The Travel Technology Initiative hosted the Future of Travel Distribution summit in the Strand Palace Hotel in London last week where several emerging and leading travel sector companies gathered to discuss where the distribution of travel via technology could be heading, and hear presentations from major travel distribution brands, including Expedia, Monarch, Travel Republic, Living Social.
Also among the speakers was entrepreneur Alfredo Ouro who presented his company Hall St, and its innovative model for community hotel room booking. Based on the premise that a lot of hotel rooms are left empty when plans change Hall St aims for people to book hotel rooms through their service instead, with the opportunity to re-sell the room on a peer-to-peer online community if they need to. It made us think of some similarities with @Twickets (which uses Twitter to facilitate peer-to-peer ticket reselling in the UK).
John McQuillan, President of Open Jaw –a travel distribution technology company – discussed the power of a viral share using social media, and shared a viral thought-provoking online video on the power of social media today. Point to take away? “the ROI of social media is that your business will exist in 5 years time”.
Laurie Diffey from Monarch discussed their business infrastructure; “We are effectively dealing with the end-user, predominantly consumer rather than business customers. (mainly B2B, or B2B2C!)”. Diffey shared that Monarch’s business objectives going forward are to increase touch points, self-service and increase revenue via innovation technologically.
Early in the day our very own Sergio Falletti presented on mobile apps; and namely how to make them commercially successful in today’s market. His take-away tips?
Before embarking on creating an app for your business, consider:
• your own infrastructure
• the cost of ownership (rather than just the cost of getting the app to launch
and, most importantly:
• don’t forget the user!
Prioritizing user experience is close to our hearts as we believe if the user loves using your app, its highly likely it will be a success!
Elsewhere we heard from Seamus MacCormaic from Expedia & Hotels.com who shared that 10M users had downloaded their app so far, which compliments a 138 mobile sites worldwide for the company. Peter Matthews, Nucleus shared that luxury sites are on track for >30% mobile traffic by end-2012 and that mobile browsing of travel websites more than doubled in the past 12 months to an average 20.5% of all traffic surveyed.
Overall a common theme amongst the speaker’s presentations were on the fragmentation of travel distribution – and the opportunities and challenges that this disruption poses, with mobile technology high on the agenda for travel company’s who are banking on a bright future.