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NEWS THE TRAVEL CONVENTION PREVIEW What’s in store at Abta 2018 Day one business sessions: Abta develops diverse agenda. Ian Taylor previews event


The Travel Convention gets under way in Seville on Monday with the usual array of activities for those arriving before the opening night. Delegates who have not


arranged to play golf or football may still find places available on a walking tour of Seville taking in the wonderful Real Alcazar (Royal Palace). However, a daytime highlight is sure to be a visit to the Museum of Flamenco, where delegates can see a performance. The evening ceremonies begin with a welcome reception before a transfer to the beautiful Casino de la Exposicion, built for the Ibero-American world fair of 1929, for the opening ceremony and welcome party. The convention’s business sessions start at 9.30am on Tuesday with moderator Chris Ship, the ITV News royal editor, introducing the conference and its theme of ‘trust’. Abta chief executive Mark Tanzer will emphasise the


importance of confidence and trust in his opening remarks ahead of the first keynote speaker Rory Sutherland, one of the most senior figures in UK marketing. Sutherland, vice-chairman


of advertising agency Ogilvy, will discuss ‘Who We Trust and How We Choose’. Expect him to dismiss fears for the future of travel agents in a sharp-witted presentation. He argues: “The prophets


of the digital generation tend to be in the top 10% of the population for wealth and can afford to make a mistake. A lot of predictions about where the market will go are exaggerated. Most people will continue to use intermediaries.” Sutherland will be followed by retail expert Sofia Natal, who


View of Seville from Metropol Parasol. Below, speakers Lucy Huxley, Travel Weekly; Mark Tanzer, Abta; and Rory Sutherland (right), Ogilvy


heads customer experience transformation at technology giant IBM’s subsidiary IBM iX. Natal will talk about the psychology of shopping discussing: “How to build a proposition to global customers, how brands are building trust, what it means to engage with customers and why people would want to buy from a middleman.” There will be time for an


update and appeal on behalf of the Abta LifeLine charity before another keynote speaker, Philip Wolf, takes the stage. Wolf, an evangelist of digital


technology in the industry, founded travel research firm Phocuswright in the mid-1990s when the internet was barely on the horizon for most people. He will examine the next stage of digital transformation, its impact on the industry, and the technology giants that will largely control it. Tuesday morning’s final session will see journalist and popular author Bryony Gordon


of The Telegraph ponder the absurdities of modern life. The highlight of the


afternoon could well be Dr Paul Redmond’s discussion of ‘the Zombie Apocalypse’ threatened by technology. Redmond proved one of the big hits of the 2017 convention in the Azores. But expect insight as well as humour from the Liverpool University academic, who says: “Your customers will never be more happy than your staff.” The final session of the day


sees the first panel discussion, with Travel Weekly’s Lucy Huxley hosting a debate on ‘The Future of the Expert’ with Kuoni’s Derek Jones, Becky Power of Google UK, Alistair Rowland of The Midcounties Co-operative and Claire Irvin of The Telegraph. However, the day does not end there, with a choice of workshops before the close (page 16) and an evening party at the magnificent Cortijo Torre de la Reina hotel outside Seville. › Day two sessions, page 16


14 travelweekly.co.uk 4 October 2018


PICTURE: SHUTTERSTOCK


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