Travolution Summit

October 18, 2021

One of the best things about being at a busy agency like Siren is the diverse range of clients we get to work alongside.  

 

Each client account demands knowledge of a different sector and it’s been great fun becoming more acquainted with new industries during my time at Siren. There’s always more to learn, and that’s why I jumped at the opportunity to attend the 2021 Travolution European Summit, held on the 30th September at the Oval, London. 

 

Travolution is a trade media title that serves the needs of the travel industry. They regularly hold summits where industry leaders meet and discuss the state of their sector, ideas are exchanged and new innovations presented.  

 

Over the past 18 months, travel leaders have had to meet virtually, and this September’s summit marked the return of in-person events. When I first arrived at the Summit, I could tell many attendees were excited for the opportunity to meet with their friends and industry connections face-to-face for the first time in so long. 

 

The past year and a half have thrown up incredible challenges for travel businesses, but I think that by simply being in the same room as one another, travel industry leaders felt optimistic before the session even began. 

 

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The morning’s optimism was matched by the overall theme of the Summit; to Build Back Better. This phrase is thrown around a lot by our leaders, but at the Summit it was clear that concrete solutions were up for discussion and there really was the opportunity to improve on what came before as the industry moves beyond the pandemic.  

 

Lee Hayhurst, Executive Editor at Travolution, set the tone of the day’s discussions with a panel session on technological innovation. For many in the industry, technology has always been of importance, but the pandemic forced many to cut their spending on IT development.  

 

While on the face of it this could be worrying news for the sector, there was hope. The technological innovation that drives better customer experiences and increases revenue does not always come about via huge budgets. Instead, partnerships between the different industry players may be the best path to successful innovation. 

 

Many of the day’s discussions focused on the role of technology in travel and I found these conversations particularly illuminating. Siren clients, Whoosh, Ordamo, and Codegen all provide technology to the travel industry in different ways and the talks led me to wonder more about the part they play in the travel industry at large.  

 

A holiday maker using Whoosh’s Real-Time Journey Dashboard on a train, or Ordamo’s digital menu in a hotel, will be doing so as only one small part of an overall holiday. Gaining a better understanding of the interplay between our clients’ spaces in the market and the technologies of the travel industry more broadly was fascinating. 

 

Beyond discussions of technologies there were also opportunities to listen to industry leaders share their expertise and thoughts. Alan French, CEO of Thomas Cook UK, explained how he helped resurrect the brand after its public collapse in 2019. Alan told us that the disruption caused by the pandemic means consumers are grateful of a little more “hand holding” when it comes to booking their holidays – a gap in the market that he believes Thomas Cook UK is well placed to fill. 

 

By the end of the day’s sessions the morning’s optimism was still in the room. After hearing about exciting innovative technologies and stories of inspiring travel industry success, I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who left the conference excited about the travel sector’s ability to truly build back better in the coming years.