Take a moment to think about the travel industry 20 years ago. Planning a trip was no small feat. You visited local travel agents, gathered a bundle of brochures, mulled them over as you had time, and finally finalized your perfect destination.
Fast forward to today. You click a button and the best destinations appear, fitting your preferred dates, airline preferences, and budget.
The last decade has been huge for travel. First, the Internet came along and completely transformed the operations of the industry.
Then mobile devices and social media were introduced, adding new opportunities, flexibility, avenues for growth, and yes, some challenges.
And now we have cloud computing.
The most simple, practical example of cloud computing’s application to travel is availability searching and shopping. This has become the most important consumer resource in the travel planning process. When these capabilities run off of a single, physical infrastructure platform owned by one travel agency, there is a lot of stress put on budgets, operations, resources and employees. However, in the cloud, scalability, mobility, efficiency and more come to the rescue.
Cloud computing has made available easily scalable infrastructure that is used on a pay-as-you-go, on-demand basis. Due to the seasonal nature of the travel sector, this is kind of perfect. Scalable cloud solutions make it easy to increase computing resources during the seasons of high demand, and decrease again during low demand.
Cloud technology also allows travel organizations to significantly improve their customer service – as part of the hospitality sector, this is important for these agencies. For example, German airline giant, Lufthansa, uses a cloud-based service that allows its passengers to pick content for their flight prior to departure. It’s this personal touch and ease that consumers are expecting today, and cloud enables it. Today, consumers can access travel websites, applications, booking tools and more from anywhere in the world, at any time of the day, on any Internet-capable device. According to Google, over the past year there were 50% more searches about holiday destinations executed via mobile devices.
And don’t worry, we won’t zoom past the security conversation. This continues to be one of the major barriers to cloud computing, but many concerns are actually unfounded. Cloud computing provides security through encryption, backup, recovery, redundancy, firewalls, physical data center security, and more. This is all extremely important for a sector that deals with personal information and credit card transactions daily, like travel. In fact, 94% of businesses have reported that they saw an improvement in security after switching to the cloud. And more interestingly, Gartner predicts that by 2020, 95% of cloud security failures will actually be the customer’s fault, not the provider’s. When it comes down to it, security breaches are more often than not due to human error, not cloud failure. Think about it: cloud computing providers have to invest heavily in security if they expect to hold sensitive customer data on their infrastructure. This means that many cloud services are actually more secure than traditional in-house setups.
We are now witnessing a sea change in attitude towards cloud computing, and the travel industry is no exception. For travel agencies or airlines looking to take their organization to new heights, cloud computing may be the answer.