Monday, June 25, 2012

Friday, June 22, 2012

Thomas Cook India and The Taj Group launch Whitepaper - Convergence of Travel & Technology 2012

June 22, 2012
Source: Equity Bulls
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 India.
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.
The Thomas Cook (India) Ltd stock was trading at Rs.63.70, up by Rs.0.05 or 0.08%. The stock hit an intraday high of Rs.63.80 and low of Rs.63.50.
The total traded quantity was 0.78 lakhs compared to 2 week average of 1.18 lakhs.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Concorde: Remembering the flying machine!

As air travel around the world continues to be cost effective; it's good to remember that there was a time when luxury, comfort and technology was a priority: Once upon a time in air!

CNN video Report

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Thomas Cook India unveils Whitepaper on Travel Technology

June 14, 2011
By P Krishna Kumar | New Delhi
Thomas Cook India recently unveiled its maiden whitepaper, 'Corporate Travel: Convergence of Travel & Technology 2012', in Delhi. Launched in partnership with The Taj Group, Amadeus, British Airways, Mastercard and ExpenseAnywhere, the whitepaper looks at how travel technology in corporate travel is transforming the travel industry today. Speaking at the launch, Sam Pitroda, Advisor to the Prime Minister of India on Public Information, Infrastructure and Innovation, said that technology is further ahead than our ability to use it. He added that technology has changed the way people travel today and a lot of changes are bound to happen as wireless technology unfolds. He said there were a lot of "pieces" to the travel eco-system, and there was a need to consolidate these pieces to provide a wholesome experience to users. "We have definitely come a long way in travel technology, yet, a lot remains to be accomplished," he stated.
Later, while giving a presentation on the various findings of the whitepaper, Suraj Nair, Senior Vice President (Strategy & Planning) — Corporate Travel, Thomas Cook India, said the paper was prepared within four months following a "unique methodology" and with inputs from industry and social media experts. 1,537 travellers and 11 international airlines were surveyed and inputs collected from various hotels and GDSs. Nair said that there have been drastic changes in the way travellers used technology for travel information with the advent of wireless technology. "Travellers are increasingly using information technology because of time and space constraints. Information is pulled by travellers rather than pushed towards them," he said. He added that social media would play a major role in influencing customer decisions on selection of channels, products and brands in the future.
"Today's traveller has unrestricted access to inventories and products. He is actually driving industry practices," said Rakshit Desai, Executive Director, Thomas Cook. He said shrinkage of devices sizes from 21" to 4" is a major challenge when it comes to presentation of content in an individualised manner. He added that future distribution would be electronic-driven.
The travel purchase cycle is undergoing a rapid transformation with innovation in supplier distribution, fast-changing aspirations and expectations and the emerging influence of social media, the study says. The key findings of the research are:
  • Consumer demand for information is fast outpacing the information available online. About 59 per cent of the surveyed respondents visit three or more sites to make a travel purchase, and 51 per cent said that they were not able to get the required information online to make an informed decision.
  • Customer identities have shrunk to their mobile numbers. Over 52 per cent of the respondents surveyed confirmed that they use mobile phones for searching travel-related products.
  • Social media is gaining acceptance in terms of inspiration, information search, and the purchase and reflection stages of the travel purchase cycle. One third of the respondents confirmed their presence on social media.
  • The power of computing is shifting from the desktop to handheld devices. This is in sharp contrast to the decade-long drive of corporations dictating devices and incentivising employees to stay connected for business.
  • Tele-presence adoption will see rapid growth considering modern day constraints on infrastructure and bottlenecks created by distances and travel times. Fast-changing technology will offer huge savings to corporates and result in productivity enhancement for the workforce

Friday, June 8, 2012

Quick tips for germ-free traveling

Healthy Travel: The 5 Germiest Places At The Airport

An interesting read on traveling germ-free.
Full article click:

Monday, June 4, 2012

A toast to Queen Elizabeth as Britain celebrates her 6th decade in public service, having worked with 12 British prime ministers and even a dozen US presidents making it one of the longest reigning monarchies - A Queen that never retires.

Some interesting facts*:

60 years, four months -- The length of Queen Elizabeth II's reign as of June 6, 2012, making her the second-longest reigning monarch.

2,868 -- The number of diamonds in the Imperial State Crown that the queen wears at the state opening of Parliament.

£32.1 million -- Amount the British government provides Elizabeth and Prince Philip annually (about $50 million U.S.)

$500 million -- The queen's approximate net worth.

116 -- The number of different countries she has visited during her 60 years as queen.

5 -- The number of times the queen has made a state visit to the United States; the first was in 1957 and the most recent in 2010.

1 -- Number of U.S. presidents born during Elizabeth's reign (Barack Obama in 1961).


CBS video - Queen Elizabeth II through the ages