A half-day Online Travel Executive Retreat, organized jointly by Amadeus and WebInTravel, was held in conjunction with The Phocuswright Conference 2019.
“Our event theme was how to navigate the perfect storm,” says Mieke De Schepper, executive vice president for online travel and managing director in Asia Pacific for Amadeus. “All the activities that are happening in the industry are creating a perfect storm and in 3-5 years, the world we operate in will be totally different.”
As De Schepper she sees it, four forces are converging to create challenges for online travel agencies who are at the centre of the storm: consumer channel change, competition consolidation, content chaos and connectivity combat - all of which are amplified by tech disruption with AI, 5G, blockchain and machine learning.
The group first took a leisurely cruise down the Miami Intracoastal waterway to the private island, and met the owner of the villa, which provided the setting for the retreat. “His was an interesting story, how he bought it five years ago and turned it into the house of his dreams.”
The business discussion, facilitated by Yeoh Siew Hoon, founder at WebInTravel, asked the leaders to identify what they felt were pivotal moments that happened in travel in 2019 and that would have impact on the industry 2020 and beyond.
The leaders then broke out into groups to brainstorm opportunities and recommendations with which to face those waves of change.
“All in all, it was a very insightful day. It is amazing the creativity and inspiration that can be unleashed when bright minds come together in a unique setting, it was a true collaboration in charting the future,” says the WebInTravel founder.
Adds De Schepper: "We were encouraged by the frank and heated discussions about the future – how everything was changing and how no one can afford to stay at status quo. From geo-political tensions to tech giants getting into travel and hot topics such as sustainability, some real issues were raised and some great ideas were shared.”
* A full report from the event will be available soon.
* Check this video interview in PhocusWire Studio at The Phocuswright Conference with De Schepper and Kei Shibata, co-founder and CEO at Venture Republic.
Partner Interview: Amadeus (PhocusWire @ Phocuswright Conference 2019)