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Bob Offutt

Senior Technology Analyst and Editorial Director, Innovation EditionDallas, Texas United States

Mr. Offutt brings over 20 years of experience in information technology, IT management and travel industry dynamics to Phocuswright. He was most recently the chief architect and senior vice president for Sabre Holdings where he defined the strategy and plan to migrate from a monolithic Mainframe environment to distributed open systems and a service oriented architecture. Prior to being Sabre's chief architect, Bob founded and led Sabre Labs, a technology incubator that made Sabre the industry leader in new online products and services. Before Sabre, he spent 26 years in the U.S. Coast Guard, where he led the agency's information technology unit. Bob has also served on the faculty of the University of Puget Sound, George Washington University and the University of Southern California. His education includes a B.S. in engineering from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and a master's degree in management science from the U.S. Navy Postgraduate School.

Bob Offutt's Areas of Research
Bob Offutt is a travel technology visionary. His vast experience and hands on leadership in travel distribution make place him firmly at the forefront of innovation in travel. In his role as editorial director of Phocuswright's Innovation Edition and a leader of The Travel Innovation Summit, Bob Offutt knows how to identify the trends, technologies and platforms that will define the future of travel.

Recent Bob Offutt Travel Research

Technology Innovation
May 2016
Travel Innovation and Technology Trends 2016
Travel Innovation and Technology Trends 2016
Subscribers OnlyAnalyst: Bob Offutt

Each year, Phocuswright publishes its picks of the top business and technology trends that will affect the future of travel distribution. Once a technology leader, the travel industry has had difficulty breaking from its past success and embracing the future. This Spotlight highlights newly emerging trends that have the potential to be game changers in travel, and also revisits previously published trends that are gaining momentum, pivoting or both.

Technology Innovation
April 2016
APIs: A Strategic Imperative
APIs: A Strategic Imperative
Subscribers OnlyAnalyst: Bob Offutt

Once considered the exclusive domain of the IT department, developing an effective API strategy is now an imperative for many businesses. Today, open APIs enable companies to improve their products, enter new markets, and generate substantial new revenue streams. This Analysis explores why and how businesses should consider opening their APIs, and highlights several successful key travel-oriented APIs.

Technology Innovation
December 2015
Disruption of the Travel Distribution Industry
Disruption of the Travel Distribution Industry
Subscribers OnlyAnalyst: Bob Offutt

Today, the technology used and services provided by the three major global distribution systems (GDSs) represent the foundational capability for most travel agencies and travel management companies (TMCs) and are realized by the end user through online travel agencies (OTAs) (Expedia, Orbitz, etc.) This GDS capability seems relatively stable and straight forward, but that has not always been the case, nor will it be going forward. The path to the current state has been fraught with numerous startup efforts and road kill on the travel distribution super highway. The saga continues.

This paper is an effort to identify the business initiatives and technology advances that have the potential to disrupt and possibly redefine our current travel distribution system. 

Technology Innovation
October 2015
Secondary Markets for Travel: A Mixed Bag
Secondary Markets for Travel: A Mixed Bag
Subscribers OnlyAnalyst: Bob Offutt

There are a variety of travel products that lend themselves to a secondary-market approach, in which buyers and sellers engage in transactions without the involvement of the original party that offered the product. Examples include sporting events, flights or even hotel rooms. But unlike many secondary markets in the financial sector, these travel products are highly perishable, since they are frequently date-specific. This Analysis takes a fresh look at today’s secondary travel markets, highlighting opportunities as well as potential dead ends.

Technology Innovation
October 2015
Is It Time for Travelforce?
Is It Time for Travelforce?
Subscribers OnlyAnalyst: Bob Offutt

Salesforce is arguably the world’s most popular CRM platform for businesses. Given its success worldwide, it may be interesting to envision what a similar approach to the unique business of travel distribution might look like using a Salesforce-like product designed just for travel agencies and travel management companies. This article addresses the components and implications of a hypothetical “Travelforce.”

Mobile
October 2015
The Path to a Mobile Future
The Path to a Mobile Future
Subscribers OnlyAnalyst: Bob Offutt

A recent Phocuswright study of smartphone usage found that the mobile web is significantly changing how people use the Internet. Global smartphone penetration is phenomenal, exceeding 50% in many markets worldwide. Tablet adoption is on the rise, and the use of smart watches is expected to be significant. In travel, while desktop/laptop computers remain the dominant device for trip planning, tablet and smartphone usage is high and growing.

Technology Innovation
July 2015
Cognitive Computing in Travel: Probable or Pipe Dream?
Cognitive Computing in Travel: Probable or Pipe Dream?
$250 USDAnalyst: Bob Offutt

Cognitive computing, including Intelligent Personal Assistant (IPA) products such as Siri (Apple), Google Now and Cortana (Microsoft), have gained prominence in recent years. While cognitive computing and artificial intelligence (AI) technology is highly challenging, developing an effective business model to monetize the value of these technologies is even trickier. This Analysis explores some recent cognitive computing developments, including their shortfalls and expectations, next steps, and their potential impact on the travel value chain.

Technology Innovation
May 2015
Travel Innovation and Technology Trends 2015
Travel Innovation and Technology Trends 2015
Subscribers OnlyAnalyst: Bob Offutt, Colie Hoffman

Technology has so evolved that we can now use it to observe our own technology-related behavior. In real time, we can see how technology changes our lives, how we interact with it, and how it enables new business opportunities. As the gap between ourselves and our devices shrinks, connectivity and interoperability become more essential to our daily lives – and to commercial progress. For travel companies, competition has grown extremely intense, pushing sales to an all-time high in 2014. Before travel executives select tech investments for 2015 and beyond, they need to consider six major industry trends. All six share the same two focal points: the customer and the trip experience.

Technology Innovation
March 2015
The Future of Airfare Shopping
The Future of Airfare Shopping
$350 USDAnalyst: Bob Offutt

In the early 1990’s, air shopping and booking was largely dominated by four GDSs, which handled communication and data transfer between suppliers, intermediaries and various other points of sale. Today, air shopping is increasingly influenced by a range of other entities and platforms, including metasearch, third-party search, large computer systems on commodity hardware, open source software, large online travel agencies, airline fee reductions and cloud services. This Analysis examines the components of the legacy airfare shopping process, and the new technologies and user expectations that could potentially be the catalysts for reshaping airfare shopping.

Social & Search
November 2014
Collaborative Consumption and the Opportunity for Travel Professionals
Collaborative Consumption and the Opportunity for Travel Professionals
$450 USDAnalyst: Bob Offutt

Collaborative consumption – sometimes known as the sharing or peer-to-peer economy – can empower consumers to take advantage of services and facilities in new and potentially disruptive ways. It can also generate significant business revenue. While Airbnb and Uber are the best-known examples in the travel and transportation category, collaborative consumption is making a mark throughout the entire travel industry ecosystem. This Spotlight considers peer-to-peer services across the travel value chain, providing examples and identifying key issues, risks and opportunities.

More Bob Offutt Travel Research