Creating a more personalized, connected, and sustainable future of travel

Ben Hunt

Group Communications Director, Amadeus IT Group

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It was a good question. Two months later on the third or fourth occasion I found myself at London Heathrow at 7pm on a Sunday night, I understood why I’d been asked.

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During a job interview, a few years back, the interviewer asked me the following question: “This role will involve a lot of travel. Are you OK with that? Will you be able to cope with that?”

“Of course,” I replied. After all, what could be more exciting? A new job, traveling to new places… “You say that now,” she said. “But how are you going to feel when you are on your own in an airport on a Sunday evening having left your family at home?”

Travel is a personal experience, and it can be very emotional. Having never thought too much about it before taking that role, I have thought about it a lot since. Coming to Amadeus has given me the opportunity to consider it from a professional perspective as well as personal.

From a personal perspective, I have come to the following conclusions. When I travel in a professional capacity, I know exactly what I want and how I want it delivered: I want order, predictability, speed and convenience: an aisle seat and carry-on baggage; a standard, anonymous hotel close to my meeting place; a seamless, hassle-free and easy journey that optimizes both time and cost.

When I travel with my family on vacation, I want pretty much the opposite of that. I don’t care where I sit on the plane, only with whom I sit. I like out of the way bed and breakfasts in rural locations, and the joys of table d’hote. I’m quite happy to meander about finding the perfect view or lunch location. I love poring over maps and the internet finding out of the way places and new experiences. There’s nothing quite as exciting as planning a trip like this.

And then irrespective of the purpose of the trip, there is nothing like travel to broaden the mind. The first sight of a teeming Delhi street is a jaw-dropping, eye-opening wonder, one that jars uncomfortably with the opulence of the cities’ business hotels. Helsinki under six feet of snow and minus 30 degrees Celsius is a challenging environment. The pall of smog hanging over so many cities – visible at take-off and landing – is a disturbing reminder of the cost of much of our carbon-hungry human activity. Travel challenges our perception of ourselves, our place in the world and our relationship with others.

At Amadeus, I feel privileged to work at a company that has both the expertise and ambition to shape the travel experience – and specifically in three areas: a personalized future, a connected future and a sustainable future.

We believe that working closely with our industry partners we can deliver technology and tools that will improve the experience of hundreds of millions of travelers each year.  The travelers of tomorrow will be looking for a deeply personal experience, unique to them – built on their preferences but flavored with local knowledge derived through rich social media channels and delivered to the device of their choosing with perfect timing. They will want a seamless, smooth experience – each service connected to the next across all modes of transport and devices. And they’ll want to understand and to influence the impact of their travel and be confident that their providers are doing the same to ensure a sustainable experience for all.

Amadeus has this week launched itsLet’s Shape the Future of Travelcampaign with the aim of facilitating debate and the sharing of ideas and opinions to understand how we can better work within the industry to deliver on the growing expectations of travelers. Over the coming weeks we’ll be sharing ideas on this blog and through other channels that we hope will be a platform for an interactive conversation.

Please join that conversation. Let’s shape the future of travel together.