With Travel Technology Europe just around the corner, what have been some of the changes two of its long standing exhibitors have seen through the 2000s?
We asked Comtec Europe and Dolphin Dynamics to explain further ahead of the show's next outing in London on 8 and 9 February 2011.
Here, in Part Two, is Dolphin Dynamics chief executive Roberto da Re:
1) Since exhibiting at TTS, what has been the biggest change you have seen in terms of what other visitors have requested from you from a technology standpoint?
Since we first exhibited, there has been a natural evolution as we haveentered new sectors of the industry - notably the tour operator segment and online solutions.
We have found that more and more travel companies are negotiating products and inventory directly with suppliers and require software tools to help then manage and sell these products. Alongside products they source in real-time using XML/Direct Connect links.
As a result, whereas perhaps at one stage we mainly implemented to support a specific area of a travel company's business (i.e. back-office), in the last 2-3 years, as our platform has been extended, we are now much more commonly presenting proposals for end-to-end sales and management solutions.
The biggest single change has been the number of tour operators now implementing Dolphin technology, with over 50% of our new business sales during 2010 arising from tour operator customers - compared to probably 5% when we first exhibited.
2) Which has had the most impact on the travel technology you provide to travel companies - cloud computing or social media? And why?
The adoption of a Service Orientated Architecture, an aspect of cloud computing, has had a radical change on the way our customers access and operate Dolphin.
Today, the vast majority of customers subscribe to hosted services, whereby they access via a standard web browser connected via broadband communications.
This approach enables them to significantly reduce their IT operational overheads by outsourcing the maintenance of their travel technology - as well as benefit from state-of-the-art hardware provision and security procedures. 95% of our customers today choose hosted solutions.
Of course many of our clients work with social media very effectively and there are integration opportunities with Dolphin where this activity overlaps into Customer Relationship Management.
3) What kind of changes or trends have you observed in the distribution technology foodchain and the services you provide?
We've observed a move by our customers to a multi-GDS platform in order to access the widest range of content and most competitive prices.
As mentioned previously, our customers also increasingly want to be able to access multiple products via multiple data-sources (GDS, XML suppliers, locally stored inventory) seamlessly.
Customers are hungry therefore for travel companies to continue investing in the expansion of XML-based links to 3rd-party suppliers - so they can search multiple products and suppliers via a single sales platform.
Distribution of rail products is growing and is an area in which we will be introducing new solutions during 2011.