When it comes to staying competitive in the 21st century, technology plays a major role in any industry. The most simple tasks are now monitored and in some cases completely run by either machines or programs. Although all of this sounds difficult to fathom or comprehend, it is in fact made up of smaller simpler pieces which make the entire unit function. in this chapter, we shall discuss the importance of technology IN travel industry as a whole.
Since in the travel industry, a company cannot make money off of their technology, it is considered as a cost center. it demands a hefty investment and the return is not always something that can be quickly quantified. however, the importance of technology in travel was first discovered by American Airlines in the 1960s, whom together with IBM started to bring travel and technology together with their Global Distribution System (GDS) called SABRE. To go more into detail, the following is a summary of the history of how travel got to where it is:
- 1400’s: Guest Booking
- 1841: Thomas Cook, Midland, Railways or 165K
- 1920’s: Qantes, Delta, American, Panam
- 1950-aa Magnetronic Reservoir (31D, 2,000F)
- AA + IBM – Sabre1971: Apollo
- 1976: United Grants travel across UK releases first GDS System
- 1992: Travicom becomes Galileo; books more than hotel
- 1994: TOURICO
- 1995: Lonleyplanet.com
- 1996: Microsoft founds Expedia and American Airlines
- 1998: Travelzoo; travel deals
- 2000: Hotwire.com
- 2001: Galileo’s Parent Company and Travelport launches Orbitz.com
- 2003: Expedia and Hotwire Merge
- 2004: Lonelyplanet unveils discount deals; Orbitz, Travelocity, and Expedia travel meta-search
- 2005: Priceline acquires Booking.com
- 2006: Travelport
- 2007: Agoda.com acquired by fleet
- 2009: Travelzoo starts fly.com
- 2010: Hipmunk is best to compare flights
- 2010: Jetsetter.com
- 2011: Google adds a travel engine; LivingSocial acquires urbanscapes and LivingSocial
- 2012: Priceline acquires Kayak
- 2013: Expedia acquires Trivago and power Travelocity; Tripadvisor acquires Jetsetter and 5
- 2014: Oracle acquires Micros 4.6Billion
- Tripadvisor acquires vacation home rentals
- Priceline acquires OpenTable
- Tripadvisor acquires Viator
- Price Influencer and Hotel
The GDS systems still exist today and although initially meant for flight only, they are now used for other services such as Hotels and Cars. Older versions of the GDS such as Worldspan, have much older User Interfaces or UI which look very close to a DOS interface. users must be trained to be able to input commands and comprehend the responses.
As technology progressed and the age of internet began, it became more important for a company to have the capability to use the internet and bring their services to the end consumer. This new distribution channel shook the foundations of traditional business, but for it to work many things had to be created and perfected. for starters, every person needed to own a computer, and owners of computers needed to be identified. The internet is a connection created among a number of machines which are communicating with each other, in other words, it is a Network of Networks. for business to be done through this channel the machines need to be able to identify each other and data sent from one machine must be able to find its way to the other machine.
this is where an IP address comes into play. Every machine is given an Internet Protocol Address which identifies the machine individually. the original IP address, however, was a 32-bit address and is now known as IPV4, this only allowed for 2,147,483,647 individual variations. as one might imagine this number was too low when mobile phones began to use the internet and required IP addresses of their own. therefore the new IPV6 was created which is a 128-bit address, many argue this is too small as well.
With all machines having identifiable addresses, security is now a risk, because of this instead of using the machines IP address for all transactions, an outward facing IP address was given to the Router. This device had the capability of identifying the machines on its network and for all outbound requests send its own IP address. In other words, it served as, like the local post office, it received all the packages and then distributed them to all the machines connected to it. Because of this if one would ask online what the IP address for their machine is, it would respond with the outward facing IP address. To find the IP address of the machine you can use the command prompt. Press the Windows +R buttons to open the Run window and type CMD in there, Press enter and in the black window which opens type ‘Ipconfig’ and enter. Your machines IP address can be found in the row which starts with IPV4.
The question may now arise, How does a machine know the IP address of another machine? Well to be exact, it doesn’t. When connecting to the internet and requesting a web page from your browser, your machine sends the request to the router. If the router has never been to this website before, it will Send a request to the local Internet Service Providers DNS or (Domain Name System). This system keeps a record of all domain names and their corresponding IP addresses. Once found it will redirect the Router to the Machine which was requested.
To see the route which your machine takes to arrive at the requested website, you can use the command Tracert. to do this, you must open your command prompt. This can be done using the Windows + R buttons on your keyboard to open the Run window then type CMD and press enter. The Command prompt will open as a black window very similar to the DOS blue screen. Here you will type: This will show the path of a website and the duration it took as well. you can replace the URL with that of any other website which you wish to find the path to.The following are a few more commands which one might find handy in the Command prompt:
- Telnet: used to control another machine
- Nslookup: used to find a server
- Ipconfig: used to find the IP address related to machine
- Ping: used to ping another machine (to call it)
Now that machines were able to be identified individually more needs were created. when a Website is searching something in its own database, such as if a Username and Password of a user is correct it can easily do so using a few lines of code. A different problem arises when a machine is trying to contact another machine and requesting data from the database of the other machine. This request which is sent to the other computer using the Internet needs to be written in a certain way with a certain language that both machines agree are readable by them. at the same time, this request must be simple enough to be read by a human to wants to configure and input the parameters of the request. for this we use XML. EXtensible Markup Language or XML is the code used to communicate between two machines. To simplify the concept, when the Morse code or any type of encoded communication was done using the telegram, both parties needed to know the way to decode the message being sent therefore it needed to be written in a certain format and not simply made up by the sender or the receiver. Although XML is not used for encoded messages, it is required that it be written in a certain format to help the receiver and sender use it. That format is saved as a WSDL or Web Service Definition Language. As the WSDL displays the format in which the message should be written in, the XML is the message itself.
As the business environment becomes more and more competitive it is no longer simply enough to have a business available on the internet. It now needs to go a step beyond. Simply being able to receive and use XML is no longer enough, a company needs to be able to read and react to the requests as quickly as possible while being able to keep their database secure and hidden from those who would attempt to compromise a company’s competitive advantage. Companies should create a technology arm at a cost center has the pure responsibility of creating and developing new technologies for the website while monitoring the previous technologies they have created.