TTE: Recession has driven investment in technology, says Amadeus

The downturn has forced travel companies to reassess their technological requirements and invest in new systems to allow them to operate more efficiently.

Tim Russell, managing director of Amadeus UK and Ireland, said those companies who have grasped the opportunities during the recession will come out of it in a stronger position.

Travel Technology EuropeRussell was speaking at the start of the Business Travel Show at London’s Earl’s Court, where he said he hoped there would be signs of a recovery in corporate travel.

“I think things appear to be getting better. We measure booking activity more than anything and certainly looking at the number of transactions it looks like it’s in a period of recovery,” he said.

“From a technology perspective the great thing that has happened is the downturn has made people focus on what technology can do for their business as well as for their consumers.

“That’s been the major outcome of this recession. This cloud very much has a silver lining for Amadeus.”

Although Amadeus has invested in improved video conferencing technology Russell said it still recognised that travelling and doing business face to face was fundamental.

The downturn has seen a lot of smaller corporates and individual travellers have moved their business to online agencies, he added.

Amadeus was showcasing its e-travel management system at the show as well as its mobile solutions which allow corporates to track and keep in touch with their employees while abroad.

Its Ticket Changer technology, launched with 50 airlines in the final quarter of last year and now being offered online, was also on show.

The system allows agents to alter tickets online without incurring ADM (Agency Debit Memos) for applying the wrong fare.

Amadeus claims alternative systems offered by rivals include far fewer airlines. “ADMs are a big issue for agents so anything that reduces their risk is welcome,” Russell said.

“Agents are extremely nervous about this. If they have a large number of ADMs they can find themselves in terrible trouble, so tools like this are extremely important.”

The technology also makes the often laborious process of changing a ticket easier, cutting out the need for the traveller to join long queues at the airport.

This has become and more and more important as business travellers look to reduce costs by flying on the increasing number of restricted fares airlines offer rather than on full flexible tickets.

“The poor agent finds themselves caught in the middle. It used to be that you could change a ticket easily, now you need a degree,” Russell said.

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