Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Dynamic Packaging verses Dynamic Shopping

Dynamic packaging has continued to be the topic du jour for many suppliers and intermediaries. In addition to online travel agencies offering dynamic packaging, many core supplier have also thrown in their hat to the dynamic packaging trend. A driving reason for suppliers to offer dynamic packaging is the underlying belief that dynamic packaging will lead to increased stickiness and greater value to the brand loyal consumer. In my study entitled "Selling Complex Leisure Travel Online: Focus on Dynamic Packaging Technology" I described the emerging platform for dynamic packaging along with some of the factors driving this trend. Despite a clear growth of packaging options, many consumers continue to shop across sites combining air, hotel, car, destination research, and activities into their own custom itinerary. Will we ever see a day where these two trends converge to allow consumers to shop across sites, but still obtain an overall package price? It is unlikely that this will happen anytime soon, but this capability should not be overlooked as the Internet travel space continues to evolve. The Web is about freedom and consumers will continue to do comparison shopping no matter the capabilities of an individual site.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

New Start Up with Fetch Technologies

I wanted to let my blog readers know of a new start up I am launching in conjunction with Fetch Technologies. Without divulging too much information, the new entity is based on patented AI search technology from Fetch that indexes the "deep Web". The product will be a traveler tool that allows the consumer to "Collect, Organize and Share" information from ANY travel Web site. More news about this exciting new start-up as it develops. In the meantime go to the Fetch Website and check out the Fetch Technologies Featured on KCAL 9 News link to learn more about the company.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

PhoCusWright NYU Study

My friends at PhoCusWright have released a new study in conjunction with NYU entitled: "The Effects of Emerging Technologies on the Travel, Tourism and Hospitality Marketplace". The research was created to measure the impact of new technologies on travel, tourism and hospitality companies, analyze their influence on current distribution channels and explore future technologies that will affect the way travel is purchased in the next five years. From that study the following list of Technologies with the MOST Impact on Travel Over the Next Five Years were published:
1) Data mining
2) Metasearch technology
4) Data warehousing (tie)
4) SEO (Search Engine Optimization) (tie)
5) Dashboard marketing mix models
6) Wireless connectivity
7) e-Procurement systems
8) Automatic check-in/out (tie)
8) Deep Web searching (tie)
8) Business management applications (tie)
9) Mapping
10) RSS (Real Simple Syndication)

I am curious whether my Blog readers agree with this list. Is there anything missing? How would you change the order? Is this too US-centric?

Please post your comments.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

TMC Musical Chairs

The game of musical chairs in the global TMC market continues with the announcement this week of the purchase of Synergi by The Travel Company who themselves where recently purchased by BCD (owner of WorldTravel). I view this as a stop gap measure designed to give BCD an immediate global presence. BCD will likely go ahead and purchase some of the members of this network, but for the time being the global reach of Synergi provides the new BCD TMC representation in 45 countries. The thing to keep in mind in that the "music hasn't stopped" in this game of musical chairs. Expect a lot more announcements from BCD, Hogg Robinson and TQ3 Navigant International over the next few weeks. These changes combined with contract renewals this year for GDS / airline DCA type agreements promises to make 2006 a turbulent year for business travel (sorry for the pun).

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

2006 The Year Wireless Travel Finally Takes Off??

In late 2003 I wrote a research report entitled Emerging Trends in Wireless Technology and The Global Travel Industry. In this study I reviewed current trends in wireless technology, specific wireless travel applications and ideas for future wireless apps. Much to my dismay, many of my predications have not yet materialized (certainly not in the US). The failure of my predictions are a function of timing rather than accuracy. With 3G (third generation) networks now standard in Europe and rapidly emerging in the US, and cities such as San Francisco and Philadelphia building Wi-Fi networks, 2006 may finally signal the explosion of travel oriented wireless applications. There are three key points I addressed in the study that still apply, travel apps must be: 1) Location based - the app should reflect the specific location of the user 2) Situational based- the app must apply to the particular need of the user (e.g. searching for restaurant's in NYC) and 3) Opt-in- any message received promoting a service or product must be on an opt-in basis (permission based marketing). If you have or are developing any travel oriented wireless applications, I'd love to learn about it. Please contact me at norm@traveltechnology.com

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

WorldTravel, BTI, and TQ3

Today's announcement may have caught many by surprise. In case you haven't seen it -
1) WorldTravel and BTI are dissolving their partnership
2) BTI UK will most likely be re-branded as Hogg Robinson and will likely purchase additional agencies in the US
3) TQ3 (TUI) is selling its European operations to BCD (the owner of WorldTravel)
4) Navigant will retain the TQ3 brand but now has limited operations outside the US
As part of study I am authoring for PhoCusWright (to be released in Q1 2006 and distributed by ACTE), I became very much aware that something was up with these three entities during my research late last year. The conflict was clear between BTI and WorldTravel as each had separate initiatives to provide GDS independence and aggregation services for its clients. In late 2005, TQ3 also announced an aggregation platform initiative, obviously now part of the WorldTravel project Renaissance.
What does this all mean? - Complete ownership is crucial to complete on the global TMC stage. When the dust clears there still will be four mega-TMCs - Amex, CWT, Hogg Robinson and WorldTravel. Navigant International either through the TQ3 brand or some other means now needs to build a global network to compete. Given the number of large global wins over the last 12 months by the BTI organization, it is unclear how the two former partners will be able to continue to work together given their emerging competitive stance, though both PR organizations are hard at work trying to reassure global clients. This change may trigger some of the large BTI clients to re-bid their TMC services. Overall this announcement is good news in the short term for Amex and CWT who have their global organizations in place. In the long run these new entities will represent stronger global players. Ownership in major markets around the world has become a requirement to compete for global accounts. This is challenging news for agencies that belong to Radius and Synergi.