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Technology: the latest trends affecting travel

AI Robot holding tablet_Photo by Owen Beard on Unsplash.jpg
AI Robot holding tablet_Photo by Owen Beard on Unsplash.jpg

Travel Technology Europe returned to Olympia London for two days of innovation, networking and news last month. Andrew Doherty reports on the latest tech trends captivating travel.

Artificial intelligence, New Distribution Capability (NDC) and digital transformation were among the hot topics discussed at Travel Technology Europe (TTE), which celebrated its 16th anniversary in February.


More than 100 technology brands and start-ups attended the exhibition to showcase and sell their wares to prospective buyers, with 120 industry professionals invited to speak at a series of talks and seminars that ran in tandem with the main show.


However, it was at the C-suite Question Time panel that leading marketers, chief information and technology officers convened to talk about how technology was influencing their businesses and travel more generally.


Panellists comprised Emil Majkowski, chief information officer and architect at Rentals United; Simon Hamblin, chief technology officer at dnata Travel; Clare de Bono, head of product and innovation at Amadeus; Phil Scully, chief information officer at Costa Coffee; and Suzie Thompson, vice-president of marketing, distribution and revenue management at Red Carnation Hotels.


Moderating the discussion was Charlotte Lamp Davies, principal consultant at A Bright Approach, who kicked off proceedings by asking speakers how they were embracing technology in 2019.


De Bono said Amadeus would continue to work on NDC – an XML-based communication standard between airlines and travel agents, which offers access to a broader airline inventory from participating carriers, including ancillary products.


“For our agent partners, this means bringing NDC, low-cost carriers and new application programming interfaces (APIs) to a centralised platform.”


From a customer-facing position, Thompson explained Red Carnation Hotels would be future-proofing its marketing strategies.


“We want to have a data cleanup and use artificial intelligence to obtain healthier insights to use in our marketing efforts,” she said.


Meanwhile, at dnata Travel, Hamblin said scalability would take precedence in its tech strategy.


He said: “Apart from bringing all of our legacy systems together, we want to work on our Yalago bedbank brand. The engine is currently handling more than 10 million requests an hour. We want it to cope with 100 million.”

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