We’re creating a more connected travel industry, underpinned by sustainability and long-term investor relations.
Head of Amadeus Ventures
It was fantastic to meet with some of the promising young startups at this year’s South Summit, which brings together top talent from Southern Europe and Latin America. With more than 7,000 attendees, including 3,500 entrepreneurs and 450 investors, the South Summit has already made a name for itself as one of Europe’s leading startup events.
This is the 2nd year Amadeus is sponsoring the event, where the unique setting of La N@ve saw vibrant discussions on the latest disruptive technology trends and a number of key verticals including travel, as startups battled to present their ideas. I had the opportunity to talk about the travel technology trends we’re keeping an eye on, which include:
Personalisation is not just about offering a service that someone wants, but offering it in the way they want to receive it – and when they want to receive it. They expect to be seen as individuals and want to receive information and offers built on their preferences. And they want it delivered in a timely manner to their device of choice. This is a very important concept in travel, because different travellers have wide ranging expectations when it comes to services.
You’ve probably used Airbnb or Uber in the past and these services are going to continue to grow, while posing a threat to traditional business models. The key here is to find a way to coexist with these services by integrating into the travel experience. Participation rates are doubling and the overall market is expected to continue growing very fast, potentially disrupting many areas around travel.
No, we’re not talking about killer robots, rather the much more benign chatbots. With the ubiquity of messaging apps combined with the more intelligent language processing capabilities, chatbots have the potential to offer travel brands an excellent method to interact with customers. We are working very closely with an Israeli startup called Evature to deliver a virtual travel agent over chat.
VR and AR are on the cusp of becoming a mass phenomenon with a number of new devices in the works. The potential of this technology for travel players is limited only by imagination. We have seen early adopters in airlines and hotels using VR to showcase their product. Virtual reality will be a great additional screwdriver in the tool kit when communicating with end travellers.
The internet has already made its way on to our bodies through wearables and now it is permeating our lives even more with integration into our cars and homes. Eventually, intelligent airport ecosystems will spring to life with the ability to detect malfunctions before the even happen. Aircraft would be able to regulate and predict issues that a human operator would miss, informing engineers so they can be ready to fix problems as soon as the plane lands.
The travel industry has many intermediaries, including credit card companies, settlement services, OTAs, and travel management companies (TMCs). The underlying payment process often lacks transparency, and can be lengthy and costly for the supplier who ends up paying different fees to these intermediaries. The Blockchain could make transactions more transparent, and help prevent fraud with its open viewable ledger.
At Amadeus Ventures, we are working to leverage these trends by nurturing new ventures and startups in the travel industry who have brilliant minds and excellent business ideas – something which definitely didn’t fall short at the South Summit, which once again proved itself as a hotbed for innovation. We’re very happy to see this thriving scene in our home ground as we continue to nurture our startup network to play a significant role in travel innovation.
Michael Bayle, Head of Amadeus Mobile, also participated in a fireside chat with Hotel Tonight’s Jared Simon which you can read about here.