Amadeus with its recent strategic tie-up with Microsoft will be looking at more flexibility and committing itself to adaptability in track with changing market dynamics. Ernesto Sanchez, Managing Director, Amadeus Gulf shares with TravTalk Middle East, their plans and focus for this year at the 29th edition of the Arabian Travel Market (ATM). Renew Travel enables us to communicate to a coherent story that is adaptable to shifting market environment, and reflects the challenges that everyone who works in travel has experienced over the last few years.
What is the focus of Amadeus this year?
This year Amadeus’s focus is on Renew Travel following last year’s Rebuild Travel initiative. Renew Travel is a platform that provides Amadeus with the flexibility to adapt to changing market dynamics. It enables us to communicate to a coherent story that is adaptable to shifting market environment, and reflects the challenges that everyone who works in travel has experienced over the last few years.
As global travel returns in the wake of the ongoing pandemic, it is clear that uncertainty remains. However by focusing on ways to support the industry to become more resilient, agile, and traveller-centric, Amadeus is committed to driving the industry renewal.
We collaborated with the key industry player Microsoft to enhance the traveler experience and help facilitate the travel in a new dimension through breakthrough technologies.
Could you share about the technologies currently developed by Amadeus and Microsoft?
Amadeus’ tie-up with Microsoft last year has unlocked a plethora of opportunities that translate into value for the travel industry. The partnership includes joint innovation and product development to envision, design, and deliver cutting-edge travel solutions. We call this new dimension ‘Cloud Planet’. It will bring our tech and capabilities closer to our customers and unlock a whole new universe of possibilities.
Microsoft Azure cloud technology revolutionizes our software development cycles, data capabilities, and brings us closer to our customers. It ensures a future-proof infrastructure, with Amadeus implementing a new cloud-based cybersecurity defense system together with Microsoft. The system is based on a vision and strategy to ‘trust no one and verify everything, continuously’ according to ‘defense in-depth’ technology principles.
Another breakthrough technology Amadeus is perfecting is a ‘data mesh’ with Microsoft which is the next evolution of a data lake and the only one of its kind in the travel industry. This enables data to be processed in a secure and compliant way to understand the travel industry better. It starts with the data and how it can be used to drive better insights and outcomes. The tie-up combines the technical abilities of Amadeus with the fantastic data services Microsoft offers to enable fast, agile delivery of AI-driven outcomes that allow for an amazing understanding of the travel industry.
Another example of the development through collaboration is the Amadeus Traveller Centric Platform?
There is an opportunity for travel providers to improve their services to meet and exceed new and demanding traveller expectations. Travellers are looking for a smoother trip experience with genuine proactive personalization and trips oriented towards their particular needs, preferences and circumstances, at every step of the journey.
Amadeus Traveller Centric Platform has been developed to offer a new, collaborative way for travel providers across the industry to share customer insights, create brand new revenue streams, and at the same time, humanize the traveller experiences with more personalized and joined-up service. The Traveler Centric Platform (TCP) allows travel providers serving the same traveller share data and insights related to the journey, so they can better serve him or her at a given time.
Imagine a scenario where a hotel knows which flight the traveller is taking, and from which airport it could propose proactively a transfer to the hotel, but also depending on the time of arrival, early check-in or a direct transfer of the luggage to the hotel. This will truly contribute to customer satisfaction. Multi-party data collaboration is made possible through the open data capabilities of Microsoft Azure.
Business or corporate travellers require support than previously as the whole concept has changed post pandemic; how do you see the partnership between Amadeus and Microsoft benefitting them?
Amadeus’ move to Azure enables business travel and expense to be connected to the day-to-day digital workplace. This could not be timelier, as it allows physical meetings and digital collaboration to be planned in a way that better supports new ways of working, like the emerging hybrid digital and physical world.
We are working in collaboration with Microsoft to provide a native experience for business travelers, drastically reducing the complexity of travel planning and increasing productivity. We will also support personalization with more scope for tailored notifications for destination services or transfers. Reducing the friction involved in business travel in this way makes it easier for workers to find and book their own travel, and for groups to organize trips together, in one place, at the same time, as part of a meeting.
The public cloud makes it possible to combine Amadeus and Microsoft’s respective assets to harness data in new ways that can improve the value businesses realize from a trip. With more complete data relating to an employee’s location and the location of colleagues and contacts, a single business trip could deliver on several different objectives.
Metaverse is the hype or the current trend spoken of, do you see this being used in trav-el? If so, could you elaborate further?
Consumers are interested in making purchases of virtual goods and experiences, as per a study published by Phocuswire. Accenture surveyed 11,000 consumers across 16 countries to reveal that 64 per cent have already purchased a virtual product or enjoyed a virtual experience in the past year. The research reveals the figure is expected to rise with 83 per cent of consumers interested in making purchases via the metaverse.
It adds that 42 per cent of consumers have visited a retailer in the virtual world to seek advice, make a purchase or explore products and 56 per cent say they plan to.
And the metaverse has grabbed also the attention of the corporate world with 72 per cent of global executives believing it will have a positive impact on their organizations, while 45 per cent see it as a “breakthrough or transformational”, as per Accenture Technology Vision 2022 report.
There are also applications for people who may not be able to travel whether for health, economic or other reasons to experience destinations and providing travel companies with the ability to target them with tailored virtual services.
The metaverse is not intended to replace physical travel, but rather provide a complementary enhancement to an overarching experience. Giving the option to sit in a virtual first-class seat, experience the lounge, or walk around a hotel resort or room opens up opportunities to truly engage and inspire people before they travel.
Through ‘trying-before-you-travel,’ recreating landmarks in all their past glory, or allowing travellers to probe parts of nature that they cannot explore within real life interaction, the metaverse can help create a meaningful travel experience that delivers on or even exceeds customer expectations. A number of travel firms are already exploring the potential of virtual worlds.