Sessions on disruptive technologies and innovation drew a huge audience during the travel tech show at WTM on Monday 7 November.
A vast panel of experts including tourism and hospitality professionals gathered alongside travel technology and media specialists for the eTourism session on the impact of disruption.
Themes covered at the session, organised by Bournemouth University, ranged from the sharing economy to the power of Google and the areas that are still ripe for disruption.
Andy Owen Jones, co-founder of bd4travel, suggested travel companies should stop spending money with Google. He was talking about how disruption happen when the existing “value flow” in travel is changed.
Owen Jones said: “If you’re going to look for disruption, you need to look at how you’re going to disrupt Google. Anything else is just incremental innovation.”
He added that “switching money away from Google” should be the main focus of every travel company in the world.
Other “money pools” to go, he said, include the Global Distribution Systems and retargeting technology which he said was attracting a great deal of investment yet still providing a horrible user experience.
Kevin May, co-founder and senior editor of Tnooz also had strong views on disruption saying that it’s really only Airbnb and Uber that have truly disrupted the industry in recent years by coming up against regulatory issues because they have challenged the status quo.
May went on to emphasise that disruption and innovation are really hard with “ridiculously high mortality rates for travel startups” in recent years.
Panels later in the day, run by WTM London & Traverse, focused on video and how and why brands should incorporate it into their marketing strategies.
Facebook was highlighted as an important channel for video sharing driven by the mobile trend and the online behaviour of different generations.
Kevin Mullaney, head of digital, Flagship Consulting, pointed out that Millennials are more likely to look at a video then read about something.
He also cited Facebook’s chief executive Mark Zuckerberg who has said that video will be the main form of content across the social network in the next five years.
Panellists also provided tips for brands looking to use live video in the marketing mix. Tawanna Browne Smith of momsguidetotravel.com advised companies to watch other people’s broadcasts, be consistent and use other channels to cross promote videos.
Snapchat was also highlighted as a good channel for live broadcasts in terms of how easy to use and immersive it is.
Food and travel blogger Niamh Shields dispelled myths that it’s only for teenagers by revealing that more than 50% of new Snapchat users are over 25 years old.
A final session during the Travel Tech Show at WTM focused on YouTube with tips on how to engage people using the channel.
Shu, a food, travel and lifestyle vlogger on YouTube under the name dejashu, said it’s important to know your audience, make the information easy to digest and not go off track.