Your 10 euro bills tomorrow will only be a piece of paper. From midnight today, the money you treasure in your pocket will not be worth anything. Citizens who wish to exchange their notes for others of lesser value will have to wait until next week when the banks open again. For the time being, they will remain closed by a presidential order. Until then, no one shall exceed the limit imposed on exchanges, and an ID will be required at the counter.
This notice is a half-fiction. It does not concern any country of the European Union, so no European should worry. But it has just happened in India, where President Narendra Modi surprised his citizens with an announcement similar to this one that went into effect without prior notice. «Black money and corruption are the biggest obstacles to eradicating poverty», the president said in his defense of a measure as radical as eliminating much of the money circulating overnight in the country. Continue reading
The emergence of the digital phenomenon has already altered the foundations of tourism around the world and a new uproar is around the corner: Big Data, the analytics of massive data. The processing of large quantities of data allows the establishment of predictive models originated by tracking the travel activity through human sensors already implemented/implanted, such as smartphones, almost biometric extensions of people. In the year 2020 we foresee the interconnection of … 212.000 million sensors! , correlating without any cables, telemetrically. This fantastic universe of intertwined data will then provide information that to date is unavailable as to how many, when, how, where, towards where and whom are the travellers on the move.
The tourism industry must be prepared to affront this big challenge of the circulation and analysis of data. Pioneers of the technological development, airline companies have initiated this task several years ago when they created a management system, yield management, capable of optimizing air transport based on demand, seasonality, connection hubs, and anticipating booking. Big hotel chains have copied this model, as have other tourism corporations such as main reservation companies, online agencies and travel meta search engines, that have been introducing variables in their electronic business modules capable of determining what date is more convenient for the user to take a specific flight or book a particular room. Continue reading
It’s my daily routine in New York. If I don’t get to take the metro, I hail a taxi from the thousands that go up and down on the streets. A soon as I get in, I take out my iPhone and open the apps Uber or Way2Ride, which most cab drivers are affiliated with. As soon as the app starts, two buttons appear: I Need a Taxi, which will help me locate one in case I’m living outside radio range, and I’m in the Taxi, which will mark me as being in a cab already. And that’s it. Once I’ve reached my destination, as the ad suggest on TV’s cab, I open the door, and give the cabbie that took me there a warming bye-bye.
In New York it’s becoming a habit to not pay for taxis, or even some trifle sold in Macy’s stores. Soon it will not be required to pay for travel by subway, or lunch at the restaurant on the corner. By this I mean, it is not paid in cash, or by credit card. The various applications connect to the taxi system, the cashier in the department stores Continue reading
Uber is in luck. The assessment that Bloomberg made in late May that the company is worth $18 billion could have fallen short. Its business could now grow more quickly than anticipated due to the taxi strike in several European cities. If someone thought that it would take time for Uber to gain a foothold in an already saturated market of P2P applications, they could not have chosen a worse time: taxi drivers around the world have joined to publicize Uber.
The taxi collective was already taking time to demonstrate their slyness, but no one can stop the P2P phenomenon, despite what taxi drivers, coach tour operators, hoteliers, travel agents, publishers or musicians insist. That’s not to mention what is coming for merchants, where Amazon is king; the telcos, towards which Google is moving with its balloon satellite connectivity project; the entire industrial sector, which some naively seek to revive in Spain with the rise of 3D printing; physicians, whom will be recycled into health programmers in the face of the development of nanotechnology; and politicians themselves, who not only suffer the from the boredom Continue reading
I arrived very late at night. From the outside the hotel looked closed, inhospitable. The lights were off. The night shift employee was lying on a couch. I opened the sliding glass doors, and glanced over to see a monolithic figure of a uniformed person behind a dark service desk. The person didn’t look up. He just gestured in the comfort of his usual position. If anything, he only gave me formal greeting as I approached him, carrying my bags. His eyes were hidden behind thick lenses, inscrutable in the gloom. His breathing, even thicker than his glasses, evidenced the nocturnal condition. He accomplished his work with merit from the first moment, when he asked for my passport, the three mandatory signatures and a credit card… «As a guarantee that you will not leave without paying,» he added, with the courtesy he learned at the hospitality school. That was the receptionist.
That was last week. But it could have happened any night last month, last year, or at the end of the millennium. Or at any other time in my childhood when the kindness of the agent was complimented with a «May God be with you for many years.» The reception has always been the sanctum sanctorum of the bureaucracy in the hotel industry. That strange job where, instead of welcoming guests and helping to relieve them from the inconvenience of traveling, they are hindered with the regular processing of their registration and assurance of their purchasing power. An instant hold in that travel momentum, the memory of which always reminds me of a teller window of the treasury or the lottery office, without the urgency of the first or the exciting disorder of the second. Continue reading