We’re creating a more connected travel industry, underpinned by sustainability and long-term investor relations.
Last week’s Mobile World Congress proved just how important mobile will be in making travel more connected, personalised, and sustainable with a number of fascinating presentations and exhibits presented by tech players from around the world.
On the event’s first day, the Eyefortravel Conference, brought together more than a dozen board level travel industry executives from airlines, OTAs, tour operators, and travel media among others, to examine how mobile, data, and innovation will determine which companies prosper in the future. Despite the variety of each of their respective industries, the executives confirmed the importance of mobile as a travel distribution channel. Expedia Worldwide Senior Vice President of Retail, Gary Morrison, talked about doing more than 1,000 randomised experiments with two variants and 100 – 200 versions of their mobile site in a year to make sure the customer experience is good. Morrison said they take it so seriously that they have a lab to test people’s dopamine levels to experiment with what makes them tick when purchasing travel.
Many of the executives mentioned the importance of having a single view of their customers and how it is important to recognise the same customer as they come through different channels (mobile, online, call centre, etc.). They also shared their views on personalisation and the necessity to understand the context of a customer’s purchasing decision.
During event as a whole, I heard a lot about the ‘internet of things ’ (IoT), which I expect everyone in the travel industry will be hearing more about in the coming years. Defined as physical objects embedded with internet connectivity that effectively makes them ‘smart’ – the IoT is playing a greater role in the automobile industry and MWC 2015 reflected this as the event almost seemed like a car showroom, with numerous new technologies on display. A trend that I found especially pertinent to the travel industry was the incorporation of destination content (i.e. hotels, restaurants, tourist attractions) inside of the vehicles themselves.
In relation to the B2B world, the IoT could be used in logistics to keep track of supply chain with remote machines that regularly send performance data. In travel, for example in airports and airlines this could mean helping to keep track of cargo and small vehicles. It could also help rental car companies find cars more easily, and even help truck companies keep an eye on fuel levels. Amadeus is working on ways to provide a more connected, personalised , and sustainable travel experience through a deeper understanding of travellers and their preferences in different circumstances. Mobile will be an integral part of achieving this vision and MWC 2015 showed that technology is rapidly creating new opportunities for travel players.
Were you at MWC 2015? From a travel industry perspective, what did you think of some of the new technologies on display?