DataArt’s Travel & Hospitality Practice’s team, represented by Greg Abbott, Charlotte Lamp Davies, Roman Peskin and Alex Shchedrin, exhibited its latest technology solutions at the annual Phocuswright travel Conference in Hollywood, Florida. With a record 1700 of the most influential leaders from 30+ countries in attendance, The Phocuswright Conference consisted of The Battleground, Travel Innovation Summit, Center Stage, workshops, and the exhibitor showcase. The theme for the 2015 Conference was – I, Traveler: Embracing Post Mobile.
Speaking at the center stage, Expedia CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi talked of the new breed of competition from alternative accommodations, as a “fact of life” and Expedia’s response to it by a 4 billion acquisition of HomeAway. Khosrowshahi said “We believe in home vacation rentals, we believe in taking that from a listings business to a transactional business”. A major deal with SilverRail to power Expedia’s global entry into the growing rail sector, was announced at the Conference. Khosrowshahi commented on Expedia’s intention to invest in air and rail is key to differentiation from other competitors and would allow the company to up- sell related products like hotels and activities and boost consumer purchase frequency.
About 800 attendees gathered at the second Skift Global Travel Forum 2015 in Brooklyn to listen to 37 top strategists, technologists, and marketers talk about the future of the global travel industry. Skift’s founder, Rafat Ali, opened the event and vowed to the audience that it was indeed a different kind of conference, focused on real content, debate and issues, not simply networking and “navel gazing”.
Much attention was focused on “the fault lines” forming in one of the world’s largest sectors brought on by new entrants, new technology vs. the status quo. Another prominent theme was embracing social media to open up possibilities to speak to a much larger audience than existing marketing platforms allow, tapping into the storytelling and social aspect of travel experience. Notably the audience and speakers were an interesting mix representing the focus pillars Skift proclaims to future proof businesses: marketing, technology, user experience and design.