“Depending on how old you are, your children, or grandchildren will never drive a car.” Kevin Ashton, the Creator of ‘The Internet of Things’, caught the audience’s attention at the Amadeus Travel Leaders Connect event in Monaco with a bold prediction for the future.
Mr. Ashton discussed the huge impact that the exponential growth of inter-connected digital information, and the ongoing innovations in “sensory devices” – as he describes today’s smartphones – will have on the travel industry today. His second prediction for the travel industry was the opportunity opening up for Travel Agencies to provide value to customers by using this real-time, digital information.
The overriding theme that has been present throughout the event is that change is a constant in the travel industry. From evolving business models, to the inroads being made by the global online retailers, and the constant need for innovation to stay ahead of the requirements of today’s connected consumer.
Holger Taubmann, SVP Distribution at Amadeus, addressed the audience in the first session by highlighting the prevailing trends in the industry today, mentioning artificial intelligence and the traveller’s “digital trail”, which enables travel players to have a 360 view of the traveller and target their offers accordingly.
In the afternoon breakout debates Arlene Coyle, Director Managed Travel, discussed Amadeus’ vision for the future of Managed Travel, urging players to work together to build a more corporate-centric experience, whilst in a separate session Sebastien Gibergues, Head of Leisure Online and Travel media, issued a clear call to arms to the online retailers and digital tour operators in the audience: Merchandise!
Dara Khosrowshahi, President & CEO of Expedia Inc., also highlighted the importance of merchandising during his interview this morning. He described merchandising as a differentiator, and an enabler to become a high yield player, mentioning the Fare Families partnership with Amadeus as one of the elements in Expedia’s strategy.
The last session at the two-day event, which was hosted by Amadeus for multinational Online, Leisure, Metasearch, Specialty and TMC customers, focused on the central theme: the changes that today’s travellers are driving in the industry. In an industry constantly in flux, we are proud of our ongoing investment in technology and innovation in order to play our part in shaping that future, together with our customers.