1 year ago

Travel industry leaders create Dihedral to tackle travel data

Former Orbitz chief Jeff Katz is heading up a new company which aims to use travel data to improve the traveller experience.

Dihedral, as the company is called, is being set up in partnership with the Boston Consulting Group and claims to have already secured its first round of funding, with the amount undisclosed.

According to a statement investors include ‘affiliates’ of American Airlines, BCG, Hilton Worldwide, Hyatt Hotels Corporation, InterContinental Hotels Group, Marriott International and United Airlines.

The investment and participation of this group of companies does not prevent other industry players from involvement including online travel agents and distribution giants.

Perhaps conspicuous by their absence are the above players although Katz says that in the beginning of a new business “more is not necessarily merrier” from the outset and that many intermediaries already have “well-established approaches” to these problems.

“Everyone can participate and ultimately everyone will be invited to participate but we have to start with a group small enough to manage in this first iteration.”

Dihedral plans to build a publish and subscription model for the data which aims to help the industry improve the customer experience by enabling companies to access a much wider set of information about customers.

In a statement, Katz says:

“The mission of Dihedral is to build the very first experience management platform so that every traveler’s wish is realized: that the entirety of their travel experience is completely seamless.”

The idea behind Dihedral is to tap into data from travel suppliers to improve the traveller experience. Katz provides the scenario of a forthcoming trip to New York where the traveller’s priorities are not necessarily the airline or the hotel but being able to maintain an exercise regime and take in a couple of events.

“When we think travel we typically say I need an airline reservation, I need to book a hotel and when I get there I’ll Uber or Lyft as my ground transportation. Everything else  I’ll do on the fly but our journey is really much more complicated than the airline reservation and/or lodging.”

A statement says the company will develop a ‘Global Experience Record’ that will “provide a global view of the travel customer across all elements of the travel journey, from airlines, hotels, and ground transportation to restaurants and entertainment.”

Speaking to Tnooz, Katz says he doesn’t like to think of the GXR like a Passenger Name Record –  (the term used for an airline reservation) he talks about it as an “experience record of the traveller’s entire journey and all the processes and marketing history that are wrapped around that.”

Companies then can query this record and, says Katz, depending on business rules and whether privacy regulations are adhered to, the company will receive back information on the customer.

There are of course issues around willingness to share information from both a consumer perspective and a company perspective. A big part of the success of this initiative and adoption will be openness from companies in terms of sharing of data and trust from consumers that companies will treat data respectfully.

The first iteration of the platform is about a year away and Katz stresses it will start as something very simple.

On how effective it can be unless everyone gets involved, he says:

“Adoption is key and not predictable. We’re beginning with a group of stakeholders who are credible and important. Right now they’re investors and they’re interested. Adoption means a broad group of subscribers, a broad group of applications and a broad group of publishers who will publish information. I think they will all kick the tyres at a point in time and take the decision about whether to get involved and that will take time.”

The whole area of travel data – collecting it, making sense of it and what to do with it – is a huge topic at the moment as many companies across the industry look at how they can improve how they target travellers, how they get a holistic view of them, what they sell to them and when and improving the overall experience for consumers.

A number of travel industry data startups have sprung in the past couple of years include Dublin-based Boxever which specialises in airline data and Bd4travel which has been working with tour operators.

More established players have also been developing services to manage data such as Amadeus and its travel intelligence services.

NB: Data image via Big Stock.

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About the Writer :: Linda Fox

Linda Fox is managing editor for Tnooz. For the past decade years she has worked as a freelance journalist across a range of B2B titles including Travolution, ABTA Magazine, Travelmole and the Business Travel Magazine.

In this time she has also undertaken corporate projects for a number of high profile travel technology, travel management and research companies.

Prior to her freelance career she covered hotels and technology news for Travel Trade Gazette for seven years. Linda joined TTG from Caterer & Hotelkeeper where she worked on the features desk for more than five years.



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  1. Timothy O'Neil-Dunne

    There is both good and bad here. This is yet another standard seeking to bring conformity to data in the Travel Industry – for commercial gain it would appear. Conformity is good – we need to be able to work to common standards. Commercial gain – well that is probably bad. Selling customer profile data and enabling its (potentially) more abusive use – is not necessarily a good thing. How does this fit with IATA’s OneOrder data components? How about OpenTravel – should they not be the neutral arbiters of this?
    I can see Google of course laughing at this effort. The words “completely” and “seamless” are oxymorons in Travel.
    Best of luck fellas.




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