Posted by Rob Sinclair-Barnes (Marketing Director, Amadeus UK & Ireland)
The travel experience doesn’t begin when a passenger steps aboard a plane or ship. It doesn’t even begin when a traveller walks into a travel agency or calls a hotel specialist or logs on to a website to book an itinerary. It begins in the mind; in that nebulous place where dreams are conceived and born as thoughts and desires that motivate people to act.
When we consider that the travel experience begins long before the traveller takes a first step on a journey, it becomes easier to comprehend the link between Amadeus’ award winning smarter search technology and the intermediaries and providers that fulfil the traveller’s wishes. As the leading investor in Research & Development in the travel industry in Europe1, Amadeus has been investing in pre-trip planning tools that pioneer a new way of approaching travel – one that is more closely aligned to the natural way humans think.
For example, have you ever found yourself in need of a little inspiration and wondering, ‘Where can I go for £500 this weekend to take in some authentic history and culture but also enjoy a vibrant nightlife?’ It is an approach that’s far removed from the tediously restrictive search criteria demanding travellers have all the answers before they even begin. Typically, when researching costs and options consumers face a barrage of questions designed to fulfil strict parameters concerning destination, date, duration and budget. This is a process-centred approach to travel sales.
This leads to the question: Is this the best travel experience we can provide, especially considering that travel sellers (agents and providers) need to better service the traveller journey from choice to decision? Imagine the freedom for travellers of approaching travel planning with just one – or possibly not even a single one of those typical search parameters. Using technology built on Amadeus’ massive computational platform, it is now possible to begin the travel experience in a way that truly inspires. Without doubt, travel planning is an important starting point in the overall travel experience. It is a vital element to get right but it is only just the beginning.
After the thinking, planning and booking comes the physical act of travelling: what everyone hopes to be that exciting, uplifting, joie de vivre experience that touches the core of our humanity. In order to meet the promise of travel, companies must understand the needs and demands of today’s travellers. The best travel companies are those that not only meet explicitly stated needs, but those that seek to anticipate and delight the 21st century traveller by going beyond expectations. Few industries have the opportunity to turn dreams into realities, but that is what the best travel companies are doing day after day.