Amadeus continuously seeks to pursue and deliver innovation that is relevant and delivers the greatest value to the travel industry. We recognize investment in innovation is critical to our customers’ as well as our company’s success. That’s why over the past 12 years, we’ve invested nearly €5 billion in R&D, more than 16 percent of company revenues. And looking ahead to innovation for 2018, here are five areas, among others, you can bet we are watching:
1. The Fourth Industrial Revolution has ushered in a new era of datafication, constant connectivity and innovations like artificial intelligence, robotics, the Internet of Things, autonomous vehicles, 3D printing, quantum computing and nanotechnology. To stay competitive, savvy travel industry players will focus on total offer optimization: new and creative ways to improve the customer shopping experience, increase loyalty and improve profitability. “In-it-to-win-it” airlines will shift toward merchandising and personalization to ensure that their offers deliver exactly what customers want – at precisely the right time.
2. Blockchain is simply defined as a secure public and distributed digital ledger that records information. Although it is still in its early days, this emerging technology holds tremendous promise to expand how we exchange value digitally. Just as the internet has enabled us to exchange information quickly and easily, so could blockchain open the door to a new iteration of computing that allows financial value to be exchanged between businesses, governments and individuals. A recent Amadeus research paper envisions blockchain’s potential to significantly improve how we handle traveler identity, loyalty programs and payment settlement.
3. Machine learning. In a world where buyers have become accustomed to tailored offerings, customization and personalization will reign supreme. Machine learning initiatives will allow travel sellers to optimize advertising campaigns for specific destinations based on how likely the viewer is to book. Differentiating on price alone will become archaic. Rather, thriving travel companies will know how to reach the right audiences with hyper-targeted, right-valued products and services that enhance the customer experience.
4. New Distribution Capability, or NDC, is a major evolution in airline distribution. Last October, Amadeus achieved NDC Level 1 certification as an aggregator from IATA, a certification that builds on our leadership as one of the first technology companies to receive NDC Level 3 certification as an IT provider. This new standard, and the services evolving around it, have the potential to greatly improve the traveler experience, and will deliver huge benefits for all industry players. NDC is just one piece of a much larger “digitalization story” that will impact travel shopping, merchandising, user interfaces, data and more.
5. Personalized startup models. There’s no room for stagnation in the travel industry as major incumbent startup players compete with innovative revenue models to bolster their positions, while smaller players disrupt the space with solutions to address a multitude of industry pain points. No matter how great the business idea, the right business model can make or break a venture. A recent Amadeus-Skift survey of travel startups found that much of the travel industry’s entrepreneurial activity will center on three business models, each with its own version of personalization: unbundling, subscription-based pricing, and personalized pricing based on customer profile.
As expected, these new technologies will continue to raise consumer awareness and heighten anticipation and expectations. They will also offer the travel industry a wealth of new opportunities to provide even better travel experiences. The industry players who succeed will be the innovators who combine technology with creativity, offering new and novel ways to delight their traveling customers.
What other innovations will shape the future of travel technology in 2018?