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Three innovations that helped make travel available to more people

January 26, 2022


By Paula Batten
Senior Director Brand Marketing CWT

Few areas of life have evolved more than travel or been as central to the evolution of societies, birth of new cultures and global innovation.

Travel exists to proliferate experiences and bring people together. And you don’t have to look very far to chart an astronomical growth curve. In 1970 just over 310 million passengers had flown on a plane worldwide. By 2019 that number grew to 4.5 Billion. While the percentage of people who have flown relative to world population remains small, pandemic-bolstered digital acceleration will only serve to democratize travel further.

Machine learning, artificial intelligence, payment options and more will continue to ease the process of travel making it more accessible and affordable.

CWT turns 150 this year. From the company’s early days inventing the world’s first sleeper car in 1872 to our current role in the evolution of travel distribution, here are 3 inventions that have transformed travel in our company’s lifespan.

  1. Travel distribution
    IBM and American airlines completed the creation of the first computer reservation system in 1964, thus establishing the base of the GDS as we know it today. Today all eyes are on the next iteration of travel distribution commonly referred to as NDC.

    In 2021, CWT celebrated the first-ever tickets issued using a corporate booking tool, Cytric and off-line on Amadeus’ Selling Connect Platform.

  2. Changes to ticketing
    Prior to 1804, tickets were hand-written.  The first passenger train in 1804 launched the printed ticket, with details of the point of departure, a destination and a passenger.

    1969: The first magnetic tickets were issued on the Paris Metro, making it faster and easier to move around.

    2007: The advent of smart phones and technology allowed two devices to exchange information, marking the dematerialized travel ticket.

    2011: CWT launched its mobile services offering with a free mobile services application that allows travelers to access their travel itineraries directly from their mobile devices while on their trips.

    2022: CWT will make car and rail bookings easier by bringing them into its myCWT platform on web and mobile.

  3. Extending networks
    Building networks whether in routes or computer networks has helped deliver more options to more people.

    1800s: Rail networks extended across continents during this period

    1920s:  Airline networks extended rapidly as new technology enabled longer routes and the ability to carry more passengers

    1928: Full-service Wagons-Lits agencies spring up in rail ticket offices throughout Europe.

    1930s: Telex, originally developed to share military messages, connected teleprinters to each other over voice telephone lines, as opposed to pricey dedicated telegraph lines

    1969: the ARPANET is the first large-scale, general-purpose computer network to connect different kinds of computers together.

    2006: CWT finalized acquisition of Navigant International, extending its network in North America and reinforcing its presence in Asia Pacific

    2019: CWT launched myCWT platform.  Multi-channel, travel buyers and their traveling employees can choose how to access the travel services they need .

Following the recent announcement of a $100 million investment in the myCWT travel management platform and innovative products, CWT will continue to shape the world of business travel by bringing traveler wellbeing centre stage, making sustainable business travel available to more people, delivering smart solutions that drive personalization, bringing to life a new air distribution model and so much more.