I love the idea of people traveling to meet people or to explore places, new and old. I am an avid traveler myself and travel whenever I get a chance and for more or less similar reasons. However I do feel there is too much effort required in planning travel nowadays. Searching and booking various modes of transport, hunting for information on new destinations, convenience of time and available options and well doing all this on a budget and you can see what I mean when I say too much effort.
Add to this, the complexity of unknown languages, currencies and regulations to be understood, and to top it all, for a lot of destinations in the world, transport & accommodation options are not available for booking on most major channels, online or even offline. Well things have certainly improved over time so that more and more travel is bookable online but the pace of this improvement worries me.
This also interests me because by day my job is to build travel technology at tavisca. Over the last 11 years, I have worked with ace travel technologists and built technology that today empowers many travel businesses across the world.
So over the last few years we have been driving a different vision at tavisca – that of becoming the ‘Salesforce.com of travel’. Let me explain what I mean by that. As a technologist, I admire “Saleforce” because they have built a technology platform in such a way that others can build solutions using this platform. Solutions that are aimed at solving specific challenges of the sales organization. Travel trade ecosystem has a lot of unresolved challenges and scope of improvement where technology innovation could do wonders. As a travel technologist, I know that I would not be able to resolve all those challenges and bring about that improvement by myself.
Building block for travel technology and travel trade fraternity
That’s why we are building technology that empowers people (travel trade professionals and travel technologists) to achieve this goal in collaboration. I am driving efforts to build the most holistic online travel platform which would help people run their travel business with ease and with complete control of how they want to offer their services to consumers. We have created the building blocks (much like Lego) required to build and orchestrate a travel business workflow in a just few clicks.
At the same time, we are working to build a high level of flexibility to our travel technology platform so that travel business innovators and owners can customize functionality to their heart’s content. Where does the heart come into this? Well every year, I see travel start-ups that come up with inspiring and profound business ideas that are definitely from the hearts of the creators.
All components are standardized and easily plug-able so that any piece of functionality can be changed as per one’s needs. It allows people to collaborate within and outside the platform with ease.
My colleagues at tavisca and I believe technology should be an enabler rather than a roadblock. However what I have seen and heard over years is otherwise. Not all travel businesses would like to invest in a large technology team, and even those who do might not be able to drive optimal benefits from it due to a constant change in business focus and market needs. It is impractical for travel business owners to keep up with the latest technical trends, standards and technology innovations as well as address all business challenges at the pace that is required.
This is the problem we want to address. Whether multi-device, multilingual applications, cloud enabled scalability control, secure rules based pricing management, social integration, predictive analytic or completely re-aligning your business model, we would like our building blocks of travel technology to be easily and cost effectively used to build the desired capability. That is why at tavisca we have focused on keeping up with the latest technological capabilities and enabling you, the travel business professional to focus on running your business. You would always be secure in the knowledge that you have access to these building blocks that can be used to build the best experience and choice for travelers.
Through this building block approach to travel technology, we have thrown ourselves a few challenges that we want to address in the days to come (and I would welcome anyone in the travel technology and travel trade fraternity to collaborate with us in innovative approaches to these challenges)
- How to make travel planning and booking process of tomorrow fun so that people can collaboratively explore new places?
- How to create new channels to enable property, transport, activity and other product owners to sell travel online?
- How can newer and better travel options be made available to travelers?
- How to bring in optimum personalisation to travel offering according to the individual traveler’s needs?
I am still some way off from fulfilling this goal, but the journey has begun, and I am excited to see parts of this vision taking shape. I do believe that we have reached a stage where we have created the fundamental building blocks of online travel (irrespective of the type of travel business) in the travelnxt platform, with more to come on that front in the coming days as we test and perfect these building blocks. I would be happy to hear thoughts from our readers both from the travel technology as well as the travel trade fraternity. This year, I do feel, is a year of momentous change in travel. Till next time, goodbye and a happy new year.
NB: This post is written by Rahul Pilkhwal, CTO at Tavisca Solutions. Rahul is a travel technologist with more than 11 years’ experience. Rahul has architected technology products in the early days of travel technology in the US that are still in use today and run billion dollar travel organizations. Rahul has been instrumental in inventing some of the most cutting edge approaches to building technology. He is the conductor of tavisca’s vision of how technology can be shaped to bring better value to the domain of travel in the future.
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