Four Seasons Discuss Direction of
|New York (February 22, 2005) - Ultramar Travel Management, Inc. hosted
a roundtable, "Defending Your Travel Choice," where the industry's leaders
gathered to discuss the future of travel technology.
With the travel industry undergoing a period of extreme, critical change, new developments occur literally every day. In order to cut through the confusion, Ultramar brought together an unprecedented gathering of industry leaders to reveal their views on the challenges of 2005.
"We wanted to offer everyone the opportunity to hear straight from the people who are directly affected by the industry's turbulence," said Peter Klebanow, President of Ultramar Travel Management. "It is important for all parties to understand the threats and opportunities in the industry's immediate future, and I am pleased that Ultramar was able to offer a platform for such an excellent, enlightening discussion," said Klebanow.
The industry panel included:
Debate focused on the impact of fragmentation of content and biased displays on the online booking systems and how each player involved is coping amongst this chaos.
Additional top issues of the day included:
Several on the panel stated their belief that the traditional GDSs will emerge the winners as they evolve their models and simplify their processes, for they possess the speed, efficiency, and significantly greater number of connections compared to the new entrants. The new competing technologies -- alternate or backdoor GDSs -- pose no true threat. Rather, the most important factor in travel technology today is the economic model.
"There's no magic in the new entrants," said Sabre's Greg Webb. "...right now, it's an economic discussion around how [and] what the correct value is for the services that are provided. And so...for our next generation of supplier contracts... we look at what's the right economic model to begin to work in the industry."
"I think that what we [will] find is that we will push back toward an efficient marketplace and we will push back towards a place where we get into a mode where both suppliers are happy with the way that the model works and that GDSs and other travel management companies or agencies are able to provide the service that the traveling public has come to expect," said Webb.
All panelists agreed that further discussion and collaboration between vendors was essential to the future of business travel, as lowering costs and increasing efficiencies across the industry is critical to pleasing the corporate customer.
"We're evaluating everything and anything that's going to help us lower distribution cost. Whether it be through the GDSs, or through some of the newer technologies, we're evaluating what it all means to our corporate customers, our travel agency partners, and to our end-users, the traveler," said American Airlines' Chuck Imhof.
The panelist discussion clearly revealed that the travel distribution situation and its future are not black and white: new technology will not necessarily simply replace old technology.
"At the end of the day, it's more of a financial challenge than a technology challenge, and the vendors should therefore focus on the bottom line, not just on changing technology. There needs to be a concerted effort by all parties to work together to lower the costs of distribution for the airlines - and ultimately the end user," said Peter Klebanow, President of Ultramar Travel Management.
Ultramar Travel Management, Inc.
|Also See:||Hilton's Customer-information System, Called OnQ, Rolling Out Across 8 Hotel Brands; Seeking Guest Loyalty and Competitive Advantage with Proprietary Technology / August 2004|
|Global Distribution Systems in Present Times - Four Major GDS Systems; Amadeus, Galileo, Sabre, Worldspan / Oct 2002|