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Friday, February 3, 2012

Travel 2.0: From dream (1998) to reality (2012)

Travel 2.0, a new term coined in 1998, is becoming a reality in 2012.

The main drivers are:

  • Mobile - smartphone are now available everywhere in volume
  • Mobile can be powered by Voice - SIRI on Iphone or all the others on Android enable more easy interactions with mobile apps.
  • GDS 2.0 are emerging - built on top of ITA or Farelogix, this new Travel search engines are providing easy to use API, and are enhanced by great  new Travel 2.0 site like HipMunk, Superfly, or Google Flight Search.
  • Tablet design (and couch surfing) are impacting web site. Kayak and TripIt recently rebuilt their web sites to match their IPAD User Experience. And by doing that they also prepare for Connected TV and Microsoft Kinect like interactions (death of the mouse...).
  • All corporate online booking tools are using hybrid mobile apps (HTML 5 + Native) and enable now (since Dec. 2011) policy compliant booking from mobile (Concur, KDS, GetThere). Only Aetm from Amadeus and  Traveldoo from Egencia are lagging behind.
  • Suppliers are investing to become "Mono" OTA. Following the model invented by French rail company SNCF and its voyages-sncf site, they are building a B2B (corporation oriented) and B2C (aka. leisure) web site for direct booking and basic dynamic package (sell car, hotel for an air supplier).
  • Corporate Travel Policy will be less and less based on a stringent PDF document and more and more available dynamically by checking dynamically the "right" fare. Obtaining the right fare will be done  through new type of providers and by offering spend transparency over the social network. Some OBT will not survive and OTA will try to extend their reach to corporation. 
  • Gamification will also enter the game to provide leaderboards and clear statistics about who's playing well (and not) the corporate/family travel game.
  • Travel could be represented by a set of pre-defined events (booking, ticketing, expense mgt) and by alerts (delay, cancelled flight, strikes, etc.). More and more, the notion of timeline (Facebook with Wipolo, or KDS project NEO) or storyboard (Rearden DEEM platform). Others will push even further this concept and move the whole travel lifecycle within the calendar system.
  • The rise of Mega-platform will also leverage some solutions against some others. Next generation travel 2.0 solutions will be native on Facebook, on Apple IOS (named iTravel), on Google (Flight Search and Hotel finder) and also on... Amazon and eBay. And last but not least the last kids on the blocks: Pinterest is also able to revolutionize travel inspiration and booking, by promoting friends and local travel plans.
  • The final missing link to make the whole travel process smoother is Artificial Intelligence and big data, or the digitally enhanced wisdom of friends and crowd. Imagine a system that will book the room you will like in an hotel (non smoking, quiet room not near from Ice machine, with shower and not bath) or in a plane (avoiding the worse seats shown by a site like seatGuru).
Future is here, and we were never so near from a real Travel 2.0 offer that could disrupt the market ...

KDS Now 2012

Yesterday, KDS organised in Paris their annual event dubbed "KDS Now 2012" to introduce their strategy and new products.
The show began by an introduction made by Yves Weisselberger (Executive Chairman).

Followed by a talk from Pascal Boniface the funding director of IRIS. During its talk he stated that the world changed and that we should be ready to evolve in a multipolar world (an not a world only dominated by the USA). We will also have to consume differently, since water and energy will not be available for all.
Then, the KDS CEO made his speech. It was a great year for KDS, and especially for one product driving 80% of the sales: KDS travel & Expense (all in one offer). KDS invested also a lot in R&D and product innovations.
The KDS strategy was introduced by Oliver Quayle: Simple, Mobile, Smart
1. Simple
Simplicity is always redefined by innovations and especially in the travel 2.0 world. KDS said that companies need to rethink the user experience of their products regularly.
Some examples were given:
  • Before Booking: provide a summarised fare notes to clients  before he/she pushes the "buy" button.
  • Mileage via mapping.
  • Easy Payment.
New product, to be considered as the first implementing the "simple" strategy part is  the KDS Admin Tool and is available Now (previous one to be deprecated end of this year)

2. Mobile

KDS presented a new mobile app, enabling policy compliant booking and two new features: "get me to my hotel" and "book on mobile".
KDS claims that ""no integrated mobile apps exists today for travel and expense (end to end)". We can says that what KDS build is clearly leading edge in term of User Experience.
  • Hybrid mobile application (like Rearden and Getthere). Available on Android, and BB (with OS sup. to V6). IoS to be done soon (and I hope IPAD).
  • When you book three options: best, cheapest, earliest to simplify the UX. Then every segment outside policy is in another colour (visual guilt to show on and out policy). The UX is real great and innovative.

3. Smart
The capability to offer timely and accurate reports using online, offline, credit card, and clients data. The tool is able to provide slice and dice reporting, more than 100's KPI and some forecasting features.
The new product exemplifying the "smart" strategy is the KDS Travel Manager Suite and is available Now.
Innovation: Project NEO
Being able to book your end to end trip in 3 clicks, 2 screens, and 1 minute. KDS, like Rearden with DEEM Storyboard or Facebook with Timeline, is adopting a timeline approach. Only relevent offers based on the traveler type and user policy is shown. 
For KDS: user experience is the best driver to policy compliance
Neo is not a product... Not yet.
Scott Gillepsie Keynote

Tranquility is the enemy of innovation. Scott predicts "best value" for traveler is the next step for creating traveler centric pgm. Cost transparency (what's my budget?) more than travel Policy compliance (what is my policy?). Deeper data relationship and smarter socializing will change travel policy.