trivago reports on World Travel Market London 2017: key topics and highlights.
This year’s World Travel Market London has started off strong.
It’s started off on a very positive note as well, with the official unveiling of the World Travel Market 2017 Industry Report. Based on the findings within, it appears that attitudes about industry growth in the year to come are quite positive among those at the heart of the business.
A whopping 74 percent of the WTM delegates surveyed ahead of this leading global event expect the industry to grow. “Industry optimism,” the report calls it. And it’s even stronger where bookings are concerned: 84 percent said they expected bookings to increase in 2018.
“A sure sign that the industry is on the up,” the authors have written. The creativity, innovation, and sheer extravagance displayed by this year’s exhibitors, not to mention the heavy foot-traffic wearing grooves into the exhibition floor, all point to the same.
The industry is growing, and it’s pretty darn exciting for those who stand to gain from such growth.
Key to capitalizing on emerging new opportunities is understanding how the industry is set to evolve as it grows.
Where exactly is it going, then?
Toward greater responsibility and sustainability
Responsible and sustainable tourism is a big topic of discussion these few days at ExCel London — and will be all across the world in the years to come.
Exhibition organizers have dedicated an entire stage as a platform to increase awareness about responsibility and sustainability in tourism: how far we’ve come as an industry, and how many hurdles we have yet to overcome.
And overcoming them is not an option. It’s a moral imperative. Tourism is both a cause and a victim of climate change, not to mention its entanglement in other nefarious areas, such as “orphanage tourism” and human trafficking.
The good news is that the industry is steering itself on a more ecologically and socially responsible path. There’s a growing trend of hotels taking action to reduce CO2 emissions and water usage, to empower staff to recognize and reports signs of human trafficking.
The benefits of taking such strides extend beyond knowing that we are doing our part to protect and better our world: By reducing its carbon footprint, Jon Procter, Chief Executive of Green Tourism, tells us that a hotel can increase its occupancy.
But more on that in a forthcoming article. Stay tuned.
In pursuit of personalization
If this event has a buzzword, it’s “personalization.”
Virtually every event speaker is touching upon it — and certainly every event speaker who’s discussing any kind of technology is diving into it.
So what is personalization, and how can it be applied?
Simply, it’s the science and art of providing the best experience possible by treating each guest as an individual at every stage of their customer journey. A science, because it involves leveraging data and technology. And an art, because actually, there is no one single way to personalize the guest experience. It’s about finding the right style.
“It really doesn’t have to be that complicated,” Inspiretec’s Luke Francis assures us.
Fostering and nurturing relationships with potential, present, and previous guests through personalization can be as simple as collecting basic data on guest preferences and using it to make their stay all the more memorable. Of course, it can also be as complex as harnessing artificial intelligence and machine learning.
But when it comes to personalization, more isn’t necessarily better, we’re hearing.
From targeting the right audience with the right marketing content to recommending relevant auxiliary services, the trick to personalization is finding a balance that works.
Deeper into the heart of a technology-driven revolution
It’s clear to everyone that the industry is already very much in the throes of a technology-driven revolution.
And we’ve far from seen the end of it.
trivago’s Global Head of Hospitalty, José Murta, rounded off day one of WTM London 2017 on the Global Stage discussing “The Future of Technology in Travel and Hospitality,” along with fellow panellists Guy Stephenson, Chief Commercial Officer, Gatwick Airport; David Chappell, Head of Technology, Gray Dawes Group; and Andy Mallinson, Managing Director and Chief Marketing Officer, Stackla; as well as moderator Paul Richer, Senior Partner, Genesys Digital Transformation.
The industry thought leaders examined what’s on the hotel-tech horizon, how evolving technologies are going to shape and shake up the industry, and how these changes can be embraced and even capitalized on.
Artificial intelligence, machine learning, and technology that’s faster and smarter and more affordable than ever before — this is the stuff of the future of technology.
It’s thrilling — but also alarming, because it would seem that the development of fancy new technology is largely out of synch with hoteliers’ needs. This is especially true when it comes to independent hoteliers, José revealed.
Before even considering integrating innovative new technologies to say, personalize the guest experience with speech recognition, hoteliers need to focus on the most basic of technological advances: actually getting online.
“Everyone is talking about direct bookings, but most hotels don’t even have a website to be able to get those bookings,” José said, underlining the urgency to remedy this situation. “It’s 2017!” Considering that online bookings are predicted to overtake offline bookings in just a few years, his insistence that it’s time for hotels to embrace technology is understandable.
Once independent hotels have caught up with where the industry is now in the tech revolution, then they can start to look at where it’s headed: technology that defies imagination.
And at stand GV520, we’re right in the thick of it. Our team of product developers and designers have set up a testing station at the stand, appropriately called the “trivago Lab,” and are inviting hoteliers to come try out and provide feedback on new features. So if you’re attending the show, be sure to stop by and have an impact of the future of technology.