By Clare de Bono, Head of Product & Innovation at Amadeus IT Group
We live in the age of ideas and the rise of the entrepreneur in travel. Technology today has never been so accessible, so democratised and so promising! With the evolution of mobile, robotics, augmented and virtual reality, to name just a few of the key technology trends we’ll start to see impacting our industry this year, it’s little wonder we are witnessing more and more innovative start-up businesses emerging. With all start-ups however, there comes huge pressure to refine offerings, stay competitive, be agile and importantly, grow profitably.
In general terms, launching a start-up in the UK is not for the faint-hearted; studies have shown more than half of new businesses don’t survive beyond five years. But the travel sector is growing. The Global Business Travel Association predicts average growth rates of 5.8% year-on-year for business travel until 2020; the World Travel & Tourism Council noted that travel and tourism grew overall by 3.1% in 2015 and expects an average growth of 4% over the next ten years. Taken together, these statistics indicate great opportunity for new entrants.
It’s not only start-ups that are embracing the advancement of technology. There has been an enormous uptake from traditional businesses within the sector in terms of new technology adoption, which has changed how they operate, the solutions and services they offer and the ways in which they sell to customers and engage with business and leisure travellers. This seismic shift has seen organisations put online user experience and, more recently, mobile at the heart of what they do. With such an appetite for innovation, coupled with diversification from companies that have a strong heritage in the industry, we believe the evolution of the global travel industry will centre on collaboration.
In recent years Amadeus has begun to formalise its work with start-ups. Initiatives such as Amadeus for Startups in North America, Amadeus Next in Asia Pacific and Amadeus Ventures globally, look to invest in companies that actively seek to enhance the travel experience of business and leisure travellers. For example, Amadeus has a particular interest in cutting-edge technologies such as fare prediction through data analytics; bot-training and artificial intelligence and smart baggage, which can be tracked and weighed through mobile apps.
It’s fair to say that both traditional and start-up businesses are focussed and committed to improving traveller experience and to growing and shaping the industry. Amadeus Ventures is just one part of the industry-wide movement fostering start-up growth.
Travel Technology Europe’s Launchpad offers start-ups across the travel and hospitality industries the chance to showcase their innovations and help shape the footprint of what’s to come. With such innovation and collaboration taking place around the world, the global travel industry has never felt so fresh and exciting.
Amadeus will be exhibiting at Travel Technology Europe. The show takes place on 22 - 23 February 2017, Olympia London.
Register - free to attend.