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

Posts Tagged ‘opportunity’

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In some ways we (the industry we) are so predictable. I am referring to the very recent breaking news from Abu Dhabi that the IATA membership has directionally endorsed and approved that the organization is moving ahead with its NDC initiative. For those of you not familiar with this particular acronym, it stands for New Distribution Capabilities.

And, as quickly as those voting for the NDC initiative to move forward could drop their hands back into their laps, we see two industry groups—ASTA and Business Travel Coalition (BTC)—publically coming out against NDC. It’s almost as if this reaction was planned ahead of time… (Let’s see, the vote was Thursday morning, October 18, Abu Dhabi time, that’s 9 hours ahead of EST. Tnooz published on October 18 at 8:24 am ET and The Beat published its story at 7:24 pm ET, so if I carry the 1, I get… I don’t know. I was always bad a math. But the point is, this denunciation of NDC was all ready to go before it was even voted on.

For those of you that didn’t have the chance to read the articles, allow me to summarize (in my own words, of course)… “NDC is bad, we don’t really know what it is, but we know it is bad, so stop doing this bad thing!” Read the rest of this entry »

I always love going to the GBTA (Global Business Travel Association) conference. This year it was held in beautiful Boston. What I really enjoy about GBTA is how low key it has become, including a line up of lesser known guest speakers (one named Bush and the other named Clinton), a smattering of attendees (including the top brass from every TMC you could name), airline execs from around the world, heavy hitters from technology, hotel, and car rental companies, some network news faces, and, of course, the stars of the show—corporate travel managers from some of the largest most innovative companies in the world. All gather to address one thing–The Management of Corporate Travel.

So once again the folks from GBTA pulled off a winner.

But that winner is not the subject of this blog. The winner I am referring to is a new and innovative Open Booking concept that started to pick up some momentum a few months before GBTA with the likes of Shorts Travel, Concur, The Manifesto, GDSx, ProcureApp, US Foods, and KDS. In Boston, the concept wafted throughout the conference, almost to the point of creating a buzz. In the days following the event, it has received even more endorsement from a number of vendors and brought on new adopters like Google and Salesforce.com Read the rest of this entry »

Articles about travel agents and ancillaries have been all over the web lately. First I read this one. Then I read this. And then this. I felt like I was reading the same article over and over and over. Then it hit me — Groundhog Day.

No, I’m not talking about the day when we pull Punxsutawney Phil from his burrow in Pennsylvania to see if he’ll see his shadow or not. I’m talking about the hilarious movie Groundhog Day (yes, the movie takes place on Punxsutawney Phil’s special day). In the movie Bill Murray keeps living the same day over and over… and over. And it seems to me that the conversation surrounding travel agents and ancillaries is stuck in a similar pattern. Read the rest of this entry »

On the drive home from work the other day, I listened to a fascinating story on NPR about television. It wasn’t about the best shows of 2012, or about content at all, really. It was about the way we watch television and, more specifically, about how we will watch television in the years to come.

© Krzysiek - Fotolia.com

But it’s TV. What’s left to change? We’ve already gone from antenna to cable and satellite. The viewing quality has greatly improved from analog to digital to HD to even 3D. And we have more and more channels, which for me is just more and more channels I don’t watch but have to pay for to get the five channels I actually like to watch. So what else can really change? Apparently everything. Read the rest of this entry »

Last week, I decided that I really needed a 3D television and, of course, all the trimmings to go with it to make it a total sensory experience – funny 3D glasses, a new 3D surround-sound system, and, of course, the smell-o-vision option. With the holidays closing in, I had my perfect cover – The Family Gift. They would love it. What would be better than the family sitting around the new 75-incher, basking in its warm glow while watching and smelling Harry Potter 12? Ah, I love the holidays.

Since I really despise actually going into a store, I decided to make my Family Gift selection online. As I began my search, I came across a number of aggregation sites that displayed price ranges for certain brands and models, but honestly, those sites weren’t of much help. I mean, telling me that the Mitsubishi TV is $4,140 – $6,000 isn’t terribly helpful. And those sites certainly didn’t take into account any personalization like my favorite places to shop online for electronics, and that I am a Costco member, and a Best Buy Rewards geek, and that I have a Fry’s credit card. But how could they? These aggregation sites know nothing about me. So naturally all they can serve up is a very generic display of something I may or may not want – the same display they provide to every other shopper looking for the same thing.

© Ali Ender Birer - Fotolia.com

Read the rest of this entry »

I am sure if you were a fly on the wall at Blockbuster HQ a while back you would have heard these words: “That new Netflix strategy is simply misguided.” And similarly, in the hallowed halls of Kodak you most definitely would have heard something like, “Digital photography, talk about a misguided strategy.” Or the countless brick and mortar retailers that failed to develop an online presence because they thought Amazon.com’s distribution strategy would “never work.” My guess is that the folks who uttered those words are no longer employed by their respective organizations. In my humble opinion, those folks failed to recognize the power of the technology that was responsible for bringing about that “misguided strategy”

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Yet, I continue to hear some in our industry say, “this new direct connect strategy is misguided.” So, do the same technological principles that radically changed the company strategies mentioned above apply to our industry? That is a great… Ask The Question.

To assist in getting to some of those answers, I refer you to an essay recently written by Richard Eastman, who as many of you know has been at the forefront of travel and related technology for years.

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No more pithy intros or recaps of the last article; it’s time to get right into it. Here we go: The search for truths and myths about airline merchandising. For some, the reality of developing, implementing, and distributing an effective airline merchandising product is way too complex to even imagine. This is a myth.

At a macro level, there are really only two major challenges that need to be overcome in order for merchandising to flourish. There needs to be a solid value proposition to motivate buying behavior, and there needs to be operational and technical process to allow the transaction to take place. This is a truth. Read the rest of this entry »