TDS Europe 2006 special: By EyeforTravel Correspondent Offering their expert opinion on the impact of technological developments in the online travel industry, Moshe Rafiah, chief executive officer, TRAVELfusion and Roberto Da Re, president, Dolph

Published: 11 Jun 2006

TDS Europe 2006 special: By EyeforTravel Correspondent

Offering their expert opinion on the impact of technological developments in the online travel industry, Moshe Rafiah, chief executive officer, TRAVELfusion and Roberto Da Re, president, Dolph

Excerpts:

Moshe Rafiah, chief executive officer, TRAVELfusion:

How do you think technological developments are allowing travel companies to exchange information with greater ease and at reduced costs?

XML-structured data is changing the online travel landscape. It provides powerful and innovative new services which deliver superior user experiences. The ability to link different forms of data into a single trip, show users more information about their journey and a better comparison. The next generation of services will offer even more mush ups and greater use of rich supplier content.

What technological developments in connectivity according to you can help drive down costs for all types of travel companies? To what extent will improved interoperability cut your distribution costs?

Despite the advancements made with XML, there is still a severe lack of standardisation and OTA remains an elusive concept when you deal with multiple suppliers. Much work remains to be done on this front, but until there is more harmonisation, aggregators will be heavily relied on. With more standardisation distribution costs will inevitably fall.

What’s your prediction for future?

Travel search will emerge as a major force in both search and online travel. Web content aggregation will grow and will appear via web services in powerful mapping and calendaring much up services. Travel suppliers will claim back a stronger piece of the online distribution cake.
--

Roberto Da Re, president, Dolphin Dynamics:

How do you think technological developments are allowing travel companies to exchange information with greater ease and at reduced costs?

There is no doubt that the introduction of Web Services and XML technologies is the single most important technological development that has opened doors for travel companies to access product that they would have not been able to access just a few years ago. When mainframe technology was all that was available to distribute, only a relatively small number of supplier could afford access to such distribution networks. Today Web Services is delivering, for the B2B space, on the initial promises of the Internet as a revolutionary way of conducting business at a much lower cost.

What technological developments in connectivity according to you can help drive down costs for all types of travel companies? To what extent will improved interoperability cut your distribution costs?

Again, Web Services and XML over the Internet are key factor because of the low cost connection. What is however a potential risk is that the proliferation and fragmentation of product suppliers offering independent links can increase cost for travel agents, unless they have access to product such as TravelScanner where they can combine all their product sources into a POS that can efficiently manage their selling process.

How is XML promoting seamless interaction between tech-savvy travel companies? Do you think there is enough standardisation in place for this to take off fully?

There is never enough standardisation and even though the adoption of OTA is starting to take off, we see that each integration project still requires a considerable amount of customisation for each implementation, mostly because of the legacy system that still exist behind the XML communication layer. Most importantly, expertise in the travel sector is still key in order to be able to use those standards efficiently. Purely knowing how to use XML is not enough to be able to deliver a viable product that will efficiently service the business requirement, unless the end user it willing to drive the implementation process step-by-step sitting alongside its technical team. Something that for the SME market is simply not financially viable, no matter how tech savvy they are.

What’s your prediction for future?

It is very difficult to make predictions in the current market. One thing that we are confident about is that travel companies will accelerate their adoption of new technology aimed at improving their profit margins and creating new sales opportunities. Several travel companies in the leisure sector have already embarked on large projects aimed at re-shaping the way they do business, while travel companies in the corporate sector seems to still be pondering what their next technological move is going to be after the implementation of Self Booking Tools, but we are sure things in this area will also start to move quite soon.

Related Reads

comments powered by Disqus