The travel industry is changing, there’s no doubt about it, and in the words of Travelport’s Global Head of Product and Marketing, Air Commerce, Ian Heywood, this is a “customer-driven technology-enabled industry”.
Heywood’s words accurately describe the way travel is conducted today, with millions of mobile phone users turning to their smartphones to book tickets and accommodation, check in, browse the sites, monuments, restaurants and bars, and then let their friends in on the action.
Travelport is a mediator between the traveler and the service provider, whether that’s a hotel or an airline or an agent. “People, especially the younger generation, will go through different channels to arrange a trip, it could be a travel agent, an airline, online booking sites or even a combination of the three. That’s what makes the market so challenging. We want to ensure value to airlines by helping them get their products out into the open in an effective and efficient way and help them achieve revenue,” Heywood tells the Greek Travel Pages (GTP) on the sidelines of the CAPA Airlines in Transition Summit last week.
For Heywood, who has extensive experience with British Airways under his belt, and the rest of the aviation industry attending the CAPA Summit 2016 in Dublin, there are many external factors at play, including google, Amazon, and dozens of online agents, so it’s vital in this environment to be innovative.
“We’re focusing on moving our capabilities forward, improving the connectivity speed, adding more languages, making the process quicker and more effective, meeting a pent up demand for more freedom,” Heywood adds.
During the CAPA Summit, Travelport celebrated bringing on board 150 airlines and extending the capability for airlines to make tailored or personalised offers to both individual travel agencies and to corporations serviced by travel management companies.
The mobile platform provider’s roster of clients includes easyJet, transavia, Singapore Airlines, hotels, travel management companies (BCD Travel) and online travel agencies. And a team of dedicated mtt developers and designers demonstrated how they go about their work in their offices last week in downtown Dublin. A case in point, the platform for Saudia, Saudi Arabia’s flag carrier, includes such “cultural” details as the fact that they prefer to travel in families with one member doing all the booking.
Mtt’s recently appointed CEO, David Moran, told the GTP that “travel is now a user-oriented self-serve business, giving the customer the chance to research and analyze and then after that perhaps call on a third party to assist in the booking or do it alone”.
“The whole idea is to guide the user through all phases of the experience, and to make sure this experience was a good one. To achieve this, you have to engage the user by knowing his expectations and demands and then offering a personalized platform.”
“This is an exploding industry,” Moran says, adding that the provider’s future plans aim to deepen relations with major players and adapt schemes for tier 1 or 2 clients with smaller pockets.