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Headlines and Heroes from The PhoCusWright Conference 2009

Headlines and Heroes from The PhoCusWright Conference 2009

Amadeus IT Group
The PhoCusWright Conference concluded last Thursday with a champagne toast announcing Amadeus IT Group as the PhoCusWright Travel Innovation Summit Winner. Amadeus Affinity Shopper and three other finalists came out on top of 34 innovative companies that demonstrated their technology solutions to an audience of travel executives and an expert panel of judges. These companies are proof that innovation in online travel is indeed alive and well, with a whole range of exciting new tools and services being introduced  that promise to bring useful benefits to the travel, tourism and hospitality industry.

Compelling Trends
PhoCusWright president and CEO, Philip Wolf, welcomed over 900 attendees from 28 countries, a representative cross section of the global travel industry and introduced everyone to this year’s conference theme of “Money. Media. Mobile. Moxie.” Philip Wolf’s thought provoking opening monologue addressed each of these key trends among many others. Here are a few key takeaways from the conference:

  1. Brand matters, the kind built on sustained customer satisfaction, not just huge ad spending.
  2. Healthy balance sheets are vital. Raising capital, either equity or debt, play a role for sure, but not when they get in the way of the business.
  3. Market share leadership matters in categories that matter. Getting to number one or number two in your sector or niche should be a management priority.

Aside from these key points, Philip moved on to talk about another topic that is very high on everyone’s radar screen this year: the “social Web.” The social Web is the most powerful collaborative tool in the history of humankind, where sharing information adds up to the “wisdom of the crowds” which, in turn, creates knowledge. Or, as Philip defined it, the social Web is “Word of Mouth on Steroids.” In this connection he asked the rhetorical question: “Why should you care?”

  “Because two-thirds of the global Internet population visits social networks. Because it accounts for 10% of all Internet time. Because if Facebook were a country, it would be the fourth most populated in the world, just behind the United States. Because customers are looking for you and if you are not there, well…”


He also addressed a topic that has occupied the industry for some time and finally moved to center stage this year (in the marketplace and at the conference) largely due to the fundamental changes brought about by the introduction of the iPhone and the eco-system it has spawned. Mobile technology is, after years of waiting, finally beginning to influence travel in significant ways. He made the appeal that:

  “Re-purposing Web applications is not a mobile strategy. While applications today largely treat mobile devices as an additional outlet for existing content, new applications serve the real-time needs of the mobile traveler. If today’s major travel players are not at the heart of innovation, new players will emerge to take their place in the mobile travel space. Do not miss the call for mobile.”

Senior executives of some of the industry’s leading companies echoed these sentiments as they took the stage to provide their own insights and points of view to an attentive audience including leading journalists and bloggers covering the event. They were not only quizzed by the team of PhoCusWright analysts and session Talkbackers, asking pertinent follow-up questions after their presentation, but also had to respond to often pointed questions posted by the audience present in Orlando and the many more watching online via the Online Ticket..

An Innovative Experience
For the first time, The PhoCusWright Conference hosted participants from around the globe who streamed the conference online. The innovative new Online Ticket platform also integrated all the Twitter activity, organized by specific hashtags in one easy-to-use browser window. The addition of the Online Ticket was another example of PhoCusWright walking the talk. One delegate called it “an innovation that adds value to an already highly valuable event.” The Online Ticket gives access to the full conference content archive through January 31, 2010. View all Travel Innovation Summit demonstrations, Center Stage presentations and more by purchasing The PhoCusWright Conference Online Ticket for only US$300.

An Outlook for 2010
Attendees and those who missed the conference this year are encouraged to join the PhoCusWright Online Town Hall: Conference Review and Outlook with Philip Wolf. This open forum will highlight the main take-aways from this year’s event and project an outlook for the future of the travel industry. Register for only US$99 for this December 1, 2009 online event. PhoCusWright research subscribers and 2009 PhoCusWright Conference attendees register for free.

Planning for the 2010 PhoCusWright Conference—The Travel Industry Event of the Year—is already well underway. Mark your calendars for this and other upcoming events:

  • PhoCusWright@ITB • March 10-11, 2010 • Berlin, Germany
  • TRAVDEX • May 5-7, 2010 • Atlanta, Georgia, United States
  • The PhoCusWright Conference • November 16-18, 2010 • Scottsdale, Arizona, United States