Gorin said the idea of taking B2C business models and applying them to the B2B world was a growing trend, pointing to how online retail giant Amazon had done just that with its cloud computing business and marketplace. “Travel is a huge market,”

she said. “Each of us needs to understand the problem we are trying to solve, what our unique customer value proposition is and what the things are we need to do on our own versus partnering with someone else. “Some of our partners,

if they are getting hotel inventory from us via our API, will also work with multiple different companies in order to supplement their supply. In other cases it makes more sense to work just with us. “Delta Air Lines wanted to

offer hotels on their site but they said not only did they want hotels they also wanted a ‘plug-and-play’ interface – someone to actually run the site for them so that it’s constantly optimised for conversion. “Yes, it meant they were

making a bet on one player instead of being able to work with many. But it makes sense because they are getting more value in the user interface. “For companies, as you look

at who you are going to partner with, you need to ask ‘where do I want to partner and what am I trying to achieve?’ The strategy comes from that.” Gorin added that the

potential in travel, valued globally at $1.6 trillion, was tied to how fragmented it continues to be despite the many aggregators in the sector. “The beauty of the travel

market is how fragmented is it,” she said. “Where there’s fragmentation there’s innovation, and people are always going to travel so it’s a playground for all of us.”

Travolution European Summit: More than 250 delegates gathered in Lon

OTAs ‘must adopt new tech as digital growth rate slows’

A slowing of growth in the digital travel sector in Europe has brought a stability between the online and offline sectors, Travolution Summit delegates were told.

Speaking on a panel to launch the

Travel Weekly Europe 2018 report analysing the state of the European travel market, Francesca Benati, Amadeus vice-president online for western Europe, said: “Growth of online is slowing. I’m not saying it’s not growing, but compared to three or four years ago you have moved from double-digit growth to single-digit growth.” Benati said in European markets such as the UK and Scandinavia, the online travel sector had “reached maturity” in terms of penetration – at about 60% in both regions. “We are seeing stability between

offline and online,” she said, adding this was mainly driven by suppliers looking to sell direct. Benati said Germany remains

a market dominated by tour operators, meaning a lot of product is sold offline, while

Blockchain ‘needs to be developed to be of use in travel’

Blockchain technology is “immature” and “not a silver bullet” for the travel sector. That is the view of Alexandra Limerick, head of international solutions at virtual travel payments group Wex. Limerick told the Travolution

European Summit in London: “We are looking at how to use blockchain to enhance what we do.”

78 4 October 2018 AMADEUS’S

BENATI (right): ‘We are seeing stability between online and offline’

“huge” fragmentation in Italy means offline agents remain important. Of the 43,000 hotels in Italy, 95% remain family-owned and a “significant proportion of people” still prefer to deal in cash. “Imagine how difficult it is to

aggregate and deliver a proper online experience,” said Benati, who added that OTAs need to take opportunities offered by new technology to remain relevant. “Digital touchpoints with consumers are changing,” Benati said. “OTAs are moving into new technology which is becoming

But she said: “We already do millions of [payment] reconciliations a day. That already exists. Blockchain is immature. We have a long way to go [with it].” Khalid Ladha, strategic alliances

director at BlockX Labs, a Toronto- based development lab, said public blockchains were currently “nowhere near the scale [required by the travel industry].” But he suggested: “Private

blockchains could be of value.” Roberto Da Re, founder of the

Travel Ledger Alliance, said: “The benefits of everyone using the same platform are huge.”

LIMERICK: ‘Blockchain is immature. We have a long way to go with it’

mainstream, like AI. OTAs find themselves in the middle of this very difficult value chain so they need to stand out.” Kevin White, vice-president

of global strategy and business development at Mastercard, said the payment giant’s data, insights and technology was enabling destinations to address issues such as overtourism, cybersecurity and cross-border travel. “We are a part- ner network connecting suppliers with buyers,” he said, adding: “The possibilities [of contactless payment technology] are endless.”

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