Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Meet the Cream of The Crop in Travel at EyeforTravel’s San Francisco Digital Summit in April

Hyatt, TripAdvisor, Fairmont, Hilton, Expedia, Japan Airlines, Marriott, Winding Tree and more will come together on April 9 -10 at EyeforTravel’s San Francisco Digital Summit 2018 .

The summit, just under two months away, will tackle topics such as the role of emerging technologies in travel, personalization, marketing strategies, utilizing data and technology to deliver an exceptional customer experience & much more. And this is just the start.  

This week, we have confirmed attendees from Hyatt, TripAdvisor, Fairmont, and Hilton San Francisco who will be joining our confirmed speaker list including Expedia, Marriott, Choice Hotels, Winding Tree, Priceline, Booking.com, Cathay Pacific Airways, Lola, Air Canada and more!

Emerging technologies such as voice, AI, machine learning, and blockchain are all being talked about by the travel industry, but are they truly getting dissected? The San Francisco Digital Summit 2018 is the only event that will cut through the noise, separate the real use from the hype, and enable travel brands to truly come to grips with the opportunities for digital marketing campaigns.


We have so much to talk about, and have split the event into two dedicated tracks:

1.    Tech Innovation Strategies: Mobile, Emerging Trends, and Travel Technology

Case studies to be discussed in this track include:
  • A Choice Hotels Case Study: A Holistic Approach to Emerging Tech & Enhancing the Physical Experience with the Right Digital Technology
  • A Marriott Case study: The Power of Mobile to Drive Interaction and Develop Unique Digital Experiences to Stay Top of Mind and Engage with Your Customer
  • Blockchain Demystified: How Can It Be Applied in Travel and How Will It Change Your Business?
  • Leveraging Data Driven Insights & Technology: Keep Up with The Shifts in Customer Behavior to Deliver Relevant and Personalized Products
2    2.  Marketing Strategies: Content Marketing, Social media and Data

      Case studies to be discussed include:
  • Hilton Case Study: Brand Building in the Digital Age: The Role of Storytelling in Today’s Customer Journey
  • Cathay Pacific Case Study: Incorporating Virtual Content and Mobile Video into Cathay Pacific Airways’ Marketing Strategy
  • Air Canada Vacations Case Study: An Air Canada Vacations Case Study: Keep Your Customers Clicking by Delivering Smarter, Personalized, More Dynamic Content
  • Melia Hotels International Case Study: Redefine and Rebuild Your Social Media and Digital Strategy Using Data, Personalization & Hyper-Segmentation

This summit is truly the only place you will be able to meet the cream of the crop in travel, walk away with insights you can action as soon as you get back to the office.

Contact the team directly at – renu@eyefortravel.com  
EyeforTravel is a community where the world's top online travel brands – from hotels to airlines, online travel agents, cruise, car hire firms and more – come to meet to drive forward growth and innovation in the industry. We aim to provide you with industry focused news, events, reports, updates and information. EyeforTravel Limited is a registered company. The Company Registration number is 06286442. It is also registered in England & Wales. Registered office is 7-9 Fashion Street, London E1 6PX, United Kingdom.

Renu Kannu
EyeForTravel | Project and Research Director (+ 44 20 7375 7197 |renu@eyefortravel.com)



Monday, 12 February 2018

Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, Voice, Machine Learning, And More on The Table This April

The EyeforTravel San Francisco Digital Summit 2018 (April 9-10 Hotel Nikko), just over two months away will tackle the role of emerging technologies in travel, and help travel brands benchmark their digital strategy from some of the best in the industry.
The event is perfectly positioned to address the all-important question currently on the minds of travel brands' now: What technologies should they invest in to enhance their digital strategy and how? The summit will provide the perfect platform to ascertain the real tech strategy from the hype, to truly come to grips with the opportunities of these technologies for digital marketing campaigns; and to successfully engage and get closer to the customer.
We have so much to talk about, and have split the event into two dedicated tracks:
1.   Tech Innovation Strategies: Mobile, Emerging Trends, and Travel Technology
Case studies to be discussed in this track include:
-   A Choice Hotels Case Study: A Holistic Approach to Emerging Tech & Enhancing the Physical Experience with the Right Digital Technology
-   A Marriott Case study: The Power of Mobile to Drive Interaction and Develop Unique Digital Experiences to Stay Top of Mind and Engage with Your Customer
-   Blockchain Demystified: How Can It Be Applied in Travel and How Will It Change Your Business?
-   Leveraging Data Driven Insights & Technology: Keep Up with The Shifts in Customer Behaviour to Deliver Relevant and Personalized Products
2.   Marketing Strategies: Content Marketing, Social media and Data
Case studies to be discussed include:
-   Hilton Case Study: Brand Building in the Digital Age: The Role of Storytelling in Today’s Customer Journey
-   Cathay Pacific Case Study: Incorporating Virtual Content and Mobile Video into Cathay Pacific Airways’ Marketing Strategy
-   Air Canada Vacations Case Study: An Air Canada Vacations Case Study: Keep Your Customers Clicking by Delivering Smarter, Personalized, More Dynamic Content
-   Melia Hotels International Case Study: Redefine and Rebuild Your Social Media and Digital Strategy Using Data, Personalization & Hyper-Segmentation
Here is a snapshot of experts taking the stage in San Francisco in 2017!
  • Amy Ziegenfuss, VP – Global Marketing Focused Brands, Hilton
  • Tim Goodwin, Chief Technology Officer, Vacasa
  • Sam MacDonnell, Chief Technology Officer, HotelTonight
  • Todd Henrich, SVP – Corporate Development, Priceline Group
  • Robecta Ma, VP – Marketing, Cathay Pacific Airways
  • Angel Llull Mancas, Senior Director – North America, Booking.com
  • Amir Amidi, Managing Partner – Travel & Hospitality Center of Innovation, Plug and Play Tech Center
  • Reda Berrehili, Chief Technology Officer, OneFineStay
  • Dan Christian, Chief Digital Officer, The Travel Corporation
  • Pedro Renaud Anderson, Founder, Winding Tree
  • Will Farnan, Client Partner – Travel Suppliers, Facebook and more!
Contact the team directly at – renu@eyefortravel.com  
EyeforTravel is a community where the world's top online travel brands – from hotels to airlines, online travel agents, cruise, car hire firms and more – come to meet to drive forward growth and innovation in the industry. We aim to provide you with industry focused news, events, reports, updates and information. EyeforTravel Limited is a registered company. The Company Registration number is 06286442. It is also registered in England & Wales. Registered office is 7-9 Fashion Street, London E1 6PX, United Kingdom.
Renu Kannu
EyeforTravel | Project and Research Director
+ 44 20 7375 7197 | renu@eyefortravel.com

Thursday, 8 February 2018

Drive Data Excellence: Leverage data to get up close and personal with your customer at Smart Travel Data Summit Miami 2018!


With more searches, on multiple platforms, while passengers are on the move gives travel brands endless amounts of data that they can use to their advantage to improve the customer journey.

EyeforTravel has put together a summit - Smart Travel Data Summit in lovely Miami (27-28 Feb) which is an intimate networking and discussion based event that unites leading players from the travel market-  from the hotels, airlines, online marketing, data integrators, software developers, revenue managers, tech innovators and more to examine the steps needed to develop and deploy a strong business model, to create market traction and engage the connected traveler in a data heavy world.

If you work in travel and focus on data analytics, revenue management, marketing or product development, this is the event for you to attend to walk away with actionable insights.

This event brings you something unique:

They have topics from Wyndham and Expedia covering personalization, AirBnb talking about the next steps in machine learning, to McKinsey, Southwest Airlines and Delta Airlines talking about new frontiers in revenue management for airlines, Winding Tree talking about Blockchain as the next Major Disruptor and a lot more on GDPR and customer experience!
They don’t just stop there, with 100+ people data experts that will attend to discuss the need for chatbots, data strategies, marketing analytics and artificial intelligence best practice, customer behavior, machine learning and more to make sure you have all the takeaways you need in just 2 days.
Click here to see how you can join as well:  http://events.eyefortravel.com/smart-travel-data-summit-north-america/
Come to this event to:
  • Create new data products: That allow travel suppliers to create a personalized experience so good that it doesn’t just sell direct, it drives lifelong loyalty
  • Negotiate partnerships that give you customer insight: Know at the right time, with the right message what product your customers want. Fueled by API technologies, data and insight is flowing between travel companies. This takes your customer insight to a whole new profitable level and crucially these profits stay within the industry
  • Exploit new platforms: Conversational commerce backed by AI allows direct sales, better service and cuts costs. Whether via web, brand app or through messenger apps (900 million FB messenger users compares favorably with 100 million Uber users) the industry is uniting chat, service and commerce.
  • Drive data enabled personalization: Personalization of product, message, payment and the very relationship you have with your customer is being revolutionized through analytics, data partnerships and machine learning. The result is higher conversion rates, customer loyalty and profitability

With just 23 passes to go, now’s your chance click here to join the travel data elite!

Register this now to grab a final few passes, via the secure link: http://events.eyefortravel.com/smart-travel-data-summit-north-america/register.php 
For the complete conference program and speaker line-up, visit: http://events.eyefortravel.com/smart-travel-data-summit-north-america/conference-agenda.php
 or contact the travel team at shreya@eyefortravel.com
EyeforTravel is a community where the world's top online travel brands – from hotels to airlines, online travel agents, cruise, car hire firms and more – come to meet to drive forward growth and innovation in the industry. We aim to provide you with industry focused news, events, reports, updates and information. EyeforTravel Limited is a registered company. The Company Registration number is 06286442. It is also registered in England & Wales. Registered office is 7-9 Fashion Street, London E1 6PX, United Kingdom.
Shreya Ganapathy
 EyeForTravel
+ 44 20 7375 7150

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Heathrow Airport, Melia Hotels and Dutch Railways: Discuss How to Leverage Technology & Data to Create Seamless Customer Experience

Today’s customers can book a hotel, a surf lesson and flights on their phones, laptops, tablets and even over voice command! Travel brands really need to focus on the channel preferences for each customer to ensure sales and services are tailored to keep customers coming back!
EyeforTravel have brought together key experts to discuss what to do next in this live interactive webinar – sign up to listen in on 21st Feb 3pm GMT.
So, what's the game changer? EyeforTravel think technology and data, with smartphones at the helm. So, today's travel brands are leveraging AI, Mobile Integration, NFC, geolocation, beacons and more in an all-out pursuit of customer happiness and seamless travel. 
With tech savvy passengers’ eager to use new digital services to transform their journeys, they can offer a new ecosystem of connected personalized services wins.
To share industry insights, EyeforTravel have partnered with TIBCO to create a live webinar series that covers the technology and data that is transforming travel operations.
Speakers for the webinar include:
  • Hans Tönissen Program Architect "Comfort IT" at NS (Dutch Railways)
  • Rodney Dortalina, Technology Evangelist, TIBCO
  • Susanna Mander, VP Marketing & Brand Development, Melia Hotels International
  • Stephen Glenfield, Head of Digital, Heathrow Airport
Join this webinar to:
  • Adapt to the connected traveller to improve user experience and build on engagement with world class tech 
  • Develop the right mobile strategies and partnerships with personalized content, incentives and real-time data to create that frictionless travel experience 
  • Evaluate trends: See who’s using your services and what information they’re accessing from different IoT devices 
Sounds like something you need to be thinking about for 2018 then sign up here to join the session at 3PM GMT (10AM EST) on 21st Feb 2018.
If you can't make the time - sign up anyway and we will get sent the recording!
Contact: 
Shreya Ganapathy
Partnerships and Business Development | EyeForTravel
+ 44 20 7375 7150 | shreya@eyefortravel.com
EyeforTravel is a community where the world's top online travel brands – from hotels to airlines, online travel agents, cruise, car hire firms and more – come to meet to drive forward growth and innovation in the industry. We aim to provide you with industry focused news, events, reports, updates and information. EyeforTravel Limited is a registered company. The Company Registration number is 06286442. It is also registered in England & Wales. Registered office is 7-9 Fashion Street, London E1 6PX, United Kingdom.

Monday, 5 February 2018

Amazon dominates travel brands’ ongoing experiments with voice technology

Travel brands have only just started putting in voice-first services and currently Amazon has a clear first-mover advantage thanks to its Alexa and Echo products says EyeforTravel’s new free report

Amazon made a canny move in becoming the first major company to roll out and heavily market smart speakers. This first-mover advantage has made Alexa the go-to for the travel industry’s initial attempts to deploy voice technology finds EyeforTravel’s new Can Voice Change the Way We Travel? Report, which is free to download now.

It’s easy to see why travel brands are largely teaming up with Amazon as it has by far and away the most popular smart speaker in terms of sales currently. Amazon has at least 70% of the market share currently according to estimates and substantially beating out Google Home in terms of web search interest in 2016 and 2017. Even more importantly its Alexa personal assistant, as they have made it part of their strategy to focus on the supporting ecosystem and bring in external developers. This has allowed Alexa to grow the number of ‘skills’, or programmed tasks and apps on the system, exponentially across 2017 from around 7,000 to more than 25,000 by the end of the year.

Hotels are putting their own offerings among these skills, as are metasearch companies, airports, online travel agencies, and airlines. This covers a multitude of brands, including KAYAK, United Airlines, Marriott, IHG, Best Western, Skyscanner, Edwardian Hotels, Heathrow Airport, and Kimpton. Hotels are probably the most prominent users of Amazon Alexa and Echo speakers currently as there is an obvious use case for in-room speakers that act as concierges.



For IHG, they have begun testing their own virtual concierge through Alexa. However, they found that the human element was still critical, using their call centre to train, “Central Reservation Offices (CROs) have been trying to manage a downward cycle in that not many people are calling them anymore, but they know a ton about the way people actually talk, their cadence and what they ask for,” said Bill Keen, IHG’s VP of mobile solutions & digital guest experience at EyeforTravel North America 2017. “Through voice listening tools they actually powered our initial Alexa implementation in the hotel rooms, where we actually had a repository of things that guests normally ask when they call the call centre desk and we could actually build it into.”


However, current adoption trends doesn’t mean Amazon will have its own way for the foreseeable future. Multiple players are eyeing the opportunities that voice afford, including Baidu, Samsung, Microsoft, Apple and Alphabet/Google. “I’m a huge Alexa fan, but I think Google is going to have a big advantage as they have a lot of the context,” said Paul English, CEO of Lola Tech. “When you do a simple query to Google Home, it can piece together all of that.” This data advantage appears already to be having an effect as independent research has found that Google Assistant is more accurate in coming up with spoken answers than any competitors. Similarly, Chinese rivals have made huge progress and claim that their systems are now more effective at transcribing than native Mandarin speakers.

It therefore remains to be seen whether Amazon can keep its lead but right now it is the biggest player in terms of dedicated voice applications being built by the travel industry.


For more on the topic of voice and its impact on the travel industry, click here to download the complete report for free. You can also download our free report on in-room technology, including smart speakers here.

Thursday, 1 February 2018

Are Amazon, Apple, Google and Microsoft falling behind Chinese voice tech?

China is a crucible for the spread of voice technologies and domestic companies might be leading the world currently in this field says EyeforTravel’s new free report into voice

Unique dynamics make China a perfect laboratory for developing and deploying voice technologies. This is propelling local players, principally Baidu and iFlytek, to become world leaders finds EyeforTravel’s new Can Voice Change the Way We Travel? report.

China is likely to become the key market for voice technologies and one in which travel brands need to be paying attention due to a number of reasons. Firstly, is the Chinese language, which has thousands of individual characters rather than a conventional alphabet. This makes typing a challenge, particularly on the smaller screen of a smartphone, creating a clear need that voice can solve. Furthermore, Chinese travellers are far more mobile focused than travellers in other markets according to EyeforTravel’s Chinese Travel Consumer report.

Progress in voice technologies means that voice technology is already the most convenient way for Mandarin speakers to operate their smartphones. A joint Baidu, Stanford University and University of Washington study from 2016 found it was three times quicker to say English words than type, and 2.8 times faster with Mandarin, while the rate of mistakes was a fifth lower using English and almost two-thirds lower with Mandarin.

This creates the demand for voice to flourish in the Chinese market, but local players have further advantages of a supportive Chinese government that has made AI a core focus and a more amenable regulatory environment for this field of research. Data that can be collected, analyzed and deployed with far fewer legal data security and privacy restrictions than in the EU or the US. This could be key, as the quantity of data is key in this kind of machine learning, especially as engineers tackle the next challenge of getting AI to understand and respond to speech in a contextual framework. 

That data is already being generated by millions of Chinese consumers. Whilst Apple claims Siri has a userbase of around 375 million, likely making it the most used personal assistant outside of China, China’s leading player at the moment iFLYTEK claims more than 700 million end users, which they believe gives them more than 70% of the Chinese voice market. Media reports more widely quote a figure of around 500 million regular users, still a vast figure.

iFLYTEK’s main competitor in China Baidu is hot on their heels, and claims prodigious growth as a result of pouring around USD3 into AI research from 2015 to 2017. In a November 2016 release, they noted that that “the daily requests for speech recognition grew from 5 million in 2013 to 140 million this year, and the number of daily requests for speech synthesis stands today at 200 million.”

Crucially, both companies have also been able to establish an ecosystem of various players who depend on their software, unlike Apple and Siri. This enables them to extend the reach of their rising voice empires and gather more data to further improve accuracy. Both companies claim that thousands of companies have already developed products from their voice technologies.

So, the big tech players in the West have plenty to feel anxious about given the progress of their Chinese counterparts and the scene is only going to get more crowded as Samsung started to push its Bixby voice products in the second half of 2017.

Therefore, if there is one key market that travel brands need to keep an eye on in relation to vice technology developments, it is China. The already deep penetration of advanced technologies, alongside unique market dynamics and a language particularly well suited to voice applications seems likely to make the country the forefront for this new way of engaging with the digital world.

For more on the topic of voice and its impact on the travel industry, click here to download the complete report for free.

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Can voice technology change the travel industry?

It’s the biggest topic in tech, with the giants piling in to voice-focused artificial intelligences, meaning travel brands need to sit up and take notice finds a new free report.

EyeforTravel’s new Can Voice Change the Way We Travel? report advises travel brands to get ready for the expansion of voice technologies, as although these are at an early adopter stage, they are already important parts of the digital ecosystem and developing at a breakneck pace.   

Blockbuster sales of smart speakers over the holiday periods in both 2016 and 2017, alongside a steadily growing number of connected devices per home across major markets in the last half decade, have demonstrated an appetite for voice products. Even more critically than the smart speaker market, personal assistants are being incorporated into ever more platforms, meaning a market of billions of devices already exists.

Estimates of voice’s market share in terms of search are harder to come by than device sales but this too is growing rapidly, nowhere more so than China. Already, the leading players, Baidu and iFlytek, claim that users are making hundreds of millions of daily requests through voice, allowing them to gather vast amounts of data. This base has allowed both companies to put together voice products that can recognise speech at accuracy rates of up to 98%.

This growing accuracy demonstrates the rapid progress in the field and how the technology is on the cusp of being able to transcribe human speech perfectly. However, for travel where the real issue lies according to the report, is not in the technology to comprehend the human voice, but the ability to personalize the experience. Comprehension is one thing but context and cogent answers are quite another, which will require another leap in performance.



“When you do a normal screen based search, a whole screen of information comes up – but on a voice based search there isn’t time for Siri, Echo or Home to read out the whole page,” Sam Turner, sales director of Hotelbeds Group told EyeforTravel. “A much more personalised response is required to give you the most relevant information only, and nothing more, otherwise it simply doesn’t work.”

Paul English, CEO of Lola Tech, believes that “ultimately talking to your phone and saying I want a hotel tomorrow night and I am going to be in Chicago Thursday and then having it know enough about the context and enough about the personalization requirements that it does everything for you” is the future.

Getting to a more personalised service will require a concerted effort on the part of travel brands in terms of data gathering, interpretation and presentation. Therefore, consumers conducting a full cycle of travel research solely through voice remain some way off.

In the meantime, travel brands are finding a variety of uses for voice products to ease the travellers’ journeys. Heathrow airport is experimenting with smart speakers in flight screens and key locations in the airport to help travellers with common questions. For hotels, Marriott, IHG, Best Western and Kimpton are among the pioneers in the sector. Principally these brands are looking at using speakers in guests’ rooms to provide services and ease guest requests. Bill Keen, IHG’s VP of mobile solutions & digital guest experience, reported that they had implemented Alexa into and enthused about its further potential: “Voice is sexy again. I do believe that’s the next interface for us.” For luxury hotel brand Edwardian, they have gone a step further and developed out their self-developed chatbot so now it has been enabled to speak to guests and the leadership team is looking at their own in-room speaker tech.


For more on the topic of voice and its impact on the travel industry, click here to download the complete report for free.