Thursday, March 13, 2008

Future of hospitality?

Amadeus has released a 24-page white paper which modestly claims to be ‘a blue print for the future of the hospitality industry’.

[We covered a snippet of it here]

Delve into the full report and you get a breakdown of the short, medium and long-term drivers, ranked in order of importance according to its impressive ‘panel of thought leaders’.

‘New technologies’ are ranked second in all three timeframes, suggesting that this vast area will continue to dominate hoteliers’ thinking for some years to come.

Interestingly, new technologies are distinct from Web2.0, of which Amadeus says: ‘Web 2.0 is high up the agenda today but in the medium- to long-term will not be an issue. This is presumably because businesses think they will be able to adapt to its demands in the not too distant future.’

Mobile isn’t that new a technology, but it is starting to make its presence felt in travel, recovering from the debacle that was WAP. Mobile Travel Technologies’ founder and CEO Gerry Samuels recent presentation at PhoCusWright @ ITB showed how one-in-ten mobile phone owners are using their devices for travel-related services. And with more mobiles coming into use very day – particularly in emerging markets - this cannot but be a massive part of travel moving forward.

Amadeus quotes Henry Harteveldt from US research outfit Forrester. His take is that that mobile devices will have to support a number of activities in the future, including coupons or vouchers, SMS short codes for push and pull marketing campaigns, mobile search marketing, mobile advertising and proximity based marketing.

He’s been spot on before – he talked about OTAs making money from eyeballs rather than transactions at HEDNA’s 2005 conference in San Francisco. Cue today’s ‘media model’ discussions.

So where exactly is Amadeus going with mobiles? No clues in the report, other than the observation that ‘The technology platforms used by hospitality companies must support and enable all user interfaces, from phone to fax to PC to PDA to mobile.’

One final thought – in 2008, what’s a fax?

[The full report is available via a link on the press release]

Martin Cowen, chief writer, Travolution.

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