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The team at EyeforTravel continues to keep the victims, their families and all affected top of mind as it prepares for this week’s Las Vegas summit

In the run up to EyeforTravel North America 2017 in Las Vegas this week, we round up the interviews and stories.

1. Lola to the rescue of road warriors

Keynote speaker this week in Las Vegas is Paul English, the former co-founder and CTO of Kayak, who is now leading the charge at Lola. Lola launched first with a consumer edge, but has now pivoted to focus purely on business travel. The app is aiming to provide business travellers with highly personalised and relevant services by delivering artificial intelligence with human touch – ie tech, always with an ability to speak to a person.This week we also heard about the diversity and intelligence of Team Lola.

2. The brave new world

One of the biggest puzzles that travel executives face this year is what exactly to make of all the hype around new technologies. Yes, we’re talking the artificial intelligence that powers chatbots, machine and deep learning techniques and more. Taking on this subject on the Day 2 keynote, a provocative discussion from senior executives at HotelTonight, Expedia and Microsoft is expected. As a taster, EyeforTravel interviewed Stuart Greif, Microsoft Senior Executive - Travel/Hospitality, QSR & Transportation Industry Solutions, who believes that “the potential exists for a complete disruption of the current search and distribution paradigm”. More here: How ‘agnostic’ Microsoft is marching into a brave new world. More here too in When cognitive AI, CRM and mixed reality collided.

3. The rise of the anti-brand consumer

The impact of the macro-economic landscape on travel is the theme for one of the morning keynotes on Day 1, to be moderated by Del Ross, a senior advisor, Mckinsey & Company. Executives from Highgate Hotels and Jet Blue Technology Ventures, Viceroy Hotel Group are expected to share some of his key trends and predictions for the future of travel. Sagar Desai, Head of Acquisitions & Development believes travel brands, when thinking about future strategy, need to be thinking carefully, not just about the behaviour of millennials but also their children, the so-called Gen Z’ers. Desai also has an interesting take on rise of the anti-brand consumer. In the US, consumers are increasingly rejecting brands, he says, because it’s just not cool anymore. More here: 3 hospitality trends for an ‘anti-brand’ world

4. Tours & Activities and the end-to-end experience

Increasingly tour and activities are seen as another way to monetise the customer relationship, and a case study from Bókun on Day 1 promises to shine a light on the ways to do so. In a similar vein, there is also a lot of talk about the importance of travel brands focusing on the end-to-end experience - in other words, giving travellers relevant local information and features such as the ability for users to plan activities, find places of interest, book a restaurant and more. As Jeena James, Head of Travel at Google Play, pointed out in an interview with EyeforTravel in August, “more travellers than ever are looking for authentic experiences rather than just checking cities or countries off a bucket list.” Jeena will be picking up on this thread in Las Vegas where she’ll be talking on a panel titled: A mobile-first mindset: from search inspiration to traffic and transactions.

5. Deconstructing the traditional hotel 

In what is becoming a regular on the EyeforTravel conference agenda, two co-founders from the vacation rentals sector will gather for the ‘fireside’ chat about the rise of the non-traditional accommodation model. In a world where Airbnb is booking more room nights than Hilton, what does this mean for start-ups providing vacation rentals services. On this panel Parker Stanberry, co-founder and CEO of Oasis, will speak about what he calls the rise of the deconstructed hotel. Oasis is offering services like check in and professional cleaning, as well as exclusive access to everything from the local health and wellness centre to private members clubs and the local yoga class, and insider tips on the surrounding social scene. Also speaking is Cliff Johnson, co-founder and chief development officer of Vacasa, which is expanding into Europe, and attributes exclusivity and open API partnerships as among the secrets of success.

If you miss the Las Vegas event why not consider an EyeforTravel show in the future – see our events page for what is on the horizon.

Note: 20% of all future tickets sales to this Las Vegas event will be donated to the victims and their families*

EyeforTravel North America 2017

October 2017, Las Vegas (USA)

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