Phocuswright Travel Innovation Summit Scorecard – 2015

In 2015, The Phocuswright Travel Innovation Summit has been expanded to showcase 41 companies with new products for the travel industry. New this year, in addition to calling the pool of judges “The Dragon’s Den,” is the new Battleground round where 21 startups compete for three open Travel Innovation Summit slots.

A Hotelier’s Take on IATA’s New Distribution Capability

The International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) controversial decision to adopt the Airline Tariff Publishing Company (ATPCO) XML standard based on the Farelogix Air Commerce Gateway that was supported by the now defunct Open AXIS group is misguided. Its focus is airline-centric, ensuring the airlines full control over search and booking transactions occurring within their ecosystem. Like so many other things in the world of airlines, it really should be customer focused.

The ULTIMATE Valentines Gift

The ultimate Valentines Day gift includes roundtrip travel on a JetWay Private Air jet, a romantic dinner-for-two dinner prepared by an award winning chef, and overnight accommodation in the best suite at at arguably the best hotel in New York City – The Four Seasons.

A Faster Way to Search Google Flights – Cut and Paste

Google Flight search provides incredibly fast search air fare results by leveraging technology acquired through the ITA Software acquisition. While not yet supporting flight routing outside of the US, it provides many interesting new features. By copying the URL/query string text into a Chrome browser, experienced travelers can experience Google Flights searches with unprecedented speed and efficiency.

Snippets and Factoids from Henry Harteveldt’s OpenTravel Presentation

Henry Harteveldt’s keynote address to the OpenTravel Alliance North American Advisory Forum warned an audience of travel industry distribution executives that

2010 Unsuspecting Travel Hero and Travel Zero Awards

Enterprise Rent-a-Car’s Seattle location received the 2010 Unsuspecting Travel Hero Award for providing a completely unexpected, pleasant, efficient and highly personalized experience with the typically mundane task of picking up an off-airport rental car. In a year highlighted by stays in luxury hotels, flying first class and endless discussions of how travel experiences can be improved, it is obvious that great service delivery and exceeding customer expectations still reigns supreme. Recognized for undermining its fundamental brand promise by gutting its hotel ratings policy, Hotwire received the 2010 Unsuspecting Travel Zero Award. Hotwire’s new hotel ratings criteria not only replaces formerly clear and detailed descriptions with ambiguous and nonsensical drivel, but creates loopholes for the company to sneak lower quality hotels into higher categories. Hotwire’s leaders should be ashamed of confusing what they apparently thought was cleverness with outright customer hostility.

How to Fly – Avoid Crowds, Airport Security, Bag Fees

This form of travel is not for everyone, but Helen Keller had it right – Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing. Jeff Corliss and his wingsuit tour some of the most dramatic and iconic scenery on the planet. No crowds, airports or bag fees – this takes solo travel to its next level.

Mad as Hell About Airline Fees – How Hidden are They?

I’m Mad as Hell About Hidden Airline Fees and I’m Not Gonna Take This Anymore is the tag line for a coalition that is demanding that the US Department of Transportation requires airlines to prominently display all ancillary fees on their websites and to provide distribution to enable transaction of these fees through all third party channels. Upon closer scrutiny, several claims appear exaggerated, while the lack of specific proposals regarding HOW these demands can be effectively implemented ignores challenges involving business models and technical interfacing.

SkyRider Airline Saddle Seat – Is FedEx PeoplePak Next?

USA Today profiled the SkyRider – a high density airline seat that increases passenger density. The design is based on a saddle due to an unfortunate assumption that airline passengers, like Cowboys, can remain comfortable seated in saddles for many hours. To seeing that strategy through to its logical conclusion, an airline could gain further density if the passengers were shipped like cargo, but crates are too bulky. FedEx Envelopes work better. Breaking News revealed the revolutionary FedEX PeoplePak prototype over 10 years ago.

Story of Two Deaf & Blind, but Mostly Dumb Airlines

Flight arrangements for a recent business trip turn into a nightmare when Delta and US Airways exhibit consistent customer service failures highlighting unanswered phones, silent Twitter accounts, missed flights, botched refunds and inept ticket agents. In many cases, the carriers were simply deaf and blind when it came to customer needs and understanding of internal policies. In others, the airlines were simply dumb when it came to proactively resolving the customer service breaks that they had caused – with the exception of except for one lone employee.