In part one of our interview with Mike Valkevich, we discussed the trends shaping next generation technology especially in the mobile and online spheres. Today, we’ll delve into what the future of travel technology will look like.
How does travel data fit into the picture for the future?
In the industry there has been a lot of discussion about “Big Data” and I don’t want to downplay the importance of using information in a more effective way. But as an industry we are still only at the beginning of determining the role that data can and should play in shaping the travel experience. What is the value of a traveler’s digital footprint? How do we use data to package and present a targeted experience to travelers? There are lots of places for significant investment and advancement. Organizations like Amadeus will absolutely be focused on using travel data to develop innovative solutions that the industry needs and are relevant to travelers.
What technology are you most excited about?
Well, it irks me that my parents’ generation had commercial supersonic flight available to them and I don’t. That, to me, is really exciting technology (I’ll get over it someday). But I’d have to say I’m most excited about high-speed rail. I live in Spain, and the Renfe system is my favorite way to get around. If more national rail carriers around the world connect and invest in adopting newer high-speed technology, it will be a tremendous value for travelers. If you look at what’s happened with the high speed rail service between Madrid and Barcelona as an example, there’s an opportunity for very successful investment in this area. And I can’t keep myself from thinking of New York City and my hometown of Boston as an excellent candidate for high-speed rail.
How will the industry need to adapt to cater to the next generation of travellers?
That’s a tough question but the key factor will be continuing to listen and anticipate what tomorrow’s consumers will want and need and what they will expect from their travel experience. I think that the travel suppliers will increasingly try to identify and reward loyal customer behavior with new tools. Social branding has been a good first step, especially with hotels looking to build brand equity with repeat guests. There is a great opportunity to evolve their loyalty programs in an intelligent way and to rise above the “beige”, if you know what I mean.