There are plenty of opinions to be heard about the tech problems that British Airways suffered and the way the downtime was handled. It surely has to rank as one of the worst public relations disasters in the airline’s history.
A couple of weeks ago I was moderating this year’s Eyefortravel Europe conference. There was a mammoth line-up of speakers covering all the important topics of the day. We talked about mobile, personalisation, data, artificial intelligence, disruption and so on. It was a really absorbing event with lots to learn.
In the heady young days of the Internet, we were making predictions about how the web would change the face of travel. A popular prediction amongst ‘thought leaders’ was that the web would catalyse the death of the travel agent. Quite a few did die but quite a few remained. Another sector of the industry was also predicted to undergo a transformation. This was tourism.
Once again, I have organised a couple of the technology/digital travel events at World Travel Market this year. I have been doing this for quite a few years. I am one of these people who are quite pedantic about keeping all my electronic files, so I was looking back to see what I had to say in some of my early presentations.
Do you remember the story from 2009 of the flying Dutchman? He was looking forward to visiting his family in Wollongong and Tallong, just South of Sydney. Accompanied by his 15 year old grandson, they departed Amsterdam and after a change of planes at Halifax, finally touched down in Sydney. I guess they might have been surprised at how short the journey was as they had arrived in Sydney, Nova Scotia, not Australia. They had booked flights to the wrong place.
TripAdvisor is the largest travel site on Earth. Its statistics are staggering. In Q3 2015, it reported reaching 350 million unique monthly visitors. It has more than 290 million reviews and opinions, covering more than 5.3 million accommodations, restaurants, and attractions.
At this time of year, it is always fun to try and predict what significant happenings are going to take place in the coming twelve months. Thankfully, no one bothers to check back at the end of the year to see how wrong one was! One thing I have been saying for a while is that the new norm is to expect the un-normal and this is not going to change for 2016.