Just a few years ago, the first thing you did when you returned from holiday was to get your photographs developed so you could show them off. How times have changed. This was normal… and now… well, it’s difficult to log on to Facebook at the moment without seeing all sort of beach photos from friends having fun abroad.

Indeed on my Facebook stream right now there seems to be an informal competition for who is able to compose the best Instagram from the sun lounger.

I write this to demonstrate just how times have changed. The iPhone launched in the UK in November 2007 — about 7 years ago. It took perhaps a year or two before we began to see widespread shifts in consumer habits and about 3 years ago, I think it’s fair to say the ‘app economy’ really took off.

And that’s when things began to substantially shift for the travel industry. All of a sudden it became normal to book hotels, flights and all manner of associated activities straight from your mobile.

The continuing evolution of technology has required the travel industry to constantly adapt. The challenge is deciding when and where to make the investments. Is now, for example, the time to be building your ‘Google Glass’ compatible Spa menu system? Or should you be putting all your resources into a Concierge-on-your-wrist to take advantage of growing consumer interest in ‘wearable’ technology?

It’s no surprise that today the travel industry is underpinned by a hugely complicated web of technology services. Just think about the technical logistics involved in getting me from London Victoria to San Francisco. There’s the ticket purchase, the ordering process, the mobile app I use to summon my taxi, my on-board meal preferences, my loyalty points earned when I swap currency at the airport and so on.

The importance of technology is arguably heightened when it comes to the field of luxury travel — where expectations are higher and the cost of failure can be excruciating.

To this end I am delighted to welcome travel technology leader Amadeus to our Connections Luxury event taking place this September 29th-30th at the Four Seasons Hampshire. They are joining as our global partner.

Amadeus began it’s journey back in 1987 when it was created to help airlines sell seats more easily, more internationally and more cost effectively. Since then the company has expanded to deliver services across the travel world from car hire to ground handling. The company is still focused on a key fundamental aim: Helping travel providers connect with, serve and manage their customers — and thereby helping shape the future of travel.

Of course nowadays it’s not just about selling me a seat efficiently. I expect you to recognise it’s ‘me’ and to treat me differently. Recognise that I’d rather take a different flight than sit in the middle seat: So don’t offer me the middle seat. Likewise, remember that I always like to swim every morning when I’m abroad. So don’t offer me a hotel without a pool, even if it’s nearer my destination. This kind of customisation and ‘memory’ is becoming critical as consumer expectations increase and competition for customer attention grows.

Personalisation is right there at the top of the agenda for Amadeus, particularly in the context of the globally connected traveller of tomorrow. We will be exploring this theme in some depth at Connections Luxury.

I’ll be publishing more on this topic soon. In the meantime, hello to the Amadeus team! We can’t wait to see you at Connections Luxury and I can’t wait to welcome you… personally!
If you’d like to find out more about our event, please just give me a call or drop me an email.

I’ll be blogging again soon!