Tech development is continuous challenge

ONE of the biggest tech challenges corporate clients continue to face is the bandwidth and connectivity issue, says Morné du Preez, ceo of Tourvest Travel Services.

“This challenge may remain for some time, however one way in which to mitigate this is to align with suppliers that can provide the best service and Internet connectivity.”

Compliance and the understanding of what this relates to in terms of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPI) is another challenge for both customers and service providers, he continues.

“This has been highlighted by the significant fines imposed this year on BA International, Marriott and also Equifax, which alone was US$700m (R10,4bn) for its data breach.”

Development and enhancements when it comes to technology should be continuous, he says. “Travelit, our online technology, proves this statement true.”

Du Preez continues: “Within the next quarter, we will also be the biggest hotel aggregator in Africa because all the major aggregators will be housed in our single platform.”

This will provide further value to customers and change the dynamics of online technology and the travel industry, he believes.

The Land & Agricultural Development Bank of South Africa does not use a TMC and works directly with supplier platforms, says Jennifer du Preez, manager of travel and events.

“We do all our bookings in-house, working with airlines such as SAA (OnBiz), and FlySafair. The bulk of bookings are with Airlink to small airports, and guest houses are very important in our supply chain.

“SAP’s travel solution is used to capture travel requests. We also process travel claims and returns on SAP. We’d like to move to an online booking tool, but this is currently on hold until we know what direction our IT department plans to take. We need to ensure payment pulls through to the SAP system.”

According to Travelport, one of the biggest opportunities ahead for travel companies is continuing to provide the relevant, timely digital tools and capabilities that travellers need.

“Travel brands need to provide the seamless and comprehensive experience South African travellers have consistently told us they want and the most successful brands will meet their customers where they are,” says Claudette Thorne, Travelport’s country manager for SA.

“Today brands need to be thinking about how they can engage on social media and instant messaging platforms – apps and mobile websites are fast becoming mere table stakes.”  

Mobile bookings are enabling travel programmes to gather actionable data and engage travellers to make decisions beneficial to the programme, agrees Miriam Moscovici, BCD Travel’s senior director of Corporate Innovation.