Cloud computing applications have been beneficial for many industries, simplifying processes and reducing costs. Now those same benefits have been brought to the travel sector with apps providing travel suggestions and real-time information. Cloud-based travel apps allow users to negotiate lower prices for transportation and accommodation because information is openly available and data is used to run things as efficiently as possible.
Recent cloud-based travel apps have been created that utilize big data tools to analyze users' interests and offer personalized travel itineraries. One such app, Utrip, scans its user base to learn preferences and integrates with social networks to create specialized itineraries.
Two popular cloud travel services have made headlines in recent months by raising large amounts of money, according to information from CNBC. Rideshare service Uber, after a recent round of fundraising bringing in more than $1 billion, is currently valued at more than $18 billion. Airbnb, an apartment rental website, also recently went through fundraising and has a current valuation of $10 billion.
"The leisure tourism industry has been completely disrupted by new technology," said Neil Ward-Dutton, research director for business advisory firm MWD Advisors. "First there was the initial wave of online booking services allowing travelers to assemble their own trips and compare flight prices. Then the second wave of digital disruption brought together the power of real-time information, universal connectivity and mobile."
Corporate travel gets in the game
One area where cloud-based travel services have yet to gain a large foothold is corporate travel. Enterprise travel is the perfect vehicle for utilizing cloud applications because several departments and companies are involved in the process of booking employee accommodations and all parties have their own data moving around the cloud in need of coordination. Cloud-based systems would allows for increased personalization and make processes simpler.
In an effort to enter this market, expense report software company Concur this week made a deal with United Airlines to enable direct travel bookings from the airline's website, according to a report by The New York Times. If an employee is booking a flight for work, the details will automatically be entered into their expense form. This is the same service cloud-based expense account programs have been offering for some time when employees make a purchase on a corporate credit card.
"Over time, the idea of an expense report should disappear," said Concur CEO Steve Singh. "If my plane lands, why not automatically start booking me into my hotel, re-book my flight if one is canceled, tie my trip to Uber?"
Cloud-based travel applications are continuing to make it easier to travel for both work and play, and at the rate many are growing, it doesn't seem as though they'll be going away anytime soon.