Head in the cloud: The future of travel tech

Head in the cloud: The future of travel tech

In a new regular feature, Elliot Pritchard, head of online marketing at Travel Republic, gives his take on the future on technology within the industry.

The London Internet Exchange recently revealed that traffic over its network had increased sevenfold in five years.

But still the consumer wants more and want it faster, especially given the myriad services being streamed to our desktops, laptops, tablets, TVs and mobile phones. No wonder the EC is targeting 30Mb broadband access for all households by 2020.

Over the past five years, the quickening pace of technological change has been driven by companies such as Apple, which spends less than 3% of revenue on R&D but has innovation baked into everything it does.

For pure-play internet firms, being agile is an essential ingredient for success. Look at Google, which embodies the principle of launch early and iterate, or Facebook, which runs both weekly and daily release cycles.

Market analyst Ovum suggests that even governments should adapt their IT strategy in times of austerity to use a combination of cloud computing, data analytics and agile development.

Amazon is a prime example in this field. Not only does it offer cloud-based storage, services and a content delivery network but it will also be pre-caching commonly visited websites in the cloud for users of its new Kindle Fire tablet.

McKinsey found in a December 2010 study that “web technologies can underwrite a more agile organisation” and that networked organisations are significantly correlated with gains in market share. In a changing and competitive landscape, efficiency and speed to market are key to growth. The aforementioned internet firms have a common goal: to make sure that their users are active, satisfied and completing their key tasks online.

It’s a goal that we share. At Travel Republic, innovation and inhouse technology has been key to the company’s continued growth. We are fast-moving, IT-focused and on a constant recruitment drive to expand our team of talented developers.

Multi-channel travel businesses face an additional challenge: online has to be seamlessly integrated with other distribution channels without sacrificing its agility. What will travel websites look like in the future? They need to provide a research and booking journey that is engaging and transferable across devices. It’s interesting to see the new BBC beta homepage: it functions as a desktop site but looks like it was designed for the iPad.

Mobile websites are generally optimised for speed and simplicity, and that’s a good principle to apply across all channels. I’m reminded of a quote: “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most adaptable to change.”

Elliott’s tips:

  • Development agility is crucial for online players
  • Networked organisations gain market share
  • Speed and simplicity should be applied to all channels
  • Online users must be made to feel active and satisfied
  • Online must integrate with other distribution channels

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