I was at a conference the other day and, whilst awaiting the first speaker’s presentation, I was chatting with the lady next to me. I am not sure how it came up in conversation, but the subject we started talking about was customer loyalty programmes and their associated loyalty cards.
Quite a few years ago (pre-Internet) I was commissioned to carry out a feasibility study for a large telecommunications organisation. The idea was to test the concept of an electronic transport marketplace (ETM) covering the whole of mainland United Kingdom.
Catalysed by the recent hive of activity surrounding GDPR, a few strands of thought from the past and present have come together in my mind to extrapolate a view on how our personal information might be managed in the far future.
The news that Etihad passengers will be able communicate with the airline via WhatsApp got me thinking about my own messaging apps. I use quite a few. On my mobile I have Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger, Skype, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Viber and good old SMS. Apart from SMS, they all provide global communication for free.
I don’t know about you but I have been to quite a few presentations on blockchain and read plenty of articles on the subject. I now think I understand what blockchain is all about, but no one has proposed an application for the technology within the travel industry that would be properly useful.
At World Travel Market this year, I ran a Summit called Future Digital Thinking. I split this into 2 two hour sessions, the first focusing on the hospitality sector and the second on innovative start-ups. I will write a future blog post on the latter but, for now, I would like to talk about hotels and their opportunity to adopt advanced digital technology.
A recent study by Carlson Wagonlit Travel has discovered that business travellers tend to take four technology devices with them on trips. The survey of more than 1,900 business travellers found that, on average, they carry four different types of technology (mobile phone, tablet, laptop, etc.), with the smartphone being the one “travel tool they can’t live without.”
In the last month I was invited by an airline to contribute to a strategy day, an away day for their senior executives to ponder the bigger picture and how they might take their airline forward in the next few years. A few external experts such as me had been invited along to the strategy day. Our purpose was to provide some food for thought to catalyse discussion amongst the executives present.
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.