DataArt Hosts Inaugural Question Time Event in London

DataArt’s Travel & Hospitality Practice hosted an inaugural Question Time event, headlined The Always Connected Traveller - But Is the Industry Connected? at London’s Charlotte Street Hotel on June 19, 2013.

The event was based on the popular BBC question time format. Speakers included Hugo Burge, CEO of Momondo Group, Dmitry Bagrov, SVP at DataArt, Alex Gisbert, Chief Marketing Officer of Lowcostbeds, Paul Godman, Industry Manager Travel at Google and Stuart Nassos, COO of Totalstay.

The panel, led by Kevin May, founder and editor of Tnooz, discussed how companies can reach consumers in every channel at every hour and how in-destinations services have evolved over the past few years through greater personalization and social media. The event brought together over 60 senior travel professionals from companies including lastminute.com, Hotel.com, Triometric, Collette Worldwide, iRiS Software, Miki Travel, Travelzoo, Comtec, JacTravel, iCrossing and Vestibule Solutions among others.

“We felt there was a gap in the market for these types of events. The aim was to bring senior peers together in an intimate setting and allow for opinions to be aired and discussed. DataArt very much wants to be part of these discussions and we see our involvement in organizing these as a way of giving something back to the sector”, said Charlotte Lamp Davies, VP of Sales & Hospitality, Europe.

Key Takeaways:

Roaming Charges: Challenge or Opportunity for the Travel Industry?

Challenge: The always connected traveller is not a reality as everyone switches off their data connection when abroad. The opportunity, therefore, is to create and promote apps that work offline (downloadable Google maps, for example) and provide local travel info.

Customer Experience

The more touch points (mobile, social and offline), the more purchases. The key for the travel industry is to better understand touch point sequences (for example, one might surf the internet on their commute home, conduct more detailed research on tablet once home, and book a holiday the next day on PC). Understanding this sequence is also important in optimising advertisement opportunities.

The Relevance of Travel Agencies

The traditional travel agency is still a key distribution channel for the industry. However, their role has plateaued after a period of decline and so their next challenge will be in customer service investment (for example, 24/7 access and multilingual capabilities).

Content Marketing: Fad or Replacing SEO?

Content is still king and no fad is currently as low-cost, relevant and efficient. The opportunity here is for the travel industry to keep customers loyal so they won't go anywhere else.

Challenges in the Next Three Years:

  • Wearables becoming mainstream
  • Further evolution of smartphones
  • Personalisation