Mobile Itineraries the key to merchandising for the TMC - Whitepaper


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This whitepaper will discuss how TMCs can use an integrated mobile itinerary as a platform to offer goods and services to their customers while on their trip. The paper discusses current mobile corporate travel initiatives and the role of the mobile itinerary as enabler to expand TMC services.

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Mobile Itineraries the key to merchandising for the TMC - Whitepaper

  1. 1. Mobile Itinerariesthe Key to Merchandising for the TMC Norm Rose NIIT Technologies White Paper
  2. 2. CONTENTS Introduction 3 The Purpose of this Whitepaper 3 Merchandising – Enabling 1-to-1 Marketing 3 Mobility Has Ushered in the Age of Passenger-Centric Travel Solutions 4 The Importance of the Mobile Itinerary 4 The Changing Role of the TMC 5 The TMC Merchandising Opportunity 5 Summary 6
  3. 3. TRANSPORTATION TRAVEL CARGO PACKAGING TRANSPORTATION TOUR GUIDE TRAVEL TRAVEL TRANSPORTATION CARGO CARGO LOGISTICS TRAVEL JOURNEY GUIDE TRANSPORTATION CARGO JOURNEY CARGO GUIDE LOGISTICS TRAVEL Introduction The Purpose of this Whitepaper We are in the midst of a mobile revolution. For most travelers This whitepaper will discuss how TMCs can use an integrated checking their mobile device is the first thing they do when the mobile itinerary as a platform to offer goods and services to their plane lands. With many airlines now providing in-flight Wi-Fi, we customers while on their trip. The information contained in this have truly reached a unique level of ubiquitous connectivity paper was derived from a number of sources which highlight the ushering in the era of thealways-connected traveler. Travel growth of mobile technology and merchandising. companies can no longer limit their focus on the planning, discusses current mobile corporate travel initiatives and the role of booking and ticketing of travel, but providing services the mobile itinerary as enabler to expand TMC services. The paper throughout the trip needs to become an essential part of a travel company’s offerings. smartphone, these powerful computing devices represent a new Merchandising – Enabling 1-to-1 Marketing platform to connect with the traveler on the road. Travelers not Many TMCs and corporate travel buyers are somewhat naïve With over 75% of frequent business travelers owning a only access their email on their mobile device, but through about how suppliers will use mobile technology to promote location-sensitive applications are exploring local merchant services directly to frequent travelers. With the current battle services and are in constant contact with their social network between the airlines and distributors over ancillary airline services, though mobile versions of applications such as Facebook or carriers across the global are recognizing the value of providing Twitter. This mobile social connection is essential to understand opt-in offers to travelers to expand the use of both ancillary airline as it can influence purchasing and provide a forum for unhappy services and related travel components. This mobile effort mirrors travelers to voice their concerns to a wide global audience. the overall transformation of airlines into merchandisers and travel retailers as many carriers have incorporated third party services We are also at the dawn of a new era of merchandising. such hotels, car rental and activities into their Web offering. Consumers will become accustomed to interacting with their mobile device in shopping malls managing a variety of opt-in Hoteliers are seeing the value of merchandising on-property marketing messages. This same merchandising phenomenon will services and promoting local merchants providing a mobile surface in airports and will be used by suppliers to sell ancillary concierge application to their best guests. The recently published services to frequent travelers. Considering the correlation between joint Amadeus-Forrester white paper, titled Cross-Sell Your Way to frequent business travelers and mobile deviceadoption , how can a Profit, states thatsupplier-based third-party ancillary service sales TMC use mobile technology to gain additional revenue while are expected to increase by 30% over the next five years; but the insuring the traveler complies with corporate travel policy? Can opportunity for merchandising is not limited to suppliers as the TMCs truly become merchandisers? entire value chain will be looking to expand the sale of ancillary services at every point of the travel experience. 3
  4. 4. Many TMCs view customer service as their key differentiator, but is also expanding their local offerings connected with their this advantage can no longer be confined to interaction with the already dominant mobile search position. The phenomenal call center, but must evolve to services provided to frequent growth of Groupon and Living Social has proven that business travelers while they are on their trip. TMCs are uniquely merchandising local business through group buying is a major positioned to provide policy compliant services to frequent revenue opportunity. travelers enhancing their trip and providing opportunities for additional revenue. Those TMCs that do not implement a mobile merchandising strategy will find themselves in an uncompetitive position against other TMCs and supplier efforts. In addition, providing services in route, re-positions TMCs to extend the service theme to encompass all aspects of the trip. The Importance of the Mobile Itinerary Travel companies have a unique advantage over these general market merchandising efforts by owning the travel itinerary. TripIt, recently acquired by Concur, set the standard for an integrated Mobility Has Ushered in the Age of PassengerCentric Travel Solutions Research has confirmed that frequent travelers are early adopters of new technology, especially emerging mobile technology. It is the frequent business traveler who has embraced the smartphone and itinerary that not only consolidates disparate trip elements, but provides real-time updates to frequent travelers. It is important to note that TripIt first emerged as a consumer tool, then quickly was embraced by frequent business travelers and now is part of the offering of a major software provider in the managed travel space, demonstrating how a consolidated dynamic itinerary is well suited for business travelers. is quickly embracing tablets and e-readers. With ubiquitous A key element missing from TripIt or similar itinerary tools is insuring connectivity now a reality, these travelers depend on these mobile that ancillary offers are policy compliant and approved by the devices to provide location-based, personalized and contextually corporation. Maintaining policy compliance will be increasingly relevant information instantaneously. difficult as more suppliers embrace merchandising. TMCs need to The always-connected traveler has not gone unnoticed by thetravel value chain. As suppliers become retailers, their desire to benefit from merchandising ancillary products and services is clear. implement itinerary consolidation technology that both assists the traveler with location sensitive information, but also provides a platform for policy compliant merchandising. A major driver of the American Airlines direct connection strategy is Traditional GDS Web based itineraries are no longer a sufficient around gaining additional customer insight so that the airline solution as they tend to simply publish the PNR elements. With products can be tailored to the customer needs based on overall Sabre bringing together Virtually There with TripCase, the value. Mobile marketing provides an excellent platform to extend opportunity for TMC agents to use an expanded itinerary exists, this effort directly to the traveler. Online Travel Companies (OTAs) but these tools still lack merchandising capabilities and policy have successfully launched mobile apps to provide itinerary control elements. management and extend services to their best customers. Given that all merchandising offers will need to be opt-in, the On a parallel path consumers are embracing location-based frequent traveler will decide what offers to accept and how these social networking applications such as Foursquare (with 6 million offers help them achieve their goals. The three variables that users) and Gowalla (with 1 million users) that pair check-in with dictate acceptance are: specific offers. Gowalla has specifically targeted travelers as a 1. Location- By its nature, mobile technology is location-sensitive. way to differentiate their services. With Facebook Places, the Providing an offer based on location is a core component of all over 500 million active users of this social media powerhouse merchandising efforts. now also receive customized offers delivered to the user. Google 4
  5. 5. 2 Personalization - Understanding personal preferences is a bit compliant ancillary services to increase traveler efficiency and trickier.Historically in a travel context, personal preferences have maintain control over expenses. Without this discussion, the traveler been limited to airline seat choice and loyalty information. All will decide what services and offers are valuable to their needs players in the travel value chain will need to extend this definition without the control and focus on what’s best for the corporation. to include implicit and explicit traveler preferences. Given the cornerstone of TMC offerings is service, knowledge of a business traveler’s preferences must be incorporated into any policy compliant merchandising effort. The TMC Merchandising Opportunity 3 Contextual Relevance - The difference between an offer being So how can a TMC embrace merchandising? After the gaining viewed as spam versus of one of value is all about the relevance of support from the corporate client, the TMC should identify key the message matching the specific context of the traveler. For ancillary services that could be provided as mobile offers to the example, a traveler, who is trying to navigate an unfamiliar city, may frequent traveler. A logical place to start is in the area of ground perceive a limo or taxi offer as an important value. transportation. By providing their own consolidated mobile itinerary application, the offer can be inserted into the itinerary flow based on Mobile technology provides an unprecedented platform to location and preferences. With the increased penetration of group implement the coveted “1-to1-marketing” theme embraced by in buying services such as Groupon, TMCs should explore ways to offer industry over the last 10 years. TMCs and corporate travel restaurant and other service discounts based on the volume of managers have long struggled with how best to connect with their customers traveling to that city. TMCs can provide that missing link frequent travelers, who by definition are on the road. The 1-to-1 between locally promoted services and the frequent business traveler. marketing theme can be realized even in a managed travel context Depending on the corporate policies of the client, offers could also be as long as the three variables are met. Research indicates that extended to event tickets and other local activities. This is particularly frequent business travelers would consider offers provided that the important as the leisure/travel blur expands where more travelers services meet their specific needs. combine a business trip with some vacation days often having their spouse accompany them. This transformation into a merchandiser The Changing Role of the TMC will require the TMC to re-evaluate their local presence. Allowing a TMC representative to approach a local merchant with an offer to With decreased margins and economic pressure on financial deliver business travelers in exchange for a discount and referral fee, incentives, TMCs must evolve their services to encompass the may require additional staffing or retraining of existing staff. concept of dynamic travel management. Simply put, this extends the role of the TMC to assist the corporation in managing compliance and extending services while the traveler is on the trip. TMCs need to work closely with their corporate clients facilitating a frank discussion around the emergence of general and supplier To be truly effective any TMC based merchandising solution must be fully integrated into all of the TMCs technology. Itinerary elements need to be captured from the GDS, but integration with mid-office QA and back office accounting is of equal importance. specific merchandising and the role the TMCs can play in providing 5
  6. 6. With critical information contained in these systems on policy The data can be shared with the merchants and across application compliance parameters and actual usage, an integrated solution to power the additional services to the travelers. For example, the offers the best opportunity to merchandise policy compliant offers data can be shared with the local cab companies and based on the and expand the services for the client and the revenue opportunities departure date the traveler can receive notifications. Based on the for the TMC. data the travelers can be also notified with advance notifications Steps Required to Implement a TMC Merchandising Strategy, in affecting their travel plans. order to ensure that the TMC’s can leverage the merchandising An example of a corporate travel solution already in use is ConTgo. modelcurrent systems must be ready to extend this functionality. Their Mobile Travel Assistance enablesTravel agents or corporations With TMC systems highly dependent on GD Stechnology to truly to use the Mobile Travel Assistant to promote local preferred leverage the itinerary and the data, the TMC needs to evaluate the suppliers such as taxis and restaurants, or even to arrange group strategy in a couple of steps: transport to and from the airport. The Mobile Travel Assistant • Evaluate the changes which need to be made to the Point of Sales tool. The majority of traditional TMC tools are geared to work with increases significantly the safety of corporate travelersby providing a warning to selected travelers a GDS. This includes the capturing ofnon GDS bookings aspassive segments. To ensure the merchandising option can be enabled, the connectivity to direct connectionsand suppliers need Summary to be leveraged. This should also enable the Travel Counselors to The time is now for TMCs to embrace mobile itineraries and up sell merchandising options and add commissions. Many of the merchandising. Those TMCs who continue to provide static leisure travel companies have enabled the counselors with these itineraries for their corporate travelers will quickly discover that in this tools today. era of the always connected traveler, control is in the hands of the • In order to leverage the Itinerary and TMC’s needs to build central data repository outside of GDS, which integrates front office/mid office and back office. This will enable the TMC’s to  Consolidate travel booking data individual. Without an integrated solution, travelers themselves will download apps and respond to mobile offers outside of the managed travel programs TMCs support. By being proactive with deploying a consolidated itinerary and merchandising effort, TMCs  Integrate and deliver information and services to travelers via can position themselves as an active partner in the trip itself, further mobile phone, such as itinerary details, security advice and reinforcing the value of superior service, but extending that theme travel policy reminders throughout the trip.  Undertake advanced analytical reporting of consolidated travel data 6
  7. 7. About the Author Norm Rose is President and Travel Tech Consulting, INC and is world renown for his travel technology expertise, particularly his analysis of the impact of emerging trends such mobile and social media. From 1982-1988 he held sales and marketing management positions at United Airlines and from 1989 -1995, Norm was corporate travel manager for Sun Microsystems. At Sun, he worked with a number of third-party developers creating client/server software for the business travel market. This included early prototypes of self-booking tools and expense management systems. He is also the author of numerous publications and articles including Mobile: the Next Platform for Travel (March 2009) Corporate Travel Technology Today and Tomorrow (Fall 2007); Selling Complex Leisure Travel Online: Focus on Dynamic Packaging Technology (December 2004), Emerging Trends in Wireless Technology and The Global Travel Industry (October 2003) and Corporate Travel: Technology Trends and Market Analysis (Spring 2002). About NIIT Technologies NIIT Technologies is a leading IT solutions organization, servicing customers in North America, India NIIT Technologies Ltd. Corporate Heights (Tapasya) Plot No. 5, EFGH, Sector 126 Noida-Greater Noida Expressway Noida – 201301, U.P., India Ph: + 91 120 7119100 Fax: + 91 120 7119150 Europe, Asia and Australia. It offers services in Application Development and Maintenance, Enterprise Solutions including Managed Services and Business Process Outsourcing to organisations in the Financial Services, Travel & Transportation, Manufacturing/Distribution, and Government sectors. With employees over 7,000 professionals, NIIT Technologies follows global standards of software development processes. Over the years the Company has forged extremely rewarding relationships with global majors, a Americas testimony to mutual commitment and its ability to retain marquee clients, drawing repeat NIIT Technologies Inc., 1050 Crown Pointe Parkway 5th Floor, Atlanta, GA 30338, USA Ph: +1 770 551 9494 Toll Free: +1 888 454 NIIT Fax: +1 770 551 9229 business from them. NIIT Technologies has been able to scale its interactions with marquee Europe NIIT Technologies follows global standards of development, which include ISO 9001:2000 NIIT Technologies Limited 2nd Floor, 47 Mark Lane London - EC3R 7QQ, U.K. Ph: +44 20 70020700 Fax: +44 20 70020701 Certification, assessment at Level 5 for SEI-CMMi version 1.2 and ISO 27001 information clients in the BFSI sector, the Travel Transport & Logistics and Manufacturing & Distribution, into extremely meaningful, multi-year "collaborations. security management certification. Its data centre operations are assessed at the international ISO 20000IT management standards. Singapore NIIT Technologies Pte. Limited 31 Kaki Bukit Road 3 #05-13 Techlink Singapore 417818 Ph: +65 68488300 Fax: +65 68488322 Write to us at D_29_290113 A global IT sourcing organization | 21 locations and 16 countries | 7000+ professionals | Level 5 of SEI-CMMi, ver1.2 ISO 27001 certified | Level 5 of People CMM Framework