Hayes and Jarvis is poised to unveil a revamped consumer website which is said to herald a new dynamic era for tour operators and is the first outward sign of the impact of German software giant Peakwork’s influence in the UK.
Visitors to the Tui Travel-owned specialist tour operator will be the first in the UK to experience the influence of Peakwork’s high performance caching system already being used by major players in the German market including Tui, Thomas Cook and Lufthansa. The new site has gone live today (Tuesday), according to Peakwork chief executive Ralf Usbeck.
Having picked up a World Travel Market Global Award for innovation in travel yesterday, Usbeck told Travolution that Peakwork had been developed to offer legacy operators a way of becoming as quick and as flexible as the online rivals which have sprung up in the age of dynamic packaging.
“With this you can develop the future of front ends,” he said. “Our technology sits in front of your legacy system and is able to handle millions of queries and also broad searches and can collect air fares and hotel prices and package them in sub-seconds.”
Usbeck said modern devices mean customers expect to be able to quickly filter results with a sweep of a finger on a touchscreen, so the systems behind it must be fast and fluid. Usbeck said the technology promises a minority report-style future with travel options being changed and compared instantly with just a hand gesture.
The Peakwork cache sits on top of existing systems, allowing firms to load their content into a ‘hub’ – this can then be interrogated by any number of ‘players’ all speaking Peakwork’s EDF data format.
One of the key benefits of the system is that operators do not have to hand over their data to Peakwork, an issue which Usbeck’s previous firm Traveltainment came up against when it tried to expand outside of Germany after being bought by Amadeus.
Usbeck said travel firms have to find a way of coping with an exponential rise in internet activity due to the explosion in mobile and broadband penetration which is putting old legacy systems under increasing strain.
“Traffic will grow and all suppliers have the same problem – their legacy systems are not designed to handle this amount of traffic. When you look at airline and tour operator systems they all have this problem.”
Usbeck said although traditionally contracted tour operating product will continue to be important, dynamic production, allowing combinations to be put together on the fly, will come to dominate. He estimated that this form of tour operating will come to represent 80% of the market.
“Hayes and Jarvis will go live with a completely dynamic platform. They load millions of flights into the system, thousands of contracts and you will get an answer in milliseconds. This is maybe not the end of traditional tour operating but the ratio will turn.”
Meike Fleck, digital director for Hayes and Jarvis’s parent Specialist Holidays Group, said she was delighted with the new site.
“The browsing and searching experience that our new web platform provides puts us at the cutting edge of digital technology within the travel industry and it comes at a pivotal time of year as we come into peak.
“Excellence in customer experience is at the heart of what we do and the new functionality of hayesandjarvis.co.uk means it’s easier to find the right holiday for you – not only for our direct customers, but our trade partners too.”