Digital transformation hits the travel industry, so it’s time for travel players to evolve and expand to stay relevant

Jean-Louis Richard

Director, Amadeus Customer Service, Amadeus IT Group

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It was a fantastic experience to welcome in excess of 160 of our global customers to beautiful Monte Carlo for the latest edition of our Travel Leaders Connect event. Decision makers from travel management companies, leisure, online, and metasearch players gathered with a clear topic of focus: it’s time to ‘Evolve, Expand, or Expire’. Digital transformation has already made a big impact, to say the least, on the publishing, music, banking, and retail industries.

Now, the travel industry is similarly being disrupted. Staying ahead of the game means travel players need to continuously ‘Evolve’ and ‘Expand’ their businesses to make sure they don’t ‘Expire’. This call to action was the theme of Travel Leaders Connect and I believe it was well received by our customers. Here are some of the important topics covered at the event:

Key pathways to the future of travel

Amadeus Senior Vice President, Travel Channels, Decius Valmorbida delivered a clear vision on the future of travel distribution. “Travellers are the driving force behind the evolution of our industry. All players want to build loyalty with travellers, but they tend to be agnostic. It is key to know, talk to, delight, and care for customers.” A lot was discussed about how digital transformation and how there is an opportunity to break the mould and know our customers and travellers better, to delight them, and care for them. This is the direction in which we are heading at Amadeus.

Exponential digital transformation ahead

Futurist Gerd Leohnard was on hand to describe just what this digital change will look like. He said that hyper-connectivity, smart everything and intelligent machines are changing the travel business at an increasing faster pace. Anything that can be digitalised, automated and virtualised will be. But he said, “travelling is human, and it’s always about personal experiences. Experience has value, which represents a good bet for the future.”

How to remain relevant in an era of disruption

A variety of panel sessions with industry leaders from different segments, including Air Canada, Accenture and Travix, created great discussion and debate about how to transform their businesses and adopt new best practices to not only remain relevant but also to meet greater success. Increasing customer engagement and delivering experiences to build customer loyalty are some of the key ingredients to stay relevant. A lot was talked about the opportunity to bring greater value to customers when collaborating closer together and co-creating. It’s a win-win for both players and also for the traveller.

Innovation from a different angle

Innovation was a strong buzzword throughout the days of the event. Attendees, whether on stage or off stage, discussed at length the latest trends of the industry and how to prepare for the future. Disruptive innovations force you to step out of your zone, co-creation broadens your vantage point, and new technologies reinvent solutions. The key takeaway is that innovation is a must to be successful.

Thank you to everyone who attended. We look forward to working with each of you to evolve and expand in the future.


Travel Platform, Events