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.
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.