tive tech­nolo­gies, once re­al­iza­tion sets in, th­ese chal­lenges will be dealt with and over­come.”

If one speaks to a broad cross-sec­tion of se­nior in­dus­try mem­bers, one gets the sense that the tide is turn­ing and that the big play­ers un­der­stand their role in driv­ing this process and change.

“NDC is a top pri­or­ity for Amadeus and we're mov­ing fast to in­te­grate NDC con­tent into the Amadeus Travel Plat­form,” says Hed­ley. “Lead­ing busi­ness travel agen­cies in­clud­ing Flight Cen­tre, Carl­son Wagonlit, Amer­i­can Ex­press Global Busi­ness Travel and BCD Travel have joined our NDC-X pro­gram to test the new NDC flow of ‘shop, or­der, pay', so when our NDC-en­abled so­lu­tions are in­dus­tri­alised in 2019, they can be ready to con­sume new con­tent.”

“NDC is cur­rently top of mind for TMCs,” says KrstiĆ. “The ben­e­fit to air­lines of sell­ing con­tent via this chan­nel sur­passes any cur­rent tra­di­tional method. This point is only re­in­forced by of­fi­cial plans from the GDS com­pa­nies em­bark­ing on huge de­vel­op­ment ini­tia­tives, ones that would com­pletely change the tra­di­tional GDS busi­ness model and see their plat­forms them­selves as mas­sive con­tent ag­gre­ga­tors.”

Per­haps Ado­nis sim­pli­fies the is­sue even fur­ther, dis­till­ing it down to its core pur­pose, which must have the travel cus­tomer at the cen­tre, be­cause, ul­ti­mately, the con­sumer has to ben­e­fit from this ma­jor in­dus­try change.

“By in­te­grat­ing NDC con­tent into our core book­ing sys­tems, we will be able to per­son­alise the book­ing ex­pe­ri­ence for our cus­tomers even fur­ther,” she says. “This will en­sure that we con­tinue to of­fer the widest choice of con­tent that is ap­pro­pri­ate for our cor­po­rate cus­tomers' needs.”

GDS COM­PA­NIES

The global dis­tri­bu­tion sys­tem (GDS) com­pa­nies in the travel in­dus­try orig­i­nated from a tra­di­tional le­gacy busi­ness model that ex­isted to in­ter-op­er­ate be­tween air­line ven­dors and travel agents. Dur­ing the early

“As much as new tech­nolo­gies will au­to­mate process-driven tasks, busi­ness travel con­tin­ues to be an in­dus­try dom­i­nated by peo­ple and re­la­tion­ships. ”

days of com­put­er­ized reser­va­tions sys­tems, flight ticket reser­va­tions were not pos­si­ble with­out a GDS.

How­ever, as time has gone on, many air­line ven­dors have now adopted a strat­egy of 'di­rect sell­ing' to their whole­sale and re­tail cus­tomers (pas­sen­gers), whilst the ad­vance­ment of tech­nol­ogy across the board has also forced the GDS com­pa­nies to re-look their mod­els and of­fer­ing.

“We are now more than a GDS,” says Hed­ley. “We're a ‘Live Travel Space' – an open, dy­namic and con­nected space where all in­dus­try play­ers can join and col­lab­o­rate to de­liver mem­o­rable jour­neys. We're con­tin­u­ally lis­ten­ing to trav­ellers, busi­ness travel agen­cies, and all other cus­tomers we work with, whilst keep­ing a close eye on trends and be­hav­iours, so we can de­velop tech­nolo­gies that ben­e­fit all.”

What Hed­ley al­ludes to and what seems to have been a ma­jor de­vel­op­ment in the GDS space is the col­lab­o­ra­tive na­ture of this sec­tion of the travel in­dus­try.

“Trav­el­port trans­formed the tra­di­tional GDS con­cept into an open plat­form with XML con­nec­tiv­ity and a graph­i­cally rich, sin­gle user in­ter­face to en­able mar­ket­ing and sales of not only full air con­tent, but also full an­cil­lary con­tent,” says Ver­weij.

“Our open sys­tems al­low busi­ness travel agen­cies to de­liver an end-to-end travel process

– from pro­posal to book­ing to ex­pense man­age­ment – lead­ing to im­proved ROI, ef­fi­cien­cies and cost sav­ings,” says Hed­ley. “We're freed from le­gacy main­frame sys­tems and now with the lat­est tech­nol­ogy we can ap­proach things dif­fer­ently.”

GDS com­pa­nies have now be­come lead­ers in the tech­nol­ogy space, con­duct­ing re­search and de­vel­op­ing prod­ucts that ben­e­fit the in­dus­try as a whole.

As a re­sult, the big GDS play­ers – Amadeus, Trav­el­port and Sabre – have been able to po­si­tion them­selves as the ‘goto' re­source for tech­no­log­i­cal de­vel­op­ment, mak­ing them an even more im­por­tant and rel­e­vant player in the in­dus­try, as sup­pli­ers con­tinue to look for so­lu­tions,

ef­fi­cien­cies and cost-sav­ings for their cus­tomers.

AVI­A­TION

This year has seen Bri­tish Air­ways tri­alling bio­met­ric tech­nol­ogy to speed up board­ing and ar­rivals pro­cesses in Or­lando, Los An­ge­les, Mi­ami and New York.

BA was the first air­line to use this par­tic­u­lar tech­nol­ogy to board in­ter­na­tional flights. Cus­tomers in Or­lando have been join­ing those fly­ing with BA from Los An­ge­les who have been us­ing the board­ing process since Novem­ber of last year. The gates at Los An­ge­les Air­port, used by BA, have re­sulted in the air­line board­ing more than 400 cus­tomers in only 22 min­utes – less than half the time it takes when not us­ing this tech­nol­ogy.

The bio­met­ric board­ing gates re­move the need for trav­ellers to present their board­ing pass and pass­port at the de­par­ture gate, sim­pli­fy­ing and speed­ing up board­ing. Cus­tomers sim­ply look into a cam­era prior to board­ing, wait for their bio­met­ric data to be ver­i­fied, and walk onto the air­craft. Sim­i­lar to fa­cial iden­ti­fi­ca­tion built into mo­bile phones, the bio­met­ric e-Gates use high-def­i­ni­tion cam­era tech­nol­ogy and al­low cus­tomers to pass through by recog­nis­ing their unique fa­cial fea­tures and match­ing them with the pass­port, visa or im­mi­gra­tion pho­tos.

Heathrow has also an­nounced re­cently that it is rolling out an end-to-end bio­met­rics trial that will see fa­cial recog­ni­tion re­plac­ing the need for tra­di­tional

travel doc­u­ments by mid-2019.

A re­cent IATA Global Pas­sen­ger Sur­vey iden­ti­fied air­port se­cu­rity/ bor­der con­trol and board­ing pro­cesses as two of the big­gest pain points for pas­sen­gers. Ac­cord­ing to the sur­vey, to im­prove the board­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, the top de­sire of pas­sen­gers is more ef­fi­cient queu­ing at board­ing gates (64%). The sur­vey also said that th­ese pas­sen­gers would be pre­pared to share bio­met­ric in­for­ma­tion in ex­change for a smoother jour­ney.

The new tech­nol­ogy will stream­line the pas­sen­ger jour­ney through Heathrow from checkin to take-off, with the air­port claim­ing it could re­duce the aver­age pas­sen­ger's jour­ney time by up to a third. The new tech­nol­ogy will use fa­cial recog­ni­tion at check-in, bag drops, se­cu­rity lanes and board­ing gates.

Cur­rently, man­ual au­then­ti­ca­tion means that pas­sen­gers need to present dif­fer­ent forms of ID such as board­ing cards and book­ing ref­er­ence num­bers, as well as their pass­ports to dif­fer­ent agents to show that they're au­tho­rised to travel.

Delta is an­other air­line tak­ing tech­no­log­i­cal ad­vance­ment se­ri­ously. It has part­nered with Ge­or­gia Tech to cre­ate ‘The Hangar' – Delta's global in­no­va­tion cen­tre, which launched in 2016. Here, a team of tech ex­perts looks for op­por­tu­ni­ties to solve busi­ness prob­lems and de­liver a smoother travel ex­pe­ri­ence, help­ing Delta to “up our game and fu­ture-proof our busi­ness”, ac­cord­ing to Jimmy Eichel­gruen, Di­rec­tor: Sales – Africa, Mid­dle East & In­dia.

Delta has also been tri­alling bio­met­ric tech­nol­ogy and later this year will be launch­ing the first bio­met­ric ter­mi­nal in the U.S. at its At­lanta hub. This will give cus­tomers on di­rect in­ter­na­tional flights – in­clud­ing the Jo­han­nes­burg ser­vice – the op­tion to use fa­cial recog­ni­tion tech­nol­ogy at touch­points through­out At­lanta's Ter­mi­nal F. This will also ap­ply to Delta cus­tomers fly­ing on its part­ner air­lines, Vir­gin At­lantic, Air France-KLM and Aeromex­ico.

“It's a re­ally ex­cit­ing step for­ward and once it's up and run­ning, will of­fer cus­tomers an end-to-end Delta bio­met­rics ex­pe­ri­ence, us­ing fa­cial recog­ni­tion tech­nol­ogy to: check in at the self-ser­vice kiosks in the lobby; drop checked bag­gage; serve as iden­ti­fi­ca­tion at the TSA check­point; board a flight; and go through Cus­toms and Se­cu­rity pro­cess­ing on ar­rival to the United States,” says Eichel­gruen.

Delta is also us­ing tech­nol­ogy to bet­ter un­der­stand and in­ter­act with its cus­tomers. That's by uni­fy­ing all its cus­tomer data­bases, so that it can meet cus­tomers' needs from an ex­pe­ri­ence per­spec­tive, not sim­ply from a sales stand­point, but to also tailor their travel ex­pe­ri­ence.

“This level of per­son­al­iza­tion is a big fo­cus at Delta and we're driv­ing more en­gage­ment be­tween our em­ploy­ees and cus­tomers across the busi­ness,” says Eichel­gruen. “Flight at­ten­dants have been us­ing Delta Sky Pro de­vices for a while now. Th­ese give them in­for­ma­tion on each pas­sen­ger, such as fre­quent flyer sta­tus or any dis­rup­tion to travel so they can en­gage with them bet­ter. We es­ti­mate that if 20 cus­tomers are rec­og­nized through the tool per flight, we can en­hance the travel ex­pe­ri­ence of around 50,000 cus­tomers ev­ery day. Mean­while, at the gates, checkin and Delta Sky Clubs, NO­MAD hand-held de­vices are en­abling agents to get out from be­hind the desk to in­ter­act with cus­tomers and help them on their trav­els.”

CAR RENTAL

Here, a lot of the fo­cus ap­pears to have been on im­prov­ing the cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence, whilst the re­ally “sexy” de­vel­op­ment is in the driver­less cars space.

With re­gards the cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence, Avis Bud­get be­lieves it has taken a lead­ing po­si­tion in the United States, pro­vid­ing its cus­tomers with a self-ser­vice app that en­ables them to by­pass the rental kiosk and to go di­rectly to their ve­hi­cle. They are able to open and lock their ve­hi­cles with their mo­bile phone, as well as re­turn their ve­hi­cle with­out as­sis­tance us­ing their phone.

“Tech­nol­ogy will en­able cus­tomers to con­trol their en­tire rental ex­pe­ri­ence from reser­va­tion of rental to re­turn and pay­ment,” says Lance Smith, Avis South­ern Africa's Ex­ec­u­tive: Sales. “Tech­nol­ogy will give them peace of mind re­gard­ing ve­hi­cle con­di­tion upon pick-up, and will al­low them to quickly re­solve any queries. Over and above this, with con­nected cars and the data that this will bring, cus­tomers will be able to choose the mo­bil­ity so­lu­tion best suited to their needs. Es­sen­tially, tech­nol­ogy will en­able mo­bil­ity as a so­lu­tion.”

The Avis Bud­get Group is also work­ing with Google through their Waymo busi­ness on au­tonomous ve­hi­cles de­vel­op­ment. Smith is con­fi­dent that the group's fu­ture will in­clude this in­no­va­tion, but he doesn't be­lieve that widescale adop­tion of this tech­nol­ogy in Africa will take place be­fore 2025.

Nonethe­less, Avis is ex­plor­ing all tech­no­log­i­cal av­enues to stay ahead of the curve.

“We are em­brac­ing the tech­nol­ogy jour­ney as it will im­prove our cus­tomers' ex­pe­ri­ence, im­prove ef­fi­cien­cies and re­duce the cost of do­ing busi­ness,” says Smith.

CON­CLU­SION

It's tough to keep up, isn't it? There re­ally is so much ad­vance­ment and so much in the way of new tech­nol­ogy in the travel space, and what's clear is that the big play­ers are all div­ing head­long into this space, to see where they can im­prove the cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence, cre­ate ef­fi­cien­cies and just gen­er­ally make the whole travel process a seam­less one.

This can only be good for the con­sumer or end user. ■

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