We in the travel business spend a lot of time talking about the ways technology is disrupting our industry. Indeed, the headliners for disruption these days – the rise of the sharing economy, user generated content (hotel reviews and the like), the Cloud and mobility – are almost entirely enabled by technology. It’s empowered these disrupters to tap into a seemingly deep-seated and longstanding traveler dissatisfaction with the way some travel services are delivered.

Of course, at the top of that list is Uber. Some recent research into consumer sentiment about the ride sharing service reveals that in cities where it’s available, Uber accounts for 28 percent more rides than dispatched taxis. And those numbers show no signs of diminishing in the near future; the poll found that 76 percent of users intend to increase their usage in the next two years.

In another sign of what may lie ahead for ride sharing – and perhaps the wider sharing economy – 37 percent of non-Uber users said they would try the service if Uber were to become regulated.

Ride sharing comes at the expense of other modes of transportation. The online survey of 1,000 adults in Toronto, Chicago, Dallas, Montreal, Seattle and Edmonton, found that Uber riders used public transit 21 percent less and taxi services 56 percent less now that Uber’s on the scene.
“Uber is currently doing to the traditional taxi model what Expedia did to travel agents and Amazon did to the vast majority of bookstores," says Mark Satov, founder of Toronto-based SATOV Consultants, which conducted the research. “Uber has grown its market share faster than anything we’ve ever seen and completely destabilized incumbents.”

Air Travel

More Than Travel
Travel is an industry that seems tailor-made for this kind of technology-driven destabilization. After all, if you’ve got a new widget that gets them there faster, cheaper and/or more conveniently, today’s early-adopter, always-on, fingertip-ready, network-connected travelers are prime candidates.

Consider for a moment the findings of the 2015 Global Technology Innovation survey by KPMG, the audit, tax and advisory firm. In this year’s survey 41 percent of US technology business leaders said it is likely or very likely that digital currencies will disrupt the banking and payments sector in the next three years. That’s compared to only 15 percent who felt that way last year. But travel doesn’t take place in a corporate vacuum. The same spearhead of technology that’s creating a different kind of travel experience is also disrupting virtually every other area of business. So what’s waiting in the wings to bring about massive change, not just in the way your company does business, but in the nature of that business itself?

According to KPMG, the technologies that will be most disruptive in the consumer sector are likely to vary by region and market. Among the 832 technology business leaders polled, 15 percent in China ranked artificial intelligence /cognitive computing first, tied with Cloud. In the US 15 percent placed ranked disruptions in biotech/digital healthcare/healthcare IT at the top, while in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, 12 percent of respondents ranked 3-D printing first.

However topping the list of disrupters for enterprises, tech leaders in both China and EMEA ranked the Internet of Things (IoT) either ahead of or equal to Cloud as the disruptive technology that is expected to have the greatest impact on driving business transformation in the next three years. Among US tech business leaders, data and analytics and Cloud were ranked having the most impact during the next few years.

“This year’s findings mark a milestone as some emerging technologies enabled by Cloud and mobile are now top strategic priorities and enablers in their own right,” said Gary Matuszak global chair of KPMG’s Technology, Media and Telecommunications practice. “The most successful businesses will be those that can most effectively apply multiple emerging technologies together and integrate them with people to address challenges and opportunities.”

As profound as these disruptions are likely to be for business, there are larger forces at work in the wider society. In another analysis of the impact of disruptive technologies from Frost & Sullivan, a number of “megatrends” are identified. These trends will have a powerful impact on how people work and live, made even more potent when they intersect; for example, speculates the Frost & Sullivan study, what happens when urban centers become more connected, and how do densely populated urban areas affect commuting patterns?  

From this ‘new normal,’ companies must chart their own long-term course, according to Frost & Sullivan. As the report states: “The challenge for business today is to exist within the crucial turning point of 2015 and prepare their businesses to thrive in 2025 and beyond.”

Wyndham Joins TripAdvisor’s Instant Booking Platform
The Wyndham Hotel Group and TripAdvisor have extended their partnership to add the hotel group’s inventory to the TripAdvisor instant booking platform starting this fall. Hotels available through TripAdvisor’s instant booking platform feature a “Book Here” button, which allows users to conveniently complete their reservation. The transaction and customer care are provided by Wyndham Hotel Group’s own customer care team.

The TripAdvisor instant booking platform is now available to all US and UK users on desktop and mobile with other international markets to follow.

Android 6 Users Can Now Access Boingo Passpoint Hotspots
Boingo Wireless, the DAS and WiFi provider, has announced that the company’s roaming network of more than 100,000 “Passpoint Secure” hotspots is now available for the first time to subscribers using select Android devices running Android 6.0 “Marshmallow,” the new version of Google’s operating system.

Boingo subscribers with Passpoint credentials can connect instantly with no network logins and passwords required, streamlining the transition between WiFi and cellular networks. Passpoint-enabled hotspots feature WPA2 enterprise-grade encryption technology, for enhanced security.
Subscribers using select Android 6.0 devices can now access “Passpoint Secure” networks at more than 25 airports in the US, including Chicago’s O’Hare International, Los Angeles International, and New York John F. Kennedy, LaGuardia and Newark Liberty International airports.

Subscribers on applicable Android devices can download their Passpoint profile at https://passpoint.boingo.com

Eved Introduces an Event Payment Solution
Eved, an event commerce company, has launched EvedPay, a payment solution designed to automate the back-end financial and reconciliation processes for events. The new offering includes all the invoice-to-pay capabilities from the company’s full platform solution, Eved for Corporate.
EvedPay is designed to integrate with existing financial back-end systems to capture granular event spend data and streamline payment-related functions, areas that may fall outside traditional category management practices. Other features include automated reconciliation with three-way budget/invoice/payment matching, built-in real-time budget tracking and supplier compliance with verified W8, W9 & MSA forms.

Hilton Adds EV Charging Stations
Hilton Worldwide is rolling out a major electric vehicle (EV) charging program, covering all types of electric vehicles, including Teslas. The new charging stations which will be available at 50 US hotels by the end of this year with plans to rapidly expand to 100 US hotels by the end of 2016.

Electric vehicle owners will be able to find multiple Hilton properties from New York to Los Angeles to accommodate their charging needs. As part of the charging program, Hilton hotel owners can receive free charging equipment, with the only associated cost being installation and electricity usage.

“By teaming with leading organizations like Tesla and GE to add more electric vehicle charging stations, we’re making the travel process easier for a growing number of our guests,” said Jim Holthouser, executive vice president, Global Brands, Hilton Worldwide. Hilton also plans to roll out its convenient charging program for its guests internationally in the coming year.

Americans Rely on OTAs for Travel Bookings
A majority of travelers see online platforms as the preferable option when booking travel. Nearly 7 in 10 Americans regard the online environment as both convenient and secure, and over half (55 percent) choose online travel companies most when searching for hotels.

This according to a new opinion research survey of over 2,000 American consumers from The Travel Technology Association. The survey found that more Americans are choosing to book hotel reservations through online travel company apps and sites (43 percent) versus booking direct on hotel platforms (40 percent).

TravelClick and Amadeus Extend Partnership
TravelClick and Amadeus have announced an extension of their relationship. The multi-year agreement will allow TravelClick to provide targeted advertising solutions within the Amadeus travel technology ecosystem to all hotels.

Through this extended relationship, TravelClick will offer Amadeus’s text and graphical banner advertising solutions to hoteliers, enabling them to reach travel agents using Amadeus Selling Platform. In addition, the partnership will provide hotel customers with access to TravelClick’s solutions.

Corporate Travel Planners Teams with Groupize
Corporate Travel Planners of San Antonio has announced a partnership with Groupize to bring the Groupize SGM, Small Group and Meeting Booking Engine to CTP’s enterprise customers to source, book and track their groups and meetings bookings.

The new technology will ensure procurement policies are followed and streamline group and meeting processes. The cloud-based platform and mobile booking engine will be offered as a custom-branded web application, enabling procurement teams and departmental staff to initiate group and meeting bookings to be sourced, negotiated and booked by CTP. CTP will manage these requests using the Groupize3PS, a Groupize third-party sourcing tool.

Commune Hotels Launches Checkmate Personalized Guest Program
Following the conclusion of a successful pilot program, Commune Hotels & Resorts has announced the launch of its personalized guest communication program powered by CheckMate, a travel technology company specializing in on-demand hospitality services. The program, which requires no app download, enables two-way conversations between guests and hotels through any mobile channel.

During the four-month pilot program across 25 Commune hotels, more than 24,500 guests used the CheckMate platform to communicate with their hotel. That translates to 75 percent of guests who provided a mobile number and opted in to receive SMS communication before, during and after their stay.

With the Checkmate rollout, guests at most Joie de Vivre and Thompson Hotels can now check in, request an upgrade, get notified when their room is ready, report service issues, ask for restaurant recommendations, and order a car service, all by the simple convenience of texting using their smartphone.

Adelman Debuts Hotel Intuition
Adelman Travel is launching Hotel Intuition, a new agent hotel booking platform powered by GetGoing. The platform, designed to provide customized and relevant hotel information at the point of sale, will be available at the end of 2015.

Consultants making travel arrangements in the global distribution system will be presented with a graphical display of hotel options available for the trip, including pictures, descriptions of the hotels, their rates and amenities, a map with client offices or their client locations, and customer ratings, among other relevant items. In addition, the Hotel Intuition platform takes into account the customer’s preferred hotels and corporate rates as well as the hotel preferences of the individual traveler.