PhoCusWright, the travel industry authority on the dynamics that influence how travelers, suppliers and intermediaries connect, today revealed the theme for its signature event, The PhoCusWright Conference.
“Travel Unleashed: Any, Every, Always” heralds the exceptional forces liberating the travel, tourism and hospitality marketplace. As in previous years, the theme is a barometer of the unique pressures disrupting the world’s largest industry, and challenges companies to leverage powerful new catalysts.
At its core, “Travel Unleashed: Any, Every, Always” describes an industry in which constant change is the norm with unrelenting activity – all the time, everywhere, and from all quarters. Empowered, hyper-connected consumers are engaging with information and organizations in entirely new ways. Simultaneously, rapid advances in technology and renewed vigor in capital markets provide remarkable opportunities for travel companies to attract and retain customers like never before.
This year’s PhoCusWright Conference invites industry leaders to embrace the dynamics of Any, Every, Always, as exemplified by these six tenets:
1. The End of On/Off
After a decade of being tethered to desktops and inhibited by rudimentary devices and content, today’s consumers connect all the time, wherever they are, to a staggering array of networks and information. Shrinking screens – smartphones, tablets, e-readers and GPS systems – have gone mainstream, and the ever-advancing technology that fuels them is now always with us, in our cars, backpacks and jacket pockets. Whether walking around the corner or flying across the globe, travelers today connect instantly, at will, in a multitude of ways. Daytime, nighttime, prime time, anytime; it’s the end of the on/off switch, and travel companies must power up.
2. Look Who’s Talking
Empowered by extraordinary access, always-on travelers – corporate, leisure and meeting attendees alike – have leveled the playing field by raising their voices. Travel companies now operate in a world where everybody has something to say, and ample means to say it. Citizen journalists have the knowledge and know-how to sway public opinion and impact outcomes. The channels are unlocked, enabling a new breed of thought leaders to innovate, influence and match corporate bloggers post-for-post. Meanwhile, demanding consumers don’t hesitate to air grievances and share experiences, whether it’s tweeting about lost luggage, submitting a hotel review before checkout, or crowdsourcing a conference. With once-unassailable barriers broken, confident and connected travelers are speaking up right now… are you listening?
3. The Speed of Smart
Just when you thought it was safe to bask in your website’s “mocial” strategy, the accelerated pace of innovation and technology is constantly raising the bar. Today’s intelligent technology means our everyday devices know where we are and what we like. Location-based tools and robust digital identities create opportunities for delivering relevant content, personalized deals and flash offers… making any travel marketer drool. The list of forces that empower travelers and enhance the customer experience grows daily: collaborative consumption, augmented reality, sentient devices, virtual conferencing, near field communications, QR codes, RFID and more. Keep up, speed up or step aside.
4. To Boldly Go
Unprecedented access to information means travelers have more choices than ever. They tap their networks, screens and keyboards to research exotic destinations. Call it digital demystification. Undaunted by geographical and cultural chasms, people from everywhere are going everywhere, often to places they’ve never considered before. It’s a not-so-strange new world, and the industry must engage with more knowledgeable, culturally-aware customers on the go.
5. Capital Comeback
With near-daily announcements of angel and venture capital funding rounds, private equity-fueled acquisitions and imminent IPOs, Internet connectivity isn’t the only thing that’s flowing freely these days. Despite continued economic uncertainty, every kind of capital is being raised, all around the world. Deal flow has strengthened, and public offerings are reminiscent of the bubble. All this money is driving change, especially in the intermediary space, where nimble newcomers (some from other verticals) battle the establishment for a piece of the action.
6. Travel’s New PNR (Point of No Return)
Airlines and other suppliers have always sought greater control over their product, lower costs and fewer impediments between them and their customers. Now they are more confident than ever, and technically capable of implementing bold strategies. Direct connects, optional services and new merchandising models threaten the distribution dogma, and there’s no turning back.
The freshly unfettered travel marketplace has created a powerful new framework. Realities are realigned. Travel is Unleashed. Possibilities and opportunities abound: Any, Every, Always.
Visit the website for more information on The Travel Industry Event of the Year.