In today’s business climate, entrepreneurial energy and ever-changing tech means that companies are constantly working to innovate services by investing across industries.
This trend can be easily observed in the airline flight distribution sector. It is likely that outside, non-travel players will enter this space to leverage their technology capabilities to innovate distribution markets. Major tech giants like Google and Facebook are already working in this sector. Below, we’ll outline a few of these market entrants and their services.
How the Big Tech Companies Plan to Innovate Services
The SAP-owned, Concur stands as one of the most important distribution technology firms in today’s market. Its prominent position comes from its extensive reservoir of traveler data. From travel dates, carriers flown, the place of origin and destination, modes of payment used, and much more, Concur boasts a massive database. SAP is widely known for its extensive range of offerings catering to companies with industry-specific software solutions, including data analytics systems. Significantly, their SAP Hybris division recently launched some technological solutions for the aviation industry.
We also expect the innovative minds at Facebook to introduce some new ideas into flight distribution. The company’s acquisition patterns have carved out a nice niche for involvement in travel. From its purchase of photo-sharing app Instagram, messaging app WhatsApp, virtual reality set maker Oculus, in addition to its own product development such as Messenger could all support aviation related operations.
According to the market rumor mill, Facebook may enter the space by introducing metasearch functionality either through acquisition or internal development. The value proposition for Facebook is mostly to increase utility for existing users and profit from existing tech capabilities.
Another player in the tech space to enter distribution is the search engine giant Google, or Alphabet. If it does so, it will be easily the largest company to enter the sector. This could bring both negative and positive implications for the distribution business.
Google’s principal business line is based on consumer learning, aggregation of data for advertising, and reference tools. Due to the way these features dovetail nicely with flight distribution services, we anticipate that Google will be a major player in the distribution sector should it get involved.
Google has properties that can influence every point of the travel story arc. From purchasing tickets, during the journey and on the way back, Google’s influence could loom large. Presently, Google’s most important property, its world famous search engine, is used by over 90% of the population when making travel plans. Google also owns ITA software which is an airfare pricing engine and a cache tool.
Google's flight search helps travelers to search by interest and regions. The company also boasts assets such as:
- - Zagat (restaurant reviews)
- - Google Map
- - Google Street View, and much more
Soaring through the skies with new and innovative tools, Google has recently introduced new assets- like virtual reality headset, voice-based home-management solution and others.
All of this allows Google to knit together a synergistic set of services that it can set loose on the market, covering travel, hospitality and much more in a consumer focused and holistic way. In addition, Google has numerous advertising items on its board as well.
All inclusive, it’s likely that Google has more information concerning a passenger’s intentions and preferences than any other player in the market.
Airlines will certainly benefit from doing business with Google over the next few years. 85% of airlines report that they expect Google to be more integrated into their distribution system over the next decade. They also anticipate similar giants like Amazon, Uber and Tencent to get involved soon after. We should expect the flight distribution business to continue to innovate and grow more as more players get in the game.