Q&A: Amadues – Tech savvy

Technology is advancing so rapidly that it’s hard to stay up-to-date with the ever-evolving nature of it. The technological applications in the travel sector are no different and we have companies like Amadeus to thank for providing industry players with ever-improving solutions. Andy Hedley, General Manager: Amadeus Southern Africa, offers some insight into the world of travel technology.

220

Q: If Amadeus is no longer a GDS company, what is it?
A:
Amadeus provides the technology which keeps the travel sector moving – from an initial search to making a booking, from pricing to ticketing, from managing reservations to managing check-in and departure processes. Our ambition is to facilitate the entire travel journey from door-to-door, and in the process improve the travel experience for hundreds of millions of people every year. We do this by connecting key players in the travel industry; we give companies the tools to serve travellers better and to manage their own businesses more effectively.

Q: What role does Amadeus currently play and want to play in the business travel space?
A: Technology is rapidly expanding possibilities in global travel. Tech-savvy business travellers are demanding a more connected travel experience. Amadeus, as the travel IT partner, delivers a complete travel management solution; an end-to-end way to control costs and empower business travellers. We aim to provide automation tools that free TMCs up from repetitive tasks and costly human error so they can focus on customer service and business growth, and communication tools that allow TMCs to journey with the customer and personalise their service. These tools offer TMCs the opportunity to cross-sell and up-sell, providing an enhanced travel experience and thereby increasing the seat value.

Q: What’s your view on the African market, in terms of the space that Amadeus plays in?
A: Africa should not be perceived or related to as if it were one country. Every country is different and has its own challenges. Challenges are sometimes similar, but never the same. Technology providers need to ensure good knowledge of the market requirements and challenges to go-to market. Amadeus is careful to take note of these nuances and to have customer input on market requirements to ensure the best fit for each market and customer.

Q: What do you think business travellers and bookers are looking for, nowadays, from an online travel solution?
A: As travellers, we enjoy the choice, freedom and personalised experience of leisure travel. And today’s business traveller expects something similar from their business travel programmes… choice, flexibility and a higher quality total-trip experience; be that from searching and booking to real-time information and experience ‘on the road’, right through to post-trip reporting.

Q: What’s the Amadeus view on ‘Big Data’ and the role it is playing and can play in the business travel space?
A: ‘Big Data’ in travel comes from every moment in the traveller’s journey, from airline bookings to hotel check-in. Their actions create data which presents an opportunity for travel companies to provide better-individualised services to the traveller and to improve his or her experience. Amadeus is well positioned to make this work.

Q: From where do you think the next technological breakthrough for the travel industry will come?
A: Simplifying the options for the traveller is a good place to start. Today, travellers need several different smart apps for different things. Any breakthrough will be in the space of enhancing the experience for the traveller and enabling the TMC to keep up with these evolving needs. Specialised or niche services will secure the business offering for many travel agents.

Q: How far do you believe the personalisation of travel will evolve?
A: For many clients, their mobile phone has become who they are. Therefore, personalisation equals mobile, with every single mobile user having a unique identity. Evolution in travel will undoubtedly include intuitive offerings to customers through their mobile phone. For travellers, mobile offerings will not only be something they want, it will become an expectation.

Q: What are the biggest challenges faced by those wanting to push the development of travel technology?
A: Today, technology is largely reactive and customer-driven. Providers must produce quick, agile technology to respond to growing needs. TMC and technology providers must work together for solutions that will make the process seamless both for the TMC and the customer, and at the same time focus on building customer loyalty through better experiences, from aspiration to book and journey to on-trip and post-trip sharing.