For over 20 years, my family and I have spent our summers at our lovely house in a Mediterranean beach resort located in the north of Morocco, close to Tangiers. I had to get there from Madrid, my daughter from London, her boyfriend from Mallorca and my son from Manchester with a stop-over in Paris to meet some friends.
My summer holiday travel arrangements seem rather simple but when I think about all the technology required to make such simple trips happen, it is indeed overwhelming. And when the reality hits you, you sometime find that it is not just the technology but, more importantly, the integration and cooperation between the different players in the travel arena that make the difference.
It is in these kinds of situations where seamless integrated travel starts making sense and this gets really wild in the leisure world.
I tried to follow the Amadeus trail through the different journeys that were going to lead each of us to our final destination:
- Me: LCC booking and payment on the airline.com website including ancillary services for seat reservation with priority boarding and extra luggage. Although no-frills airlines might be the low cost and ancillary unbundling champions, they are also the nerve-unbundling champs: credit card payment constraints, never-ending queues at the airport for check-in, boarding gates assigned at the very end of the terminal and in this case, the carrier had a last-minute change of aircraft so re-accommodation became a real nightmare. I missed my travel agent who could have handled all the hassles, a good passenger service system that could have helped speed up re-accommodation and a smart airport handling solution that would have improved the aircraft gate assignment and sequence planner to optimize the airport slots.
- My son: as a good digital native, everything seemed easy for him and he did not feel any stress. He managed to book his British rail ticket to London, a Eurostar ticket to Paris, a cheap hotel in the capital and an LCC to Tangiers. We discussed his trip arrangement and he was amazed when I told him about the door-to-door/multi-modal initiative led by the European Commission where Amadeus and other partners are working to come up with an integrated solution so his trip could have been almost a one-stop shopping experience.
- My daughter and her boyfriend: both had to meet at the Madrid Airport. My daughter flew with an LCC and had to go through the same wearying experience as me. Her boyfriend made all of his travel arrangements through a travel management company and this included a ferry segment, a regional airline segment and an LCC segment. Several changes of dates and accommodation were performed seamlessly by his travel agent.
Travel and travellers are entering a new era where technology is the backbone that can help travel suppliers and travel providers negotiate the challenging changes ahead. As Hervé Couturier – our Head of Research & Development – said in Amadeus’ research paper on big data and travel: Amadeus has the technology and expertise to bring fun and glamour back to travel; in the meantime, some travel providers might think of offering cabin yoga and massage upon landing as ancillary services.