Are we there yet? Yes and no, depending on
who you ask in the travel, tourism and hospitality industry.
The promise of a digital-led business,
first put forward by a disparate range of entrepreneurs with big ideas and a
handful of forward-thinkers in the 1990s, is here. In reality, it’s been here
for some time.
But as we near the end of the decade, we
can legitimately ask ourselves if the journey is now complete.
From the dawn of the jet age to the birth
of the first scrappy online travel agencies, the pace of travel innovation may
not have been consistent, but its forward motion has been constant.
While these technologies and concepts have
indeed fueled startups, pivots and strategic shifts, none have upended travel
as we know it, or delivered on their most optimistic promises. Yet.
This year at The Phocuswright Conference,
we once again bring together travel's brightest leaders to take stock of our
industry's past and plot its future.
And, we will ask them if the milestones that
were expected have been reached?
Here’s what to expect (and why it matters):
- EXECUTIVE INTERVIEWS: The giants of the
online travel industry are enjoying their lofty positions, making (and
spending) billions in revenue and setting the standard for others to follow.
But if the likes of Glenn Fogel of
Booking Holdings, Mark Okerstrom of
Expedia Group or Steve Hafner of KAYAK
think they’ve reached their destination, then there is hope for everyone else.
- INVESTORS: These are the people that
back new ideas, cutting-edge technology (such as blockchain, voice and AI) and new
ways of thinking. They certainly do not want the industry to rest on its
laurels, even if they are perhaps more discerning with their cash than the
care-free days of old.
- THRIVING SECTORS: Tours and activities rightly
remains the self-proclaimed sector of the moment, yet the aforementioned giants
elsewhere in the industry are muscling in with big ambitions and goals to
connect the still fairly unconnected operator base. Should the heavily funded
specialists (GetYourGuide and Klook, both of which are participating) should beware?
- AVIATION: This is not hyperbole -
airlines, agency intermediaries (on- and offline) and technology companies are
preparing for a revolution. Behind the NDC-led debates of the last few years, a
more fundamental change is coming, encompassing the potential for new business
models and processes such as ONE Order.
- WHAT ELSE? Sessions with leading
executives representing the ever-growing alternative accommodations segment ...
Spotlight on revolutionized transportation and how travelers interact with the
cities they live in and visit ... Personalization of privacy … and more.
But don’t take the industry’s word for it.
There are other, equally influential and knowledgeable figures in the digital
world that should and will be heard.
Swisher was once described as Silicon Valley's
"most-feared and well-liked journalist" in a profile piece for New York Magazine.
She has a contact book to die for and is
hugely respected for her knowledge of both the startup and tech worlds.
Now, the editor at large for tech media
site Recode and host of the Recode Decode podcast is one of a number of high-profile
names to also lend their brains and experience of the tech world and digital
travel economy at The Phocuswright Conference 2019.
View the growing list of 2019 speakers here.
Check: Other highlights
and more on the “Are We
There Yet?” theme.
deadline: Save $500 on Phocuswright Conference
tickets until August 30 – register now.