Where is the industry going? Where did it come from?
The last decade has seen massive changes in the industry. Knowing our history makes sense of what we do next. Someone who I love hearing about history from is David Reeves, a once upon a time rep of roomsXML and journeyman of the industry.
“My first Travel Industry job was at Kings Cross at the World of Fun Mirror Maze. Stories from that will have to come later in a book. My second job was with TAA, which became Australian Airlines then QANTAS Domestic.
“I was employed to roll out a new reservations system called TAARSAN II, accessed via dumb terminals with orange characters on a dark background. You had to know the 3 letter city codes or you used up time looking them up in the system.
“Training was via a cassette player with headphones and a terminal set in training mode. Holiday Travel had hardcopy manuals which were updated by replacing the appropriate pages sent out by Headoffice with notes on what the new pages were.
“If there was a ticket printer it was located in a sound suppressing box as the dot matrix printers were definitely not quiet.
I remember sitting on a 747 from Sydney to Nadi in 1979. My grandparents were taking me away for Christmas and New Year’s. Those plastic in ear headphones that piped the noise. Four hours or six hours on the plane was the longest time I can ever remember. The process David describes explains how my bum got on that seat.
A little bit different from the pending NDC, although David believes that some of the most positive changes that happened in the industry were around e-ticketing, automated fare construction as well as online training.
“Our hands would ache from all the tickets we wrote and my signature looks like a line as every document had to be signed.”
Distinctly different world from today.
David hits on an interesting note however when referring to some of the negative changes that have happened in the industry, particularly around pricing. It’s been highlighted by some of the luxury deals and coupon sites who are driving down prices at the expense of local job markets in places like Vietnam and Siem Reap.
“The obsession with price above all else is damaging. It seems everything has got to be cheaper, that being the case, there has to be a cost to someone or everyone involved.”
OTA is a driving down prices, automating processes and driving people out of jobs
“Keeping up with technology is a challenge as it is more than the Internet of things. Maintaining uniqueness, point of difference, being reliable and standing out with a unique business identity is more and more challenging.
(In relation to NDC) “I wonder if a system knowing everything about you is a good thing as part of the human experience are surprises ….if your life turns beige from a lack of variety of choices, is that life? “ Think Matrix; that’s why it failed; too beige.
So David, you have a new gig?
“I am working with Constellation Journeys who have chartered a fully crewed QANTAS 747-400 four a 22 day around the world experience; a world sampler with some amazing stops along the way.
“There is an opportunity for Travel Agents who book their clients on this to follow up as there will be those travellers who want to return and spend more time. It’s great for agents as it pays commission.”
I do love a 747…