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Technology Disrupting Global, Local Travel Industry

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By Gbemisola Aruwayo-Obe

 

Nigerians from all walks of life love to travel. Like folks elsewhere, they feel deeply emotional about travelling. Although they may chit-chat about banking, shopping and similar experiences, discussions about their favorite airlines, miles, discounts, upgrades and boarding privileges also strike a deep cord with them. Regardless of social status, we all seem to be united by two things: our aspirational lifestyle and our individual and collective urge for excellent service delivery. Embracing digital innovation (technology) would help fast track the attainment of these social and economic realities.

 

While travelers around the world may differ in their hospitality tastes and preferences, the Internet has helped to flatten the world. Commercialization of the Internet has also introduced digital innovation into the travel and tourism industries, bringing with it a raft of new products, services and experiences. The digital influence is daily transforming the entire value chain of the hospitality sector, and this digital disruption is being embraced by travelers and operators alike. Take online checking in and self-service terminals at airports, for instance.

 

What about software which allows travelers to select destinations, flights and airlines, hotels, car hire companies and concierge services from the comfort of their laptops or hand-held devices? 20 years, you would have needed to visit or place a phone call to an airline or travel agent to access these sorts of services.

 

In hospitality establishments across the country and even around Africa, innovative technology is gradually bringing disruption to business models and customer expectations. Digital innovation is creating new challenges and opportunities for the travel industry. As with other industries, travel services customers have grown accustomed to individualized arrangements.

 

Whilst service quality levels may not be optimal in the fast-developing economies of the world, travelers in these regions are also not shy of demanding more comprehensive and consistent experiences and are becoming less tolerant of both inconsistency and imposition. Travel customers now expect streamlined processes, convenient self-service options and one-of-a-kind experiences. They are willing to quickly shift buying behaviors and preferences if they do not get what they are seeking.

 

This is the way it should be. However, this is not always how things have been over the last 20 years or so for members of the public who need to patronize airlines, hotels, transportation providers and other service providers in the business or leisure travel value chain. While hospitality industry analysts have called for increased public sector investments in the sector and in some cases, sectoral reforms which will galvanize domestic and foreign direct investments, there is also the need to realize that the entire hospitality landscape is undergoing disruption, as new entrants continue to leapfrog established travel businesses by applying digital technologies in innovative ways, whether it’s businesses that rent private homes to strangers or provide one-way car services.

 

Executives in the industry recognize the ongoing disruption and the impact of digital innovation on their industry. In 2016, an IBM Institute for Business Value’s Global Ecosystem Survey, conducted in collaboration with the Economist Intelligence Unit, consulted the opinions of more than 2,000 cross-industry leaders. Study findings include:

 

63 percent of the surveyed travel industry executives report that traditional value chains are being replaced with new value models.

Half of the surveyed travel industry executives indicate that boundaries between their industry and others are blurring.

57 percent of surveyed travel industry executives say that competition from new and unexpected sources is beginning to impact their businesses.

 

According to another report from the IBM Institute for Business Value, the global travel industry can sustain its momentum by meeting and hopefully, exceeding travelers’ personal expectations by embracing the philosophy of a Digital Reinvention.™ There is a three-step process, which includes:

 

1) Digitization improves efficiency by applying technology to individual resources or processes. Within the context of travel, digitization involves setting up digital systems that support processes such as online ticketing, but has evolved into online services where customers book directly with providers rather than through traditional travel agents.

 

2) Digital transformation involves the integration of digital functions or processes across an organization. By combining a set of systems and processes, digitally transformed travel businesses can offer their customers individualized experiences. An example of increasing importance is the ability of travel providers to combine data collected through travel booking sites, as well as customers’ personal social media channels, to deliver highly customized vacations.

 

3) Digital Reinvention of travel goes even further. Digitally reinvented travel involves a fundamental re-imagining of the way an organization operates and engages with customers and other stakeholders. Digital Reinvention at its most fundamental puts the customer first in all of the organization’s dealings to deliver travel experiences that are personalized for individual customers.

 

Digital Reinvention combines multiple digital technologies, including cloud, blockchain, mobile and the Internet of Things (IoT), to transform customer and partner relationships and to create new business ecosystems. Often, the most successful digitally reinvented businesses establish a platform of engagement for their customers and partners.

 

These are the steps, the benchmarks if you like, that many Africa-based travel industry operators need to adopt to take their game to the next level. Digital disruption is a reality of the global travel industry. The earlier and faster we embrace digital disruption locally, the more efficient our travel and hospitality systems will be.

Ugo Onwuaso is an ICT enthusiast. He believes technology should be used for general good. He holds a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree from the Lagos state University.

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How to Save Money on Online Shopping This New Year

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By Adeniyi Ogunfowoke,

Online retailers seem to be becoming more innovative and creative these days to score big with shoppers. However, if you are a smart deal hunter or want to save money, try using these clever and helpful online shopping tips shared by Jumia, Nigeria’s no 1 shopping destination.

Take part in the ongoing clearance sales

The Jumia clearance sales is presently on and it features amazing discounts, flash sales and vouchers. It affords you the opportunity to save a lot of money despite the fact that we just hit the new year. The clearance sales started yesterday and it will run up until January 31st. So, what are you waiting for? Download the Jumia App and start shopping and saving at the same time.

Organise your emails

Signing up to newsletters and promotion lists can save you a lot of money, but are you too reluctant about getting your email spammed? If this is the case, now is the time for you to organise your emails. One important thing you can do is to unsubscribe from junk emails. Additionally, you should activate email notification so that you will be alerted as soon as newsletters and other promotions are sent.

Leave items in your cart

Leave the products in your cart for a day or two. Firstly, you’ve just avoided making an impulse purchase. Secondly, most retailers dislike unclosed deals and will try to retain you. Remember the trick works only when you have an account on the merchant’s website and you are logged in when you leave your cart.

Shop at the right time of the day

Sometimes you have to be strategic when you shop online. There are certain times of the day when some product items are sold at give away prices. For example, for this Jumia clearance sales, there is the Mega Flash Sales at 12 noon daily. To wow you further, a 92k Bruhm air conditioner was sold for 40k and it sold out within minutes. So, ensure that you shop at the right time of the day this new year.

 

 

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Will Nigeria be affected by Brexit?

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By Lukman Otunuga, Research Analyst at FXTM

Market expectations remain elevated over Theresa May’s Brexit deal facing defeat in the House of Commons this evening.

Investors will be paying very close attention to the conclusion of the “meaningful vote” to determine what could happen next. An outcome where May loses by less than 100 votes could offer the government a lifeline to pass an amended Brexit deal through parliament on the second try. However, if May experiences a crushing defeat, this opens doors to Labour triggering a vote of no-confidence, an extension of Article 50, May seeking further concessions from the European Union, a snap election and in extreme scenarios a second referendum.

Market sentiment will most likely receive a boost if May unexpectedly wins the meaningful vote while a narrow loss is seen removing some uncertainty. A heavy defeat of May’s Brexit plan will negatively impact sentiment and severely punish the Pound.

The outcome of today’s vote will have little immediate impact on Nigeria but the longer-term outlook must not be overlooked. A negative outcome to Brexit that is followed by prolonged uncertainty is seen weakening the British Pound and UK economy considerably. This is bad news for Nigeria, especially when considering how Britain may reduce its investment to key projects in the nation.

EM currencies hit by caution…but Naira steady

Emerging market currencies entered the trading week on a cautious note as geopolitical risks and fears over slowing global growth left investors uneasy.

The performance across the EM currency space remains mixed with Indian Rupee, Malaysian Ringgit, and South African Rand depreciating. However, the Turkish Lira, Chinese Yuan, Indonesian Rupiah and Naira were able to stand tall against the Dollar. With Brexit-related uncertainty and political uncertainty in Washington among many other geopolitical risk factors draining investor confidence, EM currencies remain vulnerable to losses.

In Nigeria, investors will keep a close eye on the inflation report scheduled for release on Thursday. Persistent signs of rising inflationary pressures could encourage a shift in the CBN’s monetary policy stance this year.

Currency spotlight – GBPUSD

The Pound’s outlook hangs on what happens after the Brexit “meaningful vote” on Tuesday evening.

While the outcome of the vote remains open to question, it will certainly have a lasting impact on the British Pound. In regards to the technical perspective, the GBPUSD secured a weekly close above 1.2820, mostly due to Brexit noise. The 1.2820 level is seen acting as support that pushes prices towards 1.2920.

 

 

 

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How Corporate Organisations Can Save Money on Employees Travel in 2019

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By Adeniyi Ogunfowoke,

 

Making corporate travel savings might sound like a challenge, especially if you have lots of employees flying to different locations at different times. But there are ways to keep your costs down without compromising on travellers safety or services. With a smart process in place, you can save money on every trip,  and make both your travellers and your stakeholders happy. Jumia’s hotel & flight services, discusses the most effective ways to reduce your overall corporate travel spend in 2019.

Tighten up your corporate policy

From booking flights to meal allowances and handling expenses, there’s a lot to consider when setting out a corporate travel policy. That means there’s plenty that can slip through the net. Take a close look at your existing corporate travel policy and think about whether it’s robust enough to cover every area of travel spend within your company.

Sign up to a travel agency

If you want a complete corporate travel solution, a travel agency like Jumia’s hotel and flight services is your sure bet. There are countless and limitless largesse these companies would enjoy if they signup. They include amazing discounts on hotel and flight bookings, credit facility, sterling customer service and prompt response to queries. In addition, it gives you full visibility of all your travel arrangements, helping you make the right decisions that will lead to significant reductions in your costs.

Set realistic food and transport allowance

You might find that giving employees control over their food and transport spending can actually reduce overspending. Meal expenses can be set as an overall allowance per day, giving the employee the choice of how much to spend individually on breakfast, lunch and dinner. There’ll always be exceptions – so keep that five-star restaurant in reserve for your highest-profile client meetings. When it comes to transport, you should clearly advise employees to choose the most cost-effective method, factoring in journey times. This could include using their own vehicles to get from A to B and then reimbursing them.

Reward your employees

Every time your travellers pick a more cost-effective option, they’re saving the company money. Over the course of a year, that can really add up. So how about giving them an incentive to deliver further savings? It could be a voucher for their favourite store, a share of the savings, or time off – just some way of thanking employees for reducing your travel costs and encouraging them to keep doing it.

Have a pre-trip approval process

One of the simplest ways to reduce your corporate travel spend is by having an approval system in place for every booking. By making it clear who needs to give approval for travel, you won’t have the problem of trips having to be cancelled after they’ve been booked, triggering wasted expenditure.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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