Travel Booking Tool Goes Gaming

Wondering where “gamification” will show up in your travel program?  Have a look at SERKO’s  self-booking tool for a peek at the future:

Darrin Grafton, SERKO’s CEO, designed his booking tool’s behavior reward module to Continue reading

Bom Dia, Brazil!

Travel truly is priceless.  How else can you get such a clear view of places, of people?  I’m back from the LACCTE travel conference in Sao Paulo with fresh understandings about managed travel in Latin America Brazil – and implications for us Norte Americanos.

Lesson Number One – don’t confuse Brazil and “Latin America”.  One is a country, the other Continue reading

TIILTS: Better Travel Data Reporting

Quick, now – what’s the biggest innovation in travel data reporting over the last ten years?

  • Dashboards or Balanced Scorecards?  Those trace back to 1987.
  • Web-based travel reports?  Gotta be 15 years old, at least.
  • Comparative price benchmarking? 15 years old, minimum.
  • Travel program benchmarking done online?7 years old.
  • “One number score”, aka batting average? 5 years old.

My point? Corporate travel managers need a new generation of travel data tools.  I’m not selling anything.  But I can see the numbers on the wall, at least in terms of what’s needed. Here goes:

Core Value: is Descriptive, should be Prescriptive Continue reading

TIILTS: Making Traveler Profiles Social

Wouldn’t it be nice to have an easy way for updating your traveler profile?  Regardless of which travel agencies, online sites or airlines you use?  A place where any travel supplier could – with your permission – access your most current profile data and use it as needed?

Hello, Facebook!  Why not hang a module on Facebook where you could Continue reading

TIILTS: Policy Points for Good Self-Bookings

TIILTS stands for Travel Innovations I’d Like To See.  You’ll see quite a few more of these in the weeks to come. This first one deals with corporate self-booking tools.

There’s a trend toward empowering corporate travelers when it comes to making their travel arrangements. Why not swim with this tide? Why not create a positive reward, rather than a negative consequence, for travelers who are about to pull the trigger on a travel purchase?

I’d like to see companies reward travelers for doing the right things. Before you say “No way – employees are expected to do that in the first, middle and last place!”, take a breath and hear me out.

What is one of the biggest obstacles to travel policy compliance? You got it – Frequent Flyer Points.  These loyalty schemes work really well, so why not take a page from the suppliers and put the concept to work for you buyers?

Here’s a mock-up of what a points-driven self-booking tool might look like (click on the image for a better view):

The keys are that the traveler gets very clear reinforcement of the desired booking behavior, the reward associated with it,  his current status, and what it takes to get to the next level.  There are lots of variations on this, but you  get the idea – a way-easy element to build right into the point of sale when – and where –  it matters most. Continue reading

“CouldYou” a Clever Innovation from a TMC

Short’s Travel, a mid-west, mid-tier travel management company, proves that TMCs can indeed innovate.

The problem: Travelers first set meeting dates, then find itineraries to fit the meeting.  Short’s noticed that the airfares were often lower on near-by dates for the exact same flights, Continue reading

Tacos: Inspiration for Travel Innovation

There’s no single right way to innovate, but a flash of creative genius never hurts.  You know you’ve found a truly great solution when your customers cry “My God, why didn’t I think of that?!!”

That’s exactly what I said when I saw this video:

If you’re a fan of Mexican food, like me, you know the problem – tacos fall over.  An irritating and extremely common problem. One faced by what, a few hundred million consumers of crispy-shell tacos over the last few decades? That’s a pretty long time to put up with an in-your-face problem, no? Continue reading

Catching Up at NBTA?

If you’re going to NBTA’s Convention in Houston next week, and you’d like to catch up – let me know!  I’ll arrive on Saturday afternoon, and leave on Wednesday afternoon.  No firm plans yet for dinner on Sunday or Monday, but a few of us are thinking about Tex-Mex on one of those nights…if that sounds good, you’re invited – the more, the merrier!

Here are a few things I’m planning to check out at the Trade Show: Continue reading

Video Conferencing: What Role for Travel Managers?

You’ve all seen the pressure to reduce travel costs, and the corresponding interest in video conferencing.  The question I’m wrestling with is this:  Where does the travel manager fit in with the effort to cut travel via virtual meetings?

Several of us will pick this issue up in a session* at the NBTA Convention next month.  Meanwhile, here are my early views – subject to change with your feedback. Continue reading

Google – the Ultimate Direct Connect Platform?

Let’s connect some dots.

Dot 1: Google is in a quandary. It needs to enter big markets with high growth opportunities.
Dot 2: Google likes the travel industry. I’ve heard estimates that about 10% of its revenues are attributable to travel.
Dot 3: There’s a big travel-related search market that Google hasn’t cracked. It sits behind the walls of the GDSs.
Dot 4: ITA Software has deep expertise in airline pricing, shopping and availability searches. ITA powers Continue reading