EyeforTravel Amsterdam

November 2018, Amsterdam

Own your Data. Master Digital. Dominate Bookings

Learn from Travel Industry Decision Makers how to Thrive in a Platform Dominated World

Distribution, data science and digital on the travel top table

From distribution dilemmas to skillful data science and why blockchain is now firmly on the agenda, here are three ‘D’s to think about in the run up to Amsterdam

In less than a month, some 300 people will gather for EyeforTravel Amsterdam to discuss some of the threats and opportunities facing the $1.4 trillion industry with some of its biggest innovators. Here is a taster of what to expect.

Distribution: the debate continues

There are just so many things happening in the world of distribution. Booking.com and Expedia are putting the ‘a’ back in agent and are aiming to deliver an all in experience for customers. Meanwhile, Ctrip has just turned 20 and is becoming a global name in travel. Google continues to be a major force to be reckoned with but, aside from it being too much effort, it is unlikely to want to compete with its biggest customers by servicing travel customers. Hotels chains are getting bigger and better and, in the case of some, like Marriott, are becoming more OTA-like. Oh and then, the latest twist in the tale of distribution, has seen the OTAs and wholesalers get into bed with corporate travel platforms like Carlson Wagonlit, which have effectively become metasearch engines. Arguably, this could leave the consumer more confused than ever!

In all this, hoteliers, and especially the smaller chains and independents, are grappling with where to spend their money, and who to partner with. Day 1 keynoter Thomas Magnuson, the CEO of Magnuson Worldwide, who founded his hotel management business back in the noughties, to help independent hoteliers, understands this only too well.

It is always good hear from hotel executives at the coalface, and also speaking on Day 1 is Sanchit Rege, who manages E-Distribution for Europe, Africa, Middle East and South West Asia for Hyatt International. In an exclusive pre-conference interview, Rege explained that the world of distribution “now has modern pipes, where water flows between tanks seamlessly”. With this come many challenges, which Rege will touch on in Amsterdam.

Data science, AI and blockchain: the road we are travelling

A major theme of the Amsterdam show is data science and AI. TUI, a major global tourism company, has made digitalisation and innovation a cornerstone of its growth strategy, and has been on a journey to use AI, data science and blockchain to get there. Day 2 keynoter Aaron Sugarman, TUI’s chief commercial architect, will share success stories, lessons learned and the enablers for future acceleration of AI, as well as why cloud is an important part of the equation.

Also speaking on the subject of data science is Trainline’s Fergus Weldon. As director of data science, Weldon is only too clear that getting it right is no doddle; one of the biggest challenges is finding the right skills and sometimes those are not so obvious.

Air France-KLM has also invested heavily in AI and data science, but has now taken another step forward to establish a blockchain programme. In Amsterdam, Iris Taguet, who is heading up that programme, will share insights into how it is approaching a nascent technology, and about its recent deal with Winding Tree, which is building a blockchain powered decentralised travel ecosystem.

Staying on track with digital

Trainline may be a fast-growing technology first company, but it isn’t the only one. Loco2 is another train booking platform that has been investing in digital and with a particular focus on how mobile can drive lifetime loyalty. Also speaking in Amsterdam is Loco2 CEO David Ashton, who is excited about the firm’s new revolutionary app which, he claims, goes beyond anything the industry has ever seen before. Meanwhile, Eurail Roel Verhagen, head of Eurail e-Commerce will outline why he believes that content really is still king; the firm has even established its very own ‘Content Powerhouse’ and has taken lessons from traditional media to drive this forward.

Forecast to reach $830 billion by 2025, the rail industry is certainly not to be ignored, and nor are digitalisation moves of traditional operators. German rail company Deutsche Bahn is one that is teaming up with digital start-ups to get digital into its DNA. Deutsche Bahn’s MD of digital business, Mathias Hüske, believes this approach helps established companies to benefit from a sense of entrepreneurship, innovation and the disruption potential of the start-ups who look upon an ‘old market’ with fresh eyes.

Join us in Amsterdam (28-29 November 2018) to hear more from TUI, Trainline, Air-France KLM, Deutsche Bahn and a whole lot more 

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