TTI Spring Conference 2015
Professor Dimitrios Buhalis from Bournemouth University eTourism Lab contributed to TTI Spring Conference 2015 – The Mobile Customer.
Today The Travel Technology Initiative (TTI) is recognised a authority on Electronic Data Interchange and e-commerce within the European travel industry and has also developed and introduced standardised ticket formats both for ATB2 and more traditional coupons.
It is vital to understand how mobile is developing and how the travel industry leaders see the market changing. With this in mind, TTI has assembled a team of experts to give their views. There will be a discussion on how mobile is developing and how they are enhancing the mobile customer experience in their own organisations.
Marco Ryan, Chief Digital Officer, Thomas Cook Group
Sam Smith, Industry Travel Manager, Google
Ben Scott-Robinson, Head of Interactive Experience, Ordnance Survey
Deepak Jha, Head of Mobility Hub, TUI Travel
Fabrizio di Martino, Manager Mobile and Social Europe, InterContinental Hotels Group
Daniel Wishnia, Director – Digital Promotion & ECommerce Manager, GCH Hotel Group
Jeroen van Velzen, Chief Executive Officer, The Sound of Data
Professor Dimitrios Buhalis, Director, eTourismLab
Peter Matthews, CEO, Nucleus
The spring edition of the TTI conference took place on March 17th 2015 at the Strand Hotel in London. It was dedicated to “The Mobile Customer”. It presented how some of the leading tour operators and hotels have developed their mobility concepts and applied mobile innovations. Also, it highlighted how mapping has enhanced the mobile traveller’s experience. Both hoteliers and tour operators agreed that when their customers use their mobile applications they become more loyal to their brand. Also, hoteliers implied that it is vital to inspire clients through extra products, services and loyalty programs to book directly via the hotel’s website / app and not through an OTA. Some of the highlights from the event were:
- Mobile Means Business – Mr. Peter Matthews, the CEO of Nucleus, presented the company’s findings about the invasion of smartphones. It is said that smartphone usage has increased from 32% in June 2013 to 44,6% in January 2015. There has been noticed a 70% growth rate in online traffic in general. The market has been dominated by iOS where it holds 77,14% of the market share. Also, luxury brands have outspaced mainstream brands online.
- Thomas Cook and the Mobile Traveller – Mr. Marco Ryan, Chief Digital Officer at Thomas Cook Group, underlined that companies should not focus on mobile phones but on the concept of mobility. He emphasised that Thomas Cook has tried to improve the customer experience by allowing customers to sign in “My Account” in the Thomas Cook website and application and thus have a smooth cross device experience from whatever device they use – laptop, tablet, smartphone, desktop computer.
- Mobile Innovation at TUI – Mr. Deepak Jra, Head of Mobility Hub at TUI Travel, stated that TUI has also been aiming at improving customers’ experience through the concept of mobility. The presentation underlined TUI is the world’s largest vertically integrated leisure travel company. So far, TUI has made its smartphone application available in 6 languages in 8 countries and it has been used by more than 1 million customers. A new product TUI would like to introduce is the wrist band which represent a new tool by which its hotel guests may book and pay for products and services within hotels.
- Intercontinental Hotels Group – Mr. Fabrizio di Martino, Manager Mobile & Social Europe, underlined that IHG have already developed an application for Apple’s smart watch.
- GCH Hotel Group – Mr. Daniel Wishnia, Director of Digital Promotion & E-commerce Manager, put emphasis on the fact that GCH have developed the “Meet me in” application which enables interaction between hotels guests of a GCH property and hotel guests and reception. So there may be personal or group chats, as well as guest may ask directly the reception about a product of service through the app. Moreover, Mr. Daniel Wishnia stressed that “A guest with a good experience is an engaged guest.”
- Mobile Tourism – 2015 and Beyond – Professor Dimitrios Buhalis, Director of the eTourismLab at Bournemouth University, underlined how social media influences travellers decisions and how UGC (user generated content) has become more powerful than ever. Also, his presentation emphasised that nowadays the most important concept is the one of customer centricity by which a brand can create more advocates.
The conference was held on17 March 2015 at Strand Palace Hotel, London.
More information about the TTI conference
Strand Palace Hotel, 372 Strand, London, WC2R 0JJ
nearest undergrounds: Charing Cross & Covent Garden