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It takes approximately 51 minutes to walk from the entrance of the the Berlin Messe to the Amadeus stand (in Hall 5.1, Stand 125). As a first-timer to ITB Berlin, I made the hike with a sense of expectation, although I wasn’t sure what I was really in for.
My initial sense of ITB is that “Trade show” is such a boring way of describing this extravaganza of booths representing all corners of the world, with proud employees showing off their products, solutions and services. There’s a real feeling of excitement in the air.
When conversation goes beyond pleasantries, however, external factors dominate the discussion: political climates, elections, the EU, and hope mixed with cynicism about recovering economies.
However, for every negative thought in these 18 packed halls, there are 100 positive. Every booth here is built by people who are resilient, driven and innovative. None more so than in the travel technology hall, where startups, travel agencies, and technology partners care less about Brexit or the U.S. election, and more about how technology can improve a traveller’s experience.
That was certainly the case at the Amadeus stand, where Christoph Gruß from the marketing team at Amadeus Germany told me about some of the projects they are working on.
The most appealing to me was a solution that will use beacons to push information to you in real time. These beacons can recognize a mobile phone passing by and will connect airlines, airports, tour operators, travel agencies and travellers. So, when you get to arrivals, you’ll get useful information on your mobile phone -- for example, about the best route to your hotel. This is just one future-focused area the team is experimenting with, and which will one day improve travellers’ journeys.
I leave my first day at ITB overwhelmed, but excited about what the future holds. It’s clear I’ll rely more than ever on my smart phone (I didn’t think that was possible), and will be collaborating more with other people, whom I’ve never met, to get the best fit for what I need.