Thomas Cook India And The Taj Group Launch Whitepaper‐ Convergence Of Travel & Technology 2012

Whitepaper focuses on the impact of technology on the travel eco system in the India context

Online PR News – 25-June-2012 – Mumbai – Thomas Cook (India) Ltd (TCIL), India’s largest integrated travel and travel
related financial services company, released an industry whitepaper titled ‘Corporate Travel:
Convergence of Travel and Technology 2012’. The Thomas Cook India Whitepaper showcases global
developments and trends in the travel technology front with its impact to the travel purchase cycle and
the travel ecosystem, while drawing parallels to the India context. The Whitepaper was released by the
Chief Guest, Mr Sam Pitroda, innovator, entrepreneur, policy maker and advisor to the Government of
India, and widely considered to have been responsible for India’s communications revolution.
Unlike industry specific papers (hotel focused or airline specific), the Thomas Cook India Whitepaper
offers a holistic view of the impact and relevance of technology across the travel eco system while
focusing on the traveller as the consumer. The survey conducted by Thomas Cook (India) covered
travellers at major airports countrywide, with further inputs from leading airlines, hotels and GDS in
To discuss this in greater detail, Thomas Cook initiated a round table panel discussion in Delhi, Bangalore
and Mumbai. Veterans from the corporate space like Mr. Rakshit Desai – Executive Director, Thomas
Cook, Mr. Puneet Mahindroo‐ Corporate Director of Revenue Management and Global Distribution, Taj
Hotels Resorts and Palaces, Mr. Bill Lawler – Vice President, Global Customers IT Solutions, Amadeus
Asia Pacific, Mr. Christopher Fordyce ‐Regional Commercial Manager South Asia, British Airways, Mr.
Shankaran Shekhar – Head of Travel, Wipro and Mr. Navin Jain – Vice President, Mastercard were
panelists at these discussions.
Commenting on the whitepaper, Mr. Madhavan Menon, Managing Director, Thomas Cook (India) Ltd
said, “Technology is continuously redefining the way we plan, experience travel and share that
experience with others. As the power of computing shifts from the desktop to handheld devices,
travellers will increasingly adopt apps, social media and travel tools to plan their travel. Thomas Cook
India and the Taj Group are delighted to partner with Amadeus, British Airways, Mastercard and
Expense Anywhere to present this study providing meaningful insights to the industry on the
convergence of Travel and Technology”
Key Take‐Aways of the White Paper
The travel ecosystem in India is still evolving; the current focus is not on technology innovation but on
adoption and adaption. The Travel Purchase cycle is undergoing rapid transformation, with shrinking
devices, innovation in supplier distribution, the increasing pull and information expectations of new age
travellers and the powerful influence of social media. Industry regulatory bodies like IATA, AERA and
DGCA will require a paradigm shift in the approach to regulatory frameworks.
• It is information that will increasingly influence travel inspiration, with diverse information being
essential to make a single decision. The Thomas Cook India CTT Survey 2012 indicates that while
91% of the surveyed respondents find information online, 65% visit more than 3 sites to make a
travel purchase, with 51% unable to get information online to make an informed decision. While
products are evolving in the online space, consumer demand for information is fast out pacing
the developments.
• Having evolved over time, from the residential address, to the e‐mail address, a customer’s
identity today is largely associated with his mobile number. Over 52% of the respondents
confirmed the use of mobile for searching travel related products.
• Sentiment plays a major role in influencing the Indian traveller. Social Media and online
communities will gain prime importance‐ right from being inspired to travel, seeking
information, to the buy stage of the Travel Purchase Cycle. 1/3 respondents confirmed their
presence on social media.
• Shrinking of devices from desktop to handheld will strongly dictate future corporate IT policy on
connectivity and use of gadgets; and will be employee driven. Productivity quotient will be
measured against the expectations of the corporation and that of the traveller.
• Growth in usage of travel apps indicate the upcoming tectonic shift in travel distribution from
supplier models of listing and aggregating to the consumer model of customisation of content
with a focus on enhancing consumer experience via superior technology.
• Travel apps will have to evolve from stand alone models to collaborative ones to meet
increasing traveller expectations. While 81% of our respondents are aware of dynamic
packaging, only 19% have used it.
• The blending of office communication networks with personal gadgets and home based
communication in a highly secure environment for data protection are trends for the future.
About the Methodology for the whitepaper
The Methodology adopted for the Whitepaper was through a multi‐faceted approach
1. Social media knowledge mining – We used virtual social world to Connect and Collect Information. This
data mining across virtual network was a unique experiment since most of the experts / domain
consultants were connected to us over the social wire through LinkedIn and Discussion forums
2. Study Questionnaire – Our questionnaire design covering the various aspects of the travel technology and
reached out to the frequent travellers.
3. Technology experts –We reached out to the experts involved in the development and deployment of
technology from various industries as airlines, hotels, online portals, IT platform providers, Mobile service
providers etc.
4. Partner Inputs ‐ We further reached out to our partners to understand their outlook on the future and
their inputs and validation on the contents.
5. Secondary sources – A broad set of sources were referred in the exploratory as well as the content
building phase. This included various industry reports, reports from travel technology players, news
articles, journals, publications.