Embracing disruptive technology in the Age of Traveller Power

Bart Bellers

Senior Advisor, Business Development, Amadeus Asia Pacific

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At a recent event in New Delhi, I had the opportunity to talk about some of the things we’re doing at Amadeus to push innovation forward and foster start-ups to become disruptive forces in the travel industry.


This really got me thinking. Just what is the next disruptor in travel? If I actually knew the answer to that question, then I would probably be working in a garage starting a new business. I would keep it secret until it was ready to launch and then become an overnight billionaire! But why keep it a secret? History has proven that even if I would tell you what the next disruptor is, you would still not believe me.


Take Kodak’s Steven Sassonfor example. He and his team created the first digital camera ever in 1975. But when he took his idea to the board, they didn’t believe him and said “no one wants to look at their pictures on a television set”. So the idea was shelved for nearly 15 years because they felt it would threaten their lucrative film business. In the short term they may have been right. But in the long term they were hopelessly wrong, because all it did was delay the technology. By the time the company embraced digital, it was too late and Kodak filed for bankruptcy in 2012.

From our perspective here at Amadeus, it’s the traveller. Today, we are in the Age of Traveller Powerwhere the rules are dictated by the end consumer. In this age and beyond, travel providers need to see the traveller as more than a set of demographics, and truly understand their wants, values, and behaviours. More than ever they need to adapt their approach to appeal to different Traveller Tribeswho are searching for unique and personalised travel experiences. Travel agents, airlines, hotels and even airports now need to embrace and adopt technology faster than ever before to survive and thrive.

Connecting the dots

Our strategy is to build and expand the travel ecosystem, to be the hub between all existing and new travel players and to connect the dots to further shape the future of travel. To execute upon this strategy and stay at the forefront of disruptive technology, we have a launched a programme specifically targeted at start-ups in Asia Pacific called Amadeus NEXT.

Amadeus NEXT is designed to nurture, mentor and partner with travel start-ups in Asia Pacific. The programme leverages our technology, expertise, reach and funding to evolve new and original ideas in travel. Amadeus NEXT also drives an internal culture of lean thinking through internal hackathons and a start-up academy.

And these are not just words, Amadeus NEXT is all about action. We launched the programme externally with a Start-up Weekendthat took place in Bangkok with a dedicated focus on travel and it was a great success.

In the coming months we are planning similar initiatives in Asia Pacific as we embrace the Age of Traveller Power and seek to position travellers as the new disruptive force in the travel industry.


Asia Pacific, Startups, Research