Category Archives: Travel

3 Steps To Identify Most Appropriate Travel Technology Solution For Your Business

Over the last 10 years, the travel business scenario has changed significantly. Today selling travel products is all about ‘best’ rates. To sustain in the battle to offer the ‘best deal’ and ‘best fare’ to the consumers, travel business owners have been forced to reduce almost all of their possible profit margins.

I still remember when a service fee of $6 was a norm across online sales of air tickets. Commissions and contracts were available to travel agents. Cancellation fee on hotels were healthy.

The emergence of large online travel agencies changed the rules of the business across the globe. Fuel prices and global economic conditions added to the challenges of earning healthy margins. Travel became the most competitive business. Commissions dried up. Segment fees reduced and “no fee” became the new best seller.

On the Travel Technology side, along with successful implementations, I have heard stories of many failures where travel businesses were not able to derive what they wanted from technology. Most of the time the key reasons for failure has been:

Over ambitious technology goal on a constrained budget Lack of ‘competitive’ Travel Technology expertise Poor IT team and management, suffering from ‘over promise’ and ‘under deliver’ In this ecosystem, how could a travel business set about defining an effective Technology Strategy for itself?

As a travel technologist, I have many motivations to say “buy my software”, but in my experience that’s not a good pitch. After carefully analyzing various successes and failures in the industry, here is what I feel I have learned:

Step 1: Identify what Travel Technology you need

Well, it is easier said than done. Most of the time not articulating the technology needs well is the biggest hurdle in Technology Strategy. As a travel business, here is what you could do to clearly articulate the need for technology.

Pen down the technology needs of the organization as envisioned by the business owner / key management personnel Consult with people external to the organization such as technology consultants, Travel Technology companies, GDS account managers, CRS / Suppliers and Travel Technology bloggers Let a technology company interview you and recommend a solution. This is generally free most of the times. Pursuing one or more of these three exercises diligently will build enough knowledge base about what your internal Technology Strategy should be. Identify and validate these thoughts with inputs from internal operations and marketing teams.

Step 2: Build vs. Buy?

This is considered the most complex question. The answer lies in dividing Travel Technology needs in three buckets.



Out of the Box

What is proprietary?

It is important to identify your differentiator as a travel business. Most of the time, proprietary defines a piece of technology which reduces OPEX corresponding to your business operations or is the biggest revenue generator corresponding to your business model.

What is a customized need?

Is there any part of your technology needs that could be sourced through an existing technology solution, customized per your need?

What can be out of the box?

This might be the most effort intensive part of your technology needs and may require a tremendous investment to build. Getting an out of the box solution that meets the majority of your requirements and configuring it as per your needs, is the ideal way. How to evaluate an out of the box solution is in itself a comprehensive process.

Now we come to the next complex part of this exercise.

Step 3: Identify the right budget and vendor

Identifying the right budget and the vendor is the most common shopping problem in every business sector. It takes a lot of time and energy to reach to a decision.

Let’s compare technology acquisition to the decision of buying a laptop. There are many vendors to choose from. There are laptops priced from $300 to $3000. Your decision to buy would be shaped by the life of the laptop, and the continuity of business (your work) it will guarantee.

Similarly, the continuity of your travel business would significantly depend on the Travel Technology you choose. That is why identifying the right budget, and the vendor is a complex decision.

I would attempt to breakdown the process of identifying a vendor into simpler steps since just asking a vendor for a quote would not necessarily help find the right one.

Expertise – Does the vendor has expertise in the travel business?

Support & Servicing – Travel is a service business. Irrespective of whether the product is ‘off the shelf’ or is being built for you, longevity and promptness of support is critically important to maintain a personalized quality of service to your customers.

Customization needed vs. Customizability -What is the future customizability of the software? (Applicable to both out of the box or custom built software) Whether customization done today decrease future cost of changing the technology? This is an important question to ask and seek answers to.

Value Add – Another important evaluation parameter for selecting a vendor is to check what part /component of the software is available free of cost and would remain so in the future.

Stability – Your guarantee of service to your customers depends on the stability of your vendor. It is important to seek answers to questions such as is the vendor going to be in business for long? How are you safeguarded if a vendor goes out of business?

References – Who are the customers of the vendor? Can the vendor provide references?

Maturity – Is the vendor’s organization a product oriented and innovation driven institution or do they survive by making money from one gig to another?

Empathy – Does the vendor considers your business as their own? How willing is the vendor to empathize with your business challenges?

Budgeting for technology is also a little challenging. It may be worthwhile to look beyond the onetime fee and understand all cost factors, including the cost of extended support the vendor may provide during your business life-cycle.

Cost should also include additional overheads of implementing technology, especially when you are dealing with GDS or CRS / Consolidators. Budgeting done in partnership with a selected vendor often yields the best results.

I have attempted to lay out a model that would help travel businesses shape their Technology Strategy.

As always, I would happy to hear your experiences and views.

Buying A Travel Coffee Mug – Easy Tips To Help Find Your Perfect Mug Online

If you are travelling you simply need to own a travel coffee mug as it’s very useful. You can take it with you to work. No more need to rush your coffee while it’s still warm, you can finally take your time. Not just for work but a travel coffee mug can be used for traveling anywhere. There may come a time when you’re travelling and you need a drink but you’re too far away from the shops or your home.

Definitely having travel mug will benefit you and your family, if you’re feeling cold then a nice hot cup of coffee will do the job of making you warm and will provide a great taste. There are many excellent online sites that provide different travel mugs.

Don’t worry about the cost; online websites are very safe to order from. Buying a travel coffee mug online is also much cheaper than buying in retail stores. From time to time, you can also find great discounts and bargains. Paying for your travel coffee mug through the internet is very easy and secure.

They also have many different ways of paying, making it quick and easy to order your travel coffee mug. Even with delivery, there are usually a number of options and you can even get it delivered to your door the very next day. Some online sites will even offer you free shipping, some sites though; you may need to spend a certain amount to qualify.

So browsing a few sites, you will quickly come across a few favourites you like. Before you buy your travel mug make sure you check out the features such as temperature, is it spill proof? Check the easiness of use while you are driving and also opening and closing. And also are they easy to clean. An excellent temperature travel mug would be a vacuum mug which is up there with stainless steel and other top mugs.

This type of coffee mug could keep your coffee warm for 4 to 8 hours and even longer. Choose a travel mug that won’t spill easy. This will stop any spillages in your car or in your lap. Definitely make sure it doesn’t spill when driving and drinking your coffee. A good travel mug must also be easy to hold, maintain and carry.

Another good one would be can you open it with one hand, extremely useful while driving. Therefore you can drink your favourite coffee while driving. Finding out some of the travel coffee mug features is really easy, just checkout the products and read the customer reviews which will help you tremendously. If you see comments that are negative and positive then usually these are real comments left by genuine customers.

I would do some research if you’re not sure, check out who the company is before you purchase, or choose a site you are familiar with like amazon who provides many different travel coffee mugs.

If you find a travel coffee mug that you love, it may be worthwhile purchasing a few of them. Maybe leave one at work, in your car and at a friend’s house. So you will always have the chance to fill it with your favourite beverages.

So there you have some of my best tips when choosing a travel coffee mug that will keep your drink warm for much longer by keeping it well insulated, and weather you choose a stainless or ceramic one you will always get a beverage that’s delicious.