Travel Technology Europe (February 20-21) is returning to Olympia London for two days of innovation, networking and technology news. Andrew Doherty takes a sneak peek at what visitors can expect from the event.
Travel Technology Europe (TTE) is back and celebrating its 16th anniversary this year.
Featuring more than 100 brands and start-ups working in the travel technology sector, the two-day, free-to-attend exhibition will also welcome 120 professionals for a series of talks and seminars that will run in tandem with the main event.
Hot topics slated for discussion across the show’s three theatres include the Internet of Things, New Distribution Capability (NDC), cybersecurity, blockchain and personalisation. Conference director Mark Frary, who has been working closely with TTE’s 18 advisory board members in the run-up to the event, says visitors can expect a more streamlined experience this year.
“We have broken the conference down into three streams – Inside, Interaction and Innovation – to make it easier for visitors to identify the sessions that are the most relevant to them based on their business’s challenges,” he says.
“‘Inside’ addresses internal business issues; ‘Interaction’ will look at how brands can connect with travellers, and ‘Innovation’ focuses on forward-thinking topics and technology.”
Frary says each keynote talk will be staggered so visitors can attend all three.
“Must-attend sessions include Nicolas Dussart from Google Assistant talking about how brands must adapt their interactions to customers; Sharon Moore MBE, chief technology officer at IBM Travel and Transportation, who will be discussing women in travel tech; and the C-suite Question Time, featuring experts from dnata, Amadeus, Costa, Red Carnation Hotels and Rentals United.”
This year, TTE will also take on a “Travel 2022” theme, which Frary says will address the challenge of developing a successful long-term business strategy.
“Looking ahead 12 months is never going to be enough to develop a future-proof strategy. Three years ahead, though, you can start taking a more visionary approach,” he explains.
A key element of the Travel 2022 theme will be the show’s Innovation Playground – a dedicated area where established companies can showcase their latest products. Delegates include Austella, Ascot-based digital content creators that specialise in virtual and augmented reality; AtmosVR, experts in 3D scanning; and EXP360, which offers VR solutions for sales, marketing and training processes.
Meanwhile, “Innovation 20:19, which takes place on February 21, will see industry thought leaders work against the clock to get their message across to the audience using only 20 slides. After 19 seconds, each slide will automatically move on, meaning the presenter must be as concise as possible. Afterwards, the audience will vote for their favourite presentation.
The Launchpad area and Disrupt Awards at TTE will see 10 startups showcase their products and services to help buyers source the latest industry innovations.
Finalists will then take part in a Dragons’ Den-style pitching session to present their idea to a panel of judges, with the winners receiving a free stand at TTE 2020.
Here, three tech entrepreneurs tell us how their products can benefit the travel industry:
TripX Tech provides tour operators, OTAs and tourist boards with an in-destination application for booking custom tours, activities and ancillary products. Founder Waseem Nasir says the app means travel companies will be able to offer after sales support.
“We offer content management systems, API integration and trip planning software that are a cost-effective way for travel companies to generate revenue
in-resort,” says Nasir.
Nasir will give his expert opinion on the topic with John Melchior, director of business development at Sports Events 365, at the “Are tours and activities your new favourite revenue stream?” session, which looks at how companies can capitalise on increasing demand for experiential travel.
Blockchain-based platform Travel Ledger’s creators say it has been designed, to replace the “fragmented” reconciliation and settlement processes in the industry. The system stores and shares all billing records between buyers and sellers in a decentralised ledger, with subsequent releases focusing on automating payments so funds won’t have to go through a third party.
Roberto Da Re, founder of the Travel Ledger Alliance, says the system will work in a similar fashion to Iata’s Billing and Settlement Plan (BSP), which airlines use to manage their distribution network.
“Based on our research, if travel companies had a similar platform to automate their non-air product settlement, they would reduce their financial reconciliation effort by up to 80%,” says Da Re.
“This is because travel is a highly transactional and fragmented industry, and each company buys and sells to hundreds of others, creating a data aggregation and reconciliation problem when all the data is received using a mix of Excel files, PDFs and proprietary formats.
“Travel Ledger can also provide services such as integrated payment processing and document archiving, but data exchange is our core offering.”
The software platform enables users to create personalised, data-driven video content, before sending customised emails to potential clients, then converting the sale with a final “interactive push”.
Founder and managing director Matthew Cooper says Hopper can increase levels of client engagement, converting fresh enquiries into sales or re-engaging dormant customers.
“Customers expect a one-to-one sales experience, and we provide that with the most powerful medium, video. Hopper automatically sends personalised, tracked videos. When the videos are watched, the viewer gets an interactive call to action.
“Hopper can be used as a standalone platform or integrated into a CRM system. It also creates personalised emails with the video appearing to be embedded within it.”