Argo Travel Director Diamantis Pithis tells us the role technology can play in shaping the post-coronavirus world for travel.
Our world today is exceedingly complicated, a true meshwork of complex natural and artificial systems, and the travel industry is no exception. There is an infinite number of interacting agents, ie travelers, suppliers, the weather, national economies, politics and fuel prices just to name a few, thus making it impossible to comprehend and predict the industry’s behavior, and to successfully navigate the travel ecosystem. Recently and rather bluntly, we were made aware of yet another so-called systemic agent that has further disrupted our industry, let alone our lives: global health and the corona virus. Without a doubt, travel professionals and individual travelers have neither the cognitive capacity nor the tools to successfully navigate this exceedingly elaborate and complex world. Until now, that is.
My colleagues and I are convinced that technology will eventually come to our rescue, which is why Argo Travel has been heavily investing in R&D over the past few years. In a world where algorithmic determinations and predictive analytics have become so embedded in everyday life and on such a fundamental level that we often don’t even notice them, it was only natural to invest in technology. Without a doubt, most of our choices are algorithmically determined and based on real-time and predictive data: from shopping to choosing our healthcare provider and from the news we read to our cultural experiences. We, at Argo Travel, don’t see why these principles and tools cannot be applied to the travel industry as a whole; after all the airlines have been already doing it for some time for profit and occupancy maximization purposes.
‘Given that the technology is readily available, how come we are still going through the same processes we were in the early 2000’s?’
Let me not be misunderstood: we are not trying to reinvent the wheel, we are simply trying to find another use for it. The technology is there, so is the travel professionals’ and the travelers’ need to have unlimited and efficient access to information. Frankly speaking, I am puzzled by how fragmented information still is, almost to the point that it defeats its purpose. Even the most experienced professional has to navigate several screens and platforms to perform the simplest of tasks: design, quote and book a trip from A to Z. Why is that? My colleagues and I kept asking ourselves that very question: Given that the technology is readily available, how come we are still going through the same processes we were in the early 2000’s?
In Steve Jobs’ words, “we are here to make a dent in the universe, otherwise why else even be here”? Argo Travel has been compulsively innovating since 1952 and presented with such a challenge, we could not but delve into it. Over the last four years, we have invested considerable human and capital resources in a trip-planning tool that will without a doubt revolutionize the travel industry. The pandemic itself has allowed us the much needed time to expedite its launch, thus introducing a powerful trip-planner even in the hands of the uninitiated.
‘We are convinced that the infusion of technology in the travel industry will not only address its recent challenges, but will eventually turn it on its head.’
Never before have travel professionals been able to search, quote and book an entire trip, anywhere in the world, on a single screen. I am not referring to simply booking a flight, a hotel or renting a car. No sir! I am referring to any and all activities included in a trip (transfers, tours, restaurants, events etc), regardless its purpose, duration and destinations visited. It may sound too good to be true, however asking the right questions and using readily available technology, we have managed to reverse-engineer a user-friendly ecosystem where information is no longer fragmented.
Without further ado, Argo Travel is presenting travel professionals the future of trip-planning ahead of its scheduled arrival. We are convinced that the infusion of technology in the travel industry will not only address its recent challenges, but will eventually turn it on its head. And there lies a monumental opportunity for Argo Travel and the Greek travel industry as a whole: to reset the industry’s standards and to pave the path to the future.