Amadeus is one of the many international firms building up its presence in China in response to the gradual liberalization of travel technology and distribution.
NB This is a guest article by Ritesh Gupta, a reporter for China Travel News.
Businesses of Amadeus' stature are gearing up to capitalize on emerging opportunities in China. Carriers are gradually showing signs of understanding what it takes to craft a retailing and merchandising strategy, while offline and online agents are demanding different systems to serve a new breed of customer
Chinese airlines are improving their existing reservation and inventory capabilities by adding both new air and non-air products. Within this there is interest in precision targeting across multiple channels, narrowing the choice to a point where a customer is served only what he or she is likely to find meaningful at that precise stage of their engagement with the carrier.
Brian Chien, Amadeus China’s general manager, says its vision for China is built on three pillars, with the key objective of bringing airlines and travel sellers together in an open, intelligent, global travel ecosystem that matches supply with demand in real-time.
"First, the development and roll out of a new merchandising system that will enable airlines to create their offering dynamically, to provide consumers with the most relevant offer at any given time, through any point of sale of any channel, direct or indirect and through any device.
"Second, the evolution of the company’s retailing and distribution systems to pave way for effective delivery of enhanced airline content at the point of sale, whether in the direct or indirect channel.
"Finally, the full integration of both the merchandising system and Amadeus’ retailing and distribution systems with the company’s PSS Suite.
“This would result in a truly joined-up and end-to-end traveller journey across key touch points such as servicing, delivery, disruption management (managing flight disruptions based on personalized and intelligent re-accommodation options) plus ticketing and fulfilment.”
Chien believes that by 2030, hyper-customisation will be the default expectation for Chinese travellers, and offline and online agents alike must be ready for this. Agents will need to know potential clients' preferences without asking. Some travellers are already demanding authentic and individual experiences, avoiding mass-market hotspots. Agents need to be able to market packages based on specific needs.
“There is a clear and urgent need for [agents] to better understand their customers’ changing motivations and desires,” he says.
Progress is already being made via the Amadeus Travel Intelligence suite. This team brings big data technology to offline and online agents. combining market and traveller data to give useful insights. For example, search analysis gives agencies details about their customers’ travel intentions by analysing search data.
Airlines can also access Amadeus big data to help them assess new routes and source markets, or improve supplier management, among other things.
The GDS content is an attractive proposition for Chinese OTA's interested in not only outbound travel but also an international presence. Earlier this year, Amadeus started providing all air content for points of sale outside of mainland China for Ctrip, China's biggest OTA.
Chien said that the deal now includes Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and Thailand. Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea and the US were the first markets where Ctrip's air content was powered by Amadeus.
He added that OTAs are also taking an interest in its products such as its low fare search engine.
Another recent development of note is the integration of Alipay and UnionPay to the Amadeus Payment Platform, easing payment options for Chinese travellers.
NB1 This is an guest article by Ritesh Gupta, a reporter for China Travel News, edited by Tnooz. Click here to read the original version.
See also Ritesh's interview with Martin Herbert, general manager of Asia for Travelport.
NB2 Related news from Tnooz:
Online travel growth in China shows no sign of slowing down (Aug2015)
Travelport nails China coup with Alitrip link-up (July 2015)
China’s tech-savvy millennials cruise into the spotlight (July 2015)
NB3 Image by Shutterstock