George Dumitru was invited at Travolution Summit to talk about the challenges of travel distribution
Travolution European Summit is organized on an early base by Travel Weekly Group as part of Jacobs Media Group. This year’s Travolution European Summit was hosted as a virtual event at the beginning of October and has approached sensitive but insightful topics for all professionals that are looking at the RESTART of the travel sector.
The 2020 edition of the Summit offered a series of expert panels, presentations, exec interviews and keynotes around three key concepts:
- Reset – what does the re-imagining of your business look like in a world changed forever by the coronavirus pandemic?
- Reboot – what tech, applied in what areas must you focus on to make sure all systems are going to ensure you thrive in the future?
- Restart – Now you are back in the race, how do you make sure you get off the grid ahead of your rivals as travel gets back on track?
Mr. George Dumitru, wbe.travel’s Co-Founder alongside Hugh Aitken, Vice President Commercial, Skyscanner and James Clarke, General Manager UK, Travelzoo were invited on the first day of the event to debate about “The shifting sands of travel distribution post COVID-19”. The panel was moderated by Travolution’s senior B2B journalist, editor and brand ambassador – Lee Hayhurst.
The travel sector has always been a complex interplay between players that compete and cooperate for the attention of customers, often at the same time. This session focused on how the coronavirus pandemic will change the dynamic between supplier and intermediary. Will we see a renewed sense of collaboration, or will the battle for customers drive more aggressive direct sell tactics?
When asked about what are the customers asking from wbe.travel as a travel technology company during this time, George Dumitru replied:
“First of all everything has to be done through technology now, basically tech is a must, now more than ever. Now going back to the current status we can all see that international travel is still quite low, business travel is the same and now customers prefer domestic and regional travel so definitely, the travel companies have to adapt the product offering to this new demand. The travel companies need to find the right partners for distribution and connectivity and all of this is done via technology. So the actual interest for technology has grown during the last months but it’s not just the demand for any tech but rather for rapid implementation of it.
From the tech provider perspective, we can say that the purchasing cycle has to be lower than before because the travel firms really need to adapt to the new reality fast and efficiently. Moreover, there is a lot of uncertainty in the travel sector and travel firms now seek for subscription models rather than fixed costs, heavy and overpriced installations.
This reality challenged the travel tech sector quite a bit since there are big players in the market that are used to working with an enterprise type product and not with a cloud-based system. The enterprise solutions, with on-premises installation, have a large time to market that is no longer acceptable for a travel company nowadays. The tech companies have to adapt as well, to somehow downscale or at least change the way of working transfer the systems into the cloud as soon as possible, or to reinvent the much-needed subscription model.
The tech partners of the travel company have to be in line with their business changes, to add a dynamic component in pricing to accommodate the ups and downs in demand. In this case, we can easily talk about a “Pay as you GROW” solution, to simply pay more when your travel business is up and running well and pay less when the company doesn’t receive enough bookings. “
This move to Software as a Service (SaaS) in the cloud has been here before COVID-19 but the current situation is going to simply accelerate the need for it. The next key will be to make sure that you’ve got the agility in terms of distribution and you can quickly and easily switch models in a very uncertain time, exactly when the market changes.
“The distribution companies need to ensure that they add “safe to travel” labels to their products and again, to have the proper technology to add that in the distribution data and to finally put it on the screen of the end-user – the traveler. “
Discover more insights from the session by clicking the video below:
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