Questioning the travel industry status quo, one blog post at a time

Archive for the ‘Event’ Category

If you’re currently figuring out your calendar for the year ahead, we have a great event for you to add. On April 5-6, we are hosting the industry’s first event dedicated to technology for airline-controlled offers.

This invitation-only symposium is specifically for airline IT, revenue management, and e-commerce executives that want to explore strategies and new technologies to dynamically manage all aspects of the airline offer – from pricing and merchandising to optimized availability and schedule-building.

For more information or to request an invitation, please visit http://farelogixoffersymposium2017.com.

Don’t miss this opportunity to hear from industry and product experts on the following topics:

  • How the new world of NDC and “Active Distribution” is transforming pricing and revenue management and driving adoption of new technologies.
  • Real-life case studies of airlines taking control using airline-hosted “offer engines” without taxing the PSS.
  • How Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Big Data is making it possible to achieve greater profitability per product, moving beyond history-based calculations.
  • How to present optimal search results including dynamic, personalized offers inclusive of custom-tailored availability, schedules, pricing and merchandising offers.

 Plus, we will take you through a technology deep dive into the industry’s only shopping & pricing engine designed for high volume, personalized, omni-channel NDC shopping.

This event will be jam-packed with actionable content to help airlines gain more control of and enhance their offers.

Request your invite today!

I thought I would summarize a few of the concepts and themes I heard throughout the recent IATA WPS held in Dubai. I didn’t take copious notes so quotes are not exact and quotations are for emphasis only.

  • “Legacy airline systems and GDS technology just can’t keep up with the innovation required by airlines” – various airline executives on panels and delivering presentations.

Comment – Frankly, I can’t keep up with how many times I have heard this over the last few years. It’s clear that the legacy players are not going to make the required investments regardless of how often the airlines complain. It is probably time for the airlines to stop waiting for legacy providers to deliver, and consider taking a different approach to get what they need. Or at least, Ask the Question!

  • “NDC is just not happening fast enough.” – various airline executives.

Comment – There are two root causes that explain the slow pace of NDC. First and foremost, the PSS and GDS providers (yes I refer to the handful of powerful companies that control the lion’s share of airline distribution technology) don’t really want NDC to happen, despite their countless public proclamations of NDC support at prior WPS events. If the GDS/PSS community wanted NDC, we would see evidence of rapid, game changing innovation and unfettered attention to airline and agency unmet requirements. Actions always speak louder than words.

The second cause of slow NDC adoption is the legacy procurement processes of many airlines. Even airlines that say they want to move fast and invest in new NDC-aligned technology solutions such as their own offer creation engines (shopping, merchandising, availability, etc.) are often stymied by impossibly long procurement processes (RFIs/RFPs) that can easily take more than a year to complete. And that assumes the business people involved in the “RFP Marathon” stay in those positions long enough to see it through. In our experience, RFPs take just over a year at best – often resulting in outdated requirements by the time a decision is made. In addition, 50% of the time, a key stakeholder leaves, and this further paralyzes the process for another 6-12 months. (And meanwhile, how many millions has the airline lost in missed opportunities for more revenue and happy customers? It’s time to Ask that Question!

  • “Corporate buyers need access to airline ancillary services & content” – various airline executives, a couple of corporate buyers and consultants, and even a few travel agency representatives.

Comment – They sure do! The last time I checked, almost 80% of corporate bookings were transacted via a corporate booking tool. I can honestly say that after more than three years into NDC that I still can’t point to one corporate booking tool that is supporting airline ancillary services and content in a meaningful way. Why? Airline content finding its way to a corporate booking tool is controlled by the GDSs. Refer to Notable Quote #1.

In summary, these are the common themes:

  • Airlines need to invest in innovation and use faster procurement processes.
  • The PSS and the GDS need to put up or get out of the way.
  • And the corporate booking tools need to be free to take content directly from the airline’s NDC API.

We will continue to invite all of you to Ask the Question—specifically the tough questions.

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TEAM AMADEUS WINS IATA NDC API HACKATHON CONTEST IN DUBAI

COMPANY TAKES HOME $6,000* IN PRIZE MONEY AND EARNS PRODUCT INCUBATION PERIOD

This past weekend, the IATA NDC Hackathon took place in Dubai. This was the first hackathon I have attended and I have to say I was impressed. Over 100 young and enthusiastic developers, representing 24 teams in size from one person to eight (Amadeus had the 8-person team), converged on the Emirates HQ in Dubai. For 28 hours, these teams worked away innovating and creating travel-related applications utilizing the available NDC APIs. Farelogix was present with some technical engineers to support and help out those teams developing against the Emirates and/or American Airlines APIs.

Unlike the teams participating in the hackathon, I admit that I did not spend the night, opting instead to head back to the JW for my cushy bed and pillows, selflessly not wanting to deprive the deserving developers of one of the oversized futon cushions scattered throughout.

I did make it back on Saturday in time for the team demonstrations. 20 of the 24 teams qualified to demonstrate. A quick four minutes for presentation and demo, and one minute of questions from the judges. This part was absolutely great. Certified geeks from high school, college, and small startups, all jumping on stage to show off their work. Some awkward with a microphone, some running out of time before getting to their demos, and even a few technical glitches.

But here is what I saw. Passion and drive. Unencumbered belief that they could find a niche or vein of opportunity within an industry that has generally been less than open to innovation and outsiders. I saw fresh blood and it made me feel really good. I saw this group of innovators crack the code of ancillary delivery without the self-imposed hurdles of our status quo.  Kudos to the IATA team for a job well done!

I also saw Team Amadeus blow everyone else away. Their team of eight, which I have no doubt was comprised of seasoned developers, put on a show and it was a very cool concept and app. They clearly worked hard and it looked like they had fun. But, I have to admit that I was surprised to see Amadeus participating in an IATA NDC API hackathon.

The idea behind a hackathon is to recruit fresh talent, encourage industry innovation by a new generation of developers creating new apps in an unreasonably short timeframe, and of course, there is always great prize money and other incentives for the winner.

What surprised me about Amadeus (or any other well-established company for that matter) competing in this event is that they are already the 800 pound gorilla in the industry. In my eyes, hackathons are about finding those needle-in-the-haystack innovators – the ones that fly under the radar and are mostly hidden away from the rest of an industry, yet have some brilliant ideas that everyone should know about. It was kind of like Google participating in a hackathon on consumer search and then winning the competition with their Google developer team.

Look, I am not trying to take away anything from the Amadeus folks that worked so hard through the night. They did a great job. I am simply saying that IATA, through this outstanding NDC API hackathon initiative, is attempting to stimulate innovation and competition in our generally otherwise stagnant industry that long ago abandoned the stewardship role and encouragement of new entrants. Ours is an industry in need of fresh and innovative new ideas, and I don’t see how a $6,000 prize pack and product incubation period being awarded to Amadeus is going to encourage the next generation of travel industry developers to participate in future events, especially if there is absolutely no chance they can ever win against the 800lb gorilla’s “A” Team.

As we have never been a company to point out a problem without offering a solution, Farelogix plans to donate $5,000 to IATA to either award to a new co-winner or apply it to the next NDC API Hackathon.

Looking forward to the next IATA NDC API Hackathon.

 

*Hackathon first place prize money was $5,000, which was awarded by IATA, and a $1,000 Amazon gift card from SITA.

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Although the year is almost over, it is never too late to develop, modify or enhance the merchandising strategy for your airline. Farelogix’s final master class of 2016 boasts an impressive line up of speakers who will share strategies and tools to help airlines differentiate their brands, delight their customers, and grow revenue and loyalty.

Attending the NDC in Action: Best Practices in Airline Merchandising & Digital Commerce Master Class will help you create more revenue and happy customers.

At this event, we will tackle the full, end-to-end process of merchandising and personalization, including how to differentiate your product and brand, creating and optimizing the best offer, leveraging NDC, and understanding what technologies can help your airline stand apart while increasing revenue per passenger.

Attendees will:

  • Hear from industry thought-leaders Henry Harteveldt (founder of Atmosphere Research Group) and Jim Davidson (CEO of Farelogix).
  • Learn how leading airlines, United and Air Canada, have successfully designed and deployed omni-channel merchandising.
  • Experience hands-on technology demonstrations from industry leading companies Switchfly and Routehappy.

Space is limited and time is running out, so register now.

Also, please be sure to attend Airline Information’s Loyalty, Ancillary Revenue & Travel Co-Brand Cards – 7th Mega Event. This conference will bring together industry stakeholders responsible for ancillary revenue generation to discuss the latest trends, best practices, actionable strategies, and insights.

If you would like to set up a personalized meeting in Toronto, please contact us via email at merchandising@farelogix.com

We look forward to seeing you in Toronto.

 

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I recently attended T2RL’s New Generation of Airline PSS conference held in London. The audience included several of the world’s top airlines as well as a slew of companies representing the hungry crowd of vendors just waiting to get their bite of this lucrative PSS market.

Observation #1: The PSS market has massive opportunity…

…well not really. In Richard Clarke’s opening remarks, he put up a slide of the top 28 PSS providers. That’s right – twenty-eight technology companies, most of which had representatives in the audience. The problem is that once you get to number 4 on the list, you are pretty much done in terms of real opportunity. If you take TravelSky out (as that market is a bit tied up at the moment), and put Navitaire in its rightful category (under Amadeus) then voila… the list is down to two – Amadeus and Sabre, dominating the world’s PSS provider market share. Yet, bless their hearts, 24 other PSS provider companies are still giving it a go, hoping against all hope that they will land “the big one”!

This Notable Quote is from Cormac Whelan, CEO of Mercator and a man I look up to and probably always will: “The perceived technology challenges facing the PSS are not technical at all. They are commercial. The technology is already here.”

Observation #2: The airlines that attend a New Generation PSS conference are looking for a change…

…well again, not really. When the general audience was asked by a panelist “how many airlines are looking for change to happen in the PSS industry?” I could count the number of airlines raising their hands on one of my hands. Seriously! And of those airline hand raising rabble-rousers, Farelogix already has a commercial relationship with most. Which begs the question, why did we come to this event? Why did those other airlines bother showing up? My advice to those non-hand raising airlines – stay home next year. Save your money; you’ll probably need it to pay your rising PSS bill.

Notable Quotes: “I look at the PSS as I am standing on the bank of a rushing river of money flowing out of the airline to the PSS.” And on what a PSS migration does to an airline: “It constipates them; they can’t do anything for years.” ~ Tim Catling, PSS Program Manager at Cathay Pacific Airlines.

Another Notable Quote: “The people that made the mechanical diggers all sat back and laughed at the people making the hydraulic diggers because they were big and expensive and no one wanted them…until they were no longer big and expensive and everyone wanted a hydraulic digger and no one wanted a mechanical digger.” ~ Tim Hartford, Columnist and Author, Financial Times.

Final observation: The PSS business seems to be a really good model for the PSS companies, well at least two. But what’s in it for the airlines?

There you have it. Maybe I’ll be a reporter in my next life, because sooner or later someone needs to Ask the Question!

An effective airline merchandising program showcases your brand, delights your customers, and grows both revenue and loyalty.  But effective airline merchandising is not easy to accomplish.  Embracing value-added services, personalization, and New Distribution Capability (NDC) requires innovation on many levels, from strategy to technology.

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Farelogix is pleased to announce Dan McKone of L.E.K. Consulting and Jeff Hong of Hawaiian Airlines will both speak at the Ancillary Master Class on August 31st, 2015. Dan McKone is a Managing Director with L.E.K. Consulting, as well as a Partner and member of L.E.K.’s Global Leadership Team.  He currently heads the firm’s Retail Sector and Head of Travel/Lodging in the Americas.  He has directed more than 300 projects spanning corporate strategy, new concept development, and channel strategy, pricing and positioning.

Jeff Hong is currently the Director of Commercial Applications with Hawaiian Airlines.  After a successful tour-of-duty with the United States Army, a period working with a technology startup, and working with Microsoft, he returned to his home state of Hawaii.  At Hawaiian he specializes in delivering cutting edge solutions for the airline.

It is not too late to sign up for the Merchandising Master Class.  For more information, please click here.  If you would like to register for the event, please click here.

After attending the Merchandising Master Class, please be sure to attend Airline Information’s 2nd Annual Mega Event Asia Pacific 2015.  This conference will bring together industry stakeholders responsible for merchandising to discuss the latest trends, best practices, actionable strategies and insights.

Last month, Farelogix hosted its Merchandising Master Class as part of Airline Information’s (AI) Mega Event in Barcelona, Spain. Farelogix representatives brought together industry thought leaders, top airline performers, and technology solution providers to discuss merchandising with the standing-room-only crowd. These Master Class events, which have become a staple of AI’s Mega Event series, have been conducted all over the world – from Singapore to New Orleans.

Recognizing that designing and implementing an effective airline merchandising program requires innovation on many levels, the Barcelona workshop explored the entire end-to-end process with a focus on taking action – from strategy to execution. Real case studies and hands-on technology approaches were used to tackle the full spectrum of successful merchandising including: differentiating your product and brand; tips to create and optimize the best offer; and insights on New Distribution Capability (NDC) and related technologies that can help you get to market quickly with the highest flexibility, efficiency and revenue per passenger.

Jim Davidson, President of Farelogix, kicked off the event with his presentation: “Merchandising Call to Action: Are You Leaving $15 Per Passenger On The Table?” Read the rest of this entry »

An effective airline merchandising program showcases your brand, delights your customers, and grows both revenue and loyalty.  But effective airline merchandising is not easy to accomplish.  Embracing value-added services, personalization, and New Distribution Capability (NDC) requires innovation on many levels, from strategy to technology.

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We invite you to attend a one-of-a-kind master class, dedicated to exploring what it takes to successfully grow happy customers and more revenue through effective merchandising and value-added services.

At Merchandising and NDC: The Path to Happy Customers and More Revenue, we will tackle the full, end-to-end process of merchandising and personalization, including how to differentiate your product and brand, creating and optimizing the best offer, leveraging NDC, and understanding what technologies can help your airline stand apart while increasing revenue per passenger. Read the rest of this entry »

 

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In advance of Airline Information’s Mega Event 2014 in New Orleans, Farelogix will once again host a Pre-Conference Ancillary Revenue Workshop on Monday, November 17th. The workshop will feature presentations from IdeaWork’s Jay Sorenson and a representative from United Airlines in which they discuss the motivation and strategy behind implementing an ancillary revenue program.

We will also take the audience on a journey on how these technologies can be implemented. And back by popular demand, we will present our Use-Case Challenge! Our developers will be put to the test with on-the-spot use case scenarios from you, the audience, so be sure to bring your ancillary revenue ideas!

Space is limited so register now!

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As a precursor to Airline Information’s upcoming Mega Event Asia-Pacific 2014, we will be sponsoring a complimentary Ancillary Revenue Master Class on Tuesday, August 19, with a featured keynote from IdeaWorks’ Jay Sorensen. This event is a must see for anyone attending the Mega Event as it will shed some light on not only the “why” of airline merchandising, but also the “how,” while also demonstrating why delivering the right product at the right time and price to the right customer will put you on the path to more revenue and happy customers.

Farelogix will be providing some real life examples of merchandising in action, as well as putting our developers to the test with on-the-spot use case scenarios, so bring your ideas on how you’d like to generate ancillary revenue – maybe your use case will be selected!

Registration is still available, but space is limited so register now!