We’re creating a more connected travel industry, underpinned by sustainability and long-term investor relations.
Head of Innovation and Ventures, Amadeus IT Group
The El Pais Retina 2016 forum in Madrid brought together start-ups, investors, companies, and political leaders to discuss trends impacting the technology landscape, including the collaborative economy, virtual & augmented reality (VR/AR), the Internet of Things (IoT), and the data journey. Alex Luzárraga, Vice President Corporate Strategy and I were at the forum to discuss a number of interesting trends as observed from our vantage point.
One such trend discussed at length was the collaborative economy, which continues to grow. The collaborative economy is a great example of a strong social trend. It isn’t about the underlying technology, rather it is more of a social movement and change of business model. Success is coming from companies that can build large critical mass on their platforms. Airbnb, for example, is now valued at over $25 billion and is the second largest hospitality player in the world behind Hilton. But they do not own a single hotel, hostel or even bed. They make 3% off of transactions from the property owner and 6-12% from the traveller. This is a huge shift in business models that the tech industry must acknowledge and leverage in the future.
Another trend that made waves at the forum was virtual & augmented reality (VR/AR). Augmented reality is something we feel has the most potential at a destination, whereas virtual reality will be more for trip inspiration and to get a feeling of what a destination will be like before travelling. VR/AR for us is about the evolution of information to make decisions. In the past we did this from text, then pictures, then videos, and now people are talking about a more enriched experience of that information from this technology.
With regards to data, big data was once the reigning trend, however there weren’t many use cases. This forum demonstrated that now people are focusing more on practical use cases to solve with the help of data. Increasing hotel conversion, for example, by understanding your traveller better. This adds money to bottom lines and is something we can all understand.
At Amadeus Ventures, we believe engaging with the start-up ecosystem is critical to grasp new opportunities, trends, changes to business models, and to diversify for the future. How we learn and engage is very important. But how we link this to our strategy and do something together is equally critical. Linking trends to strategy to execution programs to capitalise on results and to educate our company on what is going on out there is a key role for us as a team.
Attending events like this and talking to start-ups every day helps Amadeus stay at the forefront of these trends, ultimately creating more value for our customers and stakeholders. We look forward to doing more exciting pilots with start-ups across all of our business units.
Check out the Twitter hashtag #Retina2016 for the latest news from the forum.