For more than twenty years, technology evolution has had a tremendous impact on travel industry. The advent of the internet has interconnected travel stakeholders, which enables them to exchange information and conduct transactions in a fast, reliable and cost-effective way. Likewise, cloud computing has given rise to on-line, trusted, marketplaces which bring together supply and demand for travel services all around the globe. Recently, travel services are increasingly delivered through mobile apps and mobile devices, as means of personalizing the content to the preferences of their users. Overall, technology evolution has led to disruptive changes to the business models in the travel industry, while generating billions of dollars of revenue for their operators. In this landscape, let’s explore some of the main pillars and trends of the technology empowered travel ecosystem, starting with a bit of history.
It took several centuries to come up with the travel chain, through the establishment of railway infrastructures, the emergence of commercial aviation and the development of the first hospitality services. The emergence of the first travel agencies (such as ThomasCook) dates back to the 19th century, while many travel services (like AVIS Rent a Car) became available before the mid of the 20th century. Following the formation of the supply chain, the first systems for managing the supply chain emerged, including IT-based systems for the booking and management of flights and accommodation.
The internet and the world wide web then gave rise to the popular and ubiquitous web-based reservation systems such as Expedia (1996), Travelocity(1996) and Orbitz (2001). These sites are still among the main pillars of the travel ecosystem. During the first decade of the new millennium, more on-line services emerged and were accompanied by advanced discovery capabilities. Furthermore, the display and management of ratings and recommendations for the various services completely changed the way in which service providers build trustful relationships with consumers.
Nowadays, Travel technology is being driven by the following trends:
Technological developments are being made as add-ons to the already existing ecosystem of on-line travel services. This ecosystem is dominated by a few large sites not only in terms of traffic and visits, but also in terms of monetary transactions and revenues. Prominent examples of such large sites include:
Mobile Travel Apps: Adding the Innovation and Personalization
On top of the main pillars of the ecosystem (such as the sites listed above), innovators are everyday adding new services that disrupt specific sectors of the travel industry, while providing comfort, opportunities and cost savings for consumers. There is an endless list of travel applications, which support consumers both before and during their trip and use feedback to advertise after the trip. Some indicative example include:
The travel industry is without doubt benefitting the most out of technology acceleration. This means increased opportunities and competition for service providers, but also endless possibilities for consumers. It is a definitely a world of opportunity, where you have to be fast, intelligent and growth driven if you want to succeed and the right technology partner can help you get there.
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