At World Travel Market this year, I ran a Summit called Future Digital Thinking. I split this into 2 two hour sessions, the first focusing on the hospitality sector and the second on innovative start-ups. I will write a future blog post on the latter but, for now, I would like to talk about hotels and their opportunity to adopt advanced digital technology.
A recent study by Carlson Wagonlit Travel has discovered that business travellers tend to take four technology devices with them on trips. The survey of more than 1,900 business travellers found that, on average, they carry four different types of technology (mobile phone, tablet, laptop, etc.), with the smartphone being the one “travel tool they can’t live without.”
In the last month I was invited by an airline to contribute to a strategy day, an away day for their senior executives to ponder the bigger picture and how they might take their airline forward in the next few years. A few external experts such as me had been invited along to the strategy day. Our purpose was to provide some food for thought to catalyse discussion amongst the executives present.
There are plenty of opinions to be heard about the tech problems that British Airways suffered and the way the downtime was handled. It surely has to rank as one of the worst public relations disasters in the airline’s history.
A couple of weeks ago I was moderating this year’s Eyefortravel Europe conference. There was a mammoth line-up of speakers covering all the important topics of the day. We talked about mobile, personalisation, data, artificial intelligence, disruption and so on. It was a really absorbing event with lots to learn.
In the heady young days of the Internet, we were making predictions about how the web would change the face of travel. A popular prediction amongst ‘thought leaders’ was that the web would catalyse the death of the travel agent. Quite a few did die but quite a few remained. Another sector of the industry was also predicted to undergo a transformation. This was tourism.
In the news this week is the new exhibition starting at the London Science Museum this month. It is called Robots. It will explore humanity’s 500-year quest to recreate ourselves in mechanised form. On display will be a unique collection of over 100 robots, from a 16th-century mechanical monk to the most up to date walking, talking humanoid robots.
I have frequently said that travel is no more than information at the point of sale. When a customer buys travel it is just information on a computer. It does not yet exist. Interestingly, the appeal of the product can grow or shrink depending on the date it will actually be consumed. A room night in Sydney with a view of the New Year’s Eve celebrations has far more appeal than the same room out of season in August.
Once again, I have organised a couple of the technology/digital travel events at World Travel Market this year. I have been doing this for quite a few years. I am one of these people who are quite pedantic about keeping all my electronic files, so I was looking back to see what I had to say in some of my early presentations.
At the beginning of the month I ran the first of my Genesys Happiest Minds Executive Series seminars in partnership with Happiest Minds. The idea is that we will hold regular seminars exploring the most topical and pressing digital transformation issues that are concerning us in today’s travel industry.