What are the barriers to “seamless travel”?

Lack of coordination between suppliers stands in the way

Seamless travel has become a buzz-phrase in recent years, but it remains largely elusive because of a lack of coordination between different suppliers.

Seamless travel essentially means moving across multiple locations and modes of transport on one ticket. But creating seamless, or door-to-door, travel on a global scale is held back by a lack of coordination between travel providers. This is one of the findings of a new report, “Shaping the Future of Travel”, written by research firm Oxford Economics and commissioned by technology provider Amadeus.

Seamless travel only exists in “bubbles” in some parts of the world, the report says, because of a lack of coordination between different suppliers such as airlines, hotels, ground transport and car hire.

“Certain travel destinations are good at perhaps one aspect of seamless travel, but not the other,” says the report. “For instance, our interviews indicated the US was a good example of seamless travel, but mostly on the technological front, whereas Europe was one of the good examples of seamless travel on the infrastructure front – for example, every major airport in Europe includes a rail station.”

The report highlights a recent “rail-fly” deal between Singapore Airlines and the Heathrow Express and First Great Western train services as an example of a seamless travel initiative.

Creating seamless travel on a global scale would need a regulator to force companies to coordinate services or a large global company to solve the problem “by interacting with multiple travel providers”, the report says.

TTG Digital

[image courtesy Japan Railway]

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