first_imgThe travel industries in Australia and the Asia Pacific more broadly face many challenges and opportunities, according to TravelPort  vice president global distribution and sales, Damian Hickey.“One of the challenges is that it is a very cyclical industry, our industry just because of the complexity of it, is very rigid, it does not have a lot of flexibility, especially in terms of its cost base,” Mr Hickey told ETB News.“Take airlines for example, a lot of them are fixed or they are not under control, you’ve got fuel and labour costs and outside of that the rest is not very manageable and for the airlines and other service providers in the market, this means that they are trying introduce a lot more flexibility so they can be more competitive and reactive to the market.”Mr Hickey also said on the other side of the ledger there are consumers that are very savvy with technology and this can help drive down the cost base and yields.“At the same time, you have travelling consumers that are much more sophisticated, very demanding, they have access to a phenomenal amount of information and content, a lot of it thanks to the internet,” Mr Hickey said.Additionally, Mr Hickey said that this is where Travelport as a travel commerce provider can act as a bridge  to allow airlines and consumers to do business.“We see our role as enabling more flexibility in travel business model, we asked what can we do to help travel agents, low cost carriers and full service airlines to help them build their market share and customer satisfaction, however it is not a matter of focussing on just one group, ” Mr Hickey said.On the Asia Pacific front, Mr Hickey said that most of Travelport’s business is going on in Asia and that this is primarily being driven by low cost carriers.The final trend that Mr Hickey mentioned was the travel industry being way behind in terms of engaging with mobile savvy and digital native consumers.“Mobile first will become the norm, travellers will expect consistency from buying an experience to the post-booking platform on TripAdvisor but our industry is still using back-end systems that are nearly 60 years old.”“When these carriers first came to market, they had a commercial advantage and a first to market first advantage, however, now they are competing against themselves and downsized full service airlines,” Mr Hickey said.“Increasingly now these low cost airlines are going after as many customers as they can through as many channels as they can and are trying to enter less price sensitive markets because their margins are already very low.”Mr Hickey said that the fact that so many airlines has signed up before the Travelport Rich Content and Branding component of the platform went to market is a sign that they like the technology.Source = ETB News: Tom Nealelast_img

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