Travel revenues are soaring as people continue to book trips for business or pleasure. According to the World Travel and Tourism Council, the industry contributed $8 trillion to the global gross domestic product in 2015 and that number is expected to rise to almost $12 trillion over the next decade. Online travel booking services alone will contribute $523 billion in revenue during that time, according to Statista. Meanwhile, eMarketer estimates over half of those digital bookings will be done using a mobile device.
Today, booking a trip online is an extremely connected experience, as the diagram below illustrates. This is great for travel agencies and business and personal travelers because it gives them immediate exposure to whatever they need, including travel information, reservation services, itinerary and expense management, etc. – many of which are cloud-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications that can enhance their online travel experience.
From an enterprise’s point of view, cloud-based travel applications can be easily integrated into both enterprise resource management and customer relationship management SaaS systems. This integration of booking, expensing and invoicing systems in the cloud reduces CAPEX on hardware systems and enables these services to scale as needed during peak travel times.
For the personal traveler, the integration of cloud-based systems enables the flexibility and agility that they require to book travel anywhere, anytime, from any device. And backend analytics and intelligence can optimize the entire online travel experience. For example, you can book an airline ticket, either directly or indirectly, and recommendations for hotels, tours, rental cars, restaurants and amusements in the city you are flying to will automatically be presented to you, along with any discounts available during your travel dates. Without the interconnection of multiple travel SaaS applications running in tandem, this heightened experience would not be possible.
The quality of experience for the user of these integrated systems is just as important as the interconnection among these services themselves. If an airline or hotel reservation system is not updating its availability and pricing options quickly, then the fun of planning a trip can turn into pure frustration. If you do not receive the most up-to-date information on the status of a flight, especially if it is delayed, cancelled or has a gate change, then your entire trip could be ruined.
Fast access to the most up-to-date online travel information requires direct, proximate interconnection among all types of services (non-cloud- or cloud-based) with users and the online travel ecosystem, without slowing things down because of network congestion or latency. So it’s critical to leverage an Interconnection Oriented Architecture™ (IOA) that places travel services in regionally/internationally distributed interconnection hubs within multi-tenant data centers, closer to users. This strategy literally “shortens the distance” between the travel services and the travelers, much like the airlines that have developed a hub-based, international airport system.
Say you want to travel from Boston to Atlanta as quickly as possible. A direct flight is obviously the best choice, as opposed to going from Boston to Atlanta through Chicago. Network traffic transportation is no different. Backhauling network traffic through a centralized data center, rather than going directly to the end destination point of the network where there is the greatest number of users, can increase the risk of delays and data corruption or intrusion between hops.
In order to take advantage of the speed and ease that a connected online travel ecosystem provides, direct, secure and reliable interconnection is the only route to take.