Greg Abbott - DataArt
Greg Abbott leads the travel and hospitality arm at DataArt Solutions. From his current role as well as previous positions, he has gained wide knowledge and experience of travel technology, retail travel and distribution.
In a series of interviews with executives participating at the event in Florida in November, PhocusWire finds out what makes them tick...
What was your childhood aspiration?
My childhood aspirations were quite whimsical depending on nearby influences and inputs. One day I wanted to be a fireman, the next a mountain climber.
Growing up, I was exposed to a great deal of diversity. I was fascinated by stories of courage and adventure. A few repeating themes: my interest in geography (I had a globe that I would study for hours), a subscription to National Geographic, and a passion for (and healthy fear of) the ocean. There’s a breadcrumb trail there for how I became mixed up in the travel industry.
Who is the person you most admire within the industry or externally?
I admire a lot of people. On the personal front, I admire my incredible wife! In the business world, I admire those who face adversity head on against great odds, with courage, integrity and fortitude, in humility willing to accept failure as part of a greater process, and who keep moving forward towards their dream despite the booing.
This week, I’m admiring Eliud Kipchoge who recently stunned us all by running a sub two hour marathon! (and last week I was admiring Daryl Morey who exercised freedom of speech (even if the tweet was deleted!).
What travel trend are you watching closely right now and why?
From a technical perspective: Digital trends tied to Data volume and utilization. Digital’s impact is incredibly profound and will continue to shake our industry’s foundations, creating opportunity (and challenges) for organizations operationally, technically and culturally.
From a passion/personal perspective: responsible travel/overtourism. The impact/outcome is in the hands of those of us influencing and leading the future of our wonderful industry.
Travel Trend: Google. As predicted, every move Google makes (in travel) reverberates throughout our ecosystem.
In fact, some of the most interesting trends are not unique to travel. This is one of the advantages of working for a company that serves multiple verticals, we’re constantly seeing how lead or lagging trends are adopted in other industries.
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If you weren't in travel, what company would you like to be part of and why?
Any company where I can teach surfing!
I’m not entirely sure I could pay the mortgage while working for such a company, but I take tremendous pleasure watching people find their own “stoke” from a sport that has brought me endless joy.
If we want to take it a step further, the business should tie back to sustainable oceans, I personally love the work that www.4oceans.com is doing.
What do you consider to be the most important invention in the digital world in the last 20 years?
“Most important”... hmmm, tough qualifier! For me, it is a toss up between: “modern” search (in quotes because technically, I believe search itself was invented > 20 years ago??) or cloud computing technology.
Both advancements have catapulted so many other inventions forward.
I’d say my personal favorite most important digital invention is peer2peer platforms. I’m fascinated (and would NEVER have predicted) that the digital era would facilitate the birth of so many new P2P markets.
What element in the industry do you consider is still the most difficult to measure?
UX. Sure, today we can track click behavior, and have been using eye tracking on page views for a few years now. That said, at present, few dimensions beyond these are truly measurable or used to enhance products and services. I expect this to radically change as we see the industry adopt more towards retailing. Think of the massive and yet untapped amount of behavioral information which can translate to a better, more intuitive User Experience (powered by AI) as we continue to study and understand our users.
When was the last time you spoke to one of your customers, and why?
I speak to our customers often. I sincerely love how we help our clients solve technical problems, provide information to make wise decisions, capitalize on opportunities (launch products), and reinvent their tech legacy.
It is a fabulous time to be in the technical services industry when, literally most every product, is being broken down to an “as-a-service” on-demand model, while simultaneously, there is a growing complexity (and speed) of the available technical ecosystem. Companies need trusted technical partners who understand their business, tech tools and options available, and who can provide scalable manpower to implement needed change.
You're explaining the industry to a new employee - complete the sentence: "Beware of the…
What is your proudest professional achievement?
When I’ve been a contributor to a team that has reached a long-term shared goal or mission. When the team is stretched and grows and comes out stronger on the other side of adversity.
I enjoy the feeling of community that comes from rallying along towards a common aim. I’ve had the opportunity to do that in a number of roles and continue to work within and design team ecosystems with such qualities.
How do you define success and how do you measure up to your own definition?
Professionally, I measure success in terms defined by stakeholders like customers, shareholders, team members, colleagues, partners, etc.
I work in a world of engineering, and it may sound boring, but our common success denominator is often on timelines or a per project basis.
Summit and Launch sessions
Get ready for fresh ideas! Summit and Launch feature some of travel's newest innovations at the Phocuswright Conference 2019.