We read with great interest an article on techcrunch.com titled Online Travel Platform KimKim Brings Back the Travel Agent, in which kimkim founder Joost Schreve (former head of mobile at TripAdvisor) explains that there is a shift happening in the online travel booking industry.
We are especially intrigued by the future direction for kimkim mentioned by Schreve – rolling out a mobile app that will interface with, and be backed by, a team of industry professionals. This is the same basic business model that we use, i.e. the PocketBuyer™ mobile procurement app supported by our procurement service that specializes in tail spend sourcing.
Although at first glance it may not seem like it, there are actually some clear parallels between the online travel booking environment and the world of e-procurement.
In both cases, there has been a move in recent times away from manually based systems to electronic solutions. Increased use of the latest technology is generally a good idea in any industry, but the adoption of advanced, often web-based tools also brings with it a specific type of risk.
The danger posed by a move towards electronic tools is that it can lead to the assumption that professionals using manual systems can be easily replaced by amateurs using electronic tools and systems. Like all assumptions, this can be a dangerous mindset.
There is no substitute for skilled, experienced professionals. Technological solutions should enhance the efficiency of these people, not replace them.
In the travel sphere, the dangerous assumption is that a traveler armed with access to a couple of travel websites could automatically do a better job of making their own vacation (or business) travel and accommodation bookings.
In business, the dangerous assumption is that a staff member with little or no procurement experience, but access to electronic supplier catalogs, can source company requirements as well as a procurement professional.
Professionals using outdated systems and amateurs using advanced technology both have severe limitations. In most cases, the best results are achieved by professionals using the latest available tools.
Travel agents are back, catalogs are out, group reporting is key, and PocketBuyer™ does it all under one roof.
If you are looking for a simple, no-fuss way to better manage tail spend in your organization, the PocketBuyer™ app from Simfoni is the ideal starting point.