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

24-Jun-2012 | News-Press Release

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.

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