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KEEPING TRACK OF TECH AND TALENT


This year’s C-Suite Question Time seminar at TTE saw experts address cybersecurity and new travel technologies. Andrew Doherty reports


T


ravel Technology Europe (TTE) returned to Olympia London for its 17th edition on 26-27 February, connecting buyers


with more than 90 technology providers, as well as providing advice clinics and conference sessions. A regular fixture and conference


highlight was C-Suite Question Time, which saw leading chief technology, information and marketing officers address issues affecting travel businesses such as cybersecurity, attracting tech talent and how to kick- start digital transformation. This year’s panel featured Manuel Hilty, chief executive and co-founder of Nezasa; Jeff Pan, chief executive of Flymya; Dirk Tietz, chief digital and transformation officer at Der Touristik; Rachel O’Brien, chief technology transformation officer at CWT; and Dwayne Pascal, chief technology officer at Criton. They offered advice on how travel


28 TRAVEL TRADE GAZETTE 23.03.2020


businesses can evolve, stay safe and embrace the latest innovations. Here, we summarise the key findings.


DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION Simply put, digital transformation focuses on how businesses leverage the latest technologies to improve efficiency, such as cloud computing – the practice of using internet-hosted servers to store, manage and process data, rather than a personal computer. While speakers from previous Question Time discussions have lauded the merits of senior leadership driving digital transformation, this year’s panel agreed that travel brands needed to embrace a different strategy in 2020. “Overcommunicate,” said O’Brien.


“Leadership has to come from the bottom – allow your teams to bring forward their ideas. Your team must have a purpose and a strategy.” For senior managers, a background


in technology isn’t necessary when managing digital transformation, she added. “What I’ve learnt to do is understand what our tech team is doing and translate it into layman’s terms.” Since the launch of its 3.0 digital transformation strategy in 2017, which saw the firm feature third-party content providers in its search and booking platform, CWT ended that year with a revenue boost of 1.9% to $1.4 billion.


ATTRACTING TECH TALENT The panel unanimously agreed that attracting staff, who can evolve with and embrace tech innovations, is vital for today’s travel brands to survive. “What I look for most in potential employees is their capacity for humility and collaboration,” Pascal said. “Looking for a specific skill set based on technology won’t be relevant in a few years.” For businesses seeking to retain


technology-adept employees, creating a


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