Thursday, February 14, 2008

Don’t wait around when it comes to technology take-up

Our latest column in Travel Weekly:

What does an exhibition showcasing the best technology the industry can muster prove to the rest of the sector?

Well, many things, it would appear – especially if you were privy to some of the conversations we had with people at last week’s Travel Technology Show in London.

The simple answer is that the sheer number of products being launched or upgraded indicates that demand for the latest kit is higher than ever before.

Suppliers, operators and – perhaps worryingly for them – independent agents are feeling they need to be faster and more efficient with their back-end technology to match the requirements of consumers and/ or other systems.

This poses a problem for many companies, as technology often doesn’t come cheap.

The dilemma for those that oversee the technology infrastructure at many firms will be: should we invest now in order to steal a march on our rivals or wait for the next wave of improvements?

We would suggest the first approach is the best way forward. The rate of change in the industry is too rapid for executives to sit idly by and hope for some kind of respite from what is essentially natural – if rather frustrating – evolution.

A worry for some with this apparent ‘newness’ everywhere is that small or independent companies might struggle to keep up with the investment being made elsewhere.

Unfortunately there is no easy answer to this particular part of the issue.

Investment in IT systems is just as important now as it was when automatic and online distribution first reared its efficient, yet irritatingly, complicated head.

It seems for many we spoke to last week, that some sacrifices will have to be made elsewhere in a business in order to address these fundamental issues affecting the industry.

Kevin May, editor, Travolution

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