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Comment: Travel Weekly says

richard siddle 030306Show support for technology


THE travel sector is beginning to question the old adage that a company’s biggest asset is its staff.


The role of technology is becoming increasingly critical in determining which travel businesses are going to be the big winners in the years ahead.


The big online players have already transformed the way people book and plan their holiday and leisure time and it now seems technology is going to be the driving force behind how traditional high-street players fight back.


Dynamic packaging, for example, will only succeed if there is the technology there to support it.


A number of key players in the sector are on the verge of rolling out technological solutions they claim will not only save the traditional travel agent, but help them compete head-tohead with the multiples.


It is ironic that much of the search expertise pioneered by the likes of Expedia and Lastminute.com is now being adapted and tailored to power these new dynamic packaging solutions.


The ability to be able to put together targeted, as well as comprehensive, databases of accommodation and flight details should not be beyond any serious player in this sector.


But bringing the databases together in a sophisticated search process that can present the data in a quick and efficient way for agents is, in the words of Global’s George Begg, the “holy grail” for the UK travel agent.


Whether dynamic packaging solutions such as Triton Search or Travel Counsellors’ Phenix system are the answer remains to be seen, but they are giving independent agents an alternative to the commission-cutting antics of major operators.


It is now up to agents to take the lead and support these systems and the suppliers behind them and ensure the work being done behind the scenes by the sector’s IT pioneers is not in vain.

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