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Technologies that change the travel industry
On October 4th, 2018 Travel Tech Conference Russia was held – the annual conference bringing together leading IT experts and companies in travel industry.
The event opened with startup competition covering 4 projects: Surprise Me (local tour guides services), Road.Travel (travel content aggregator and travel planner), VacAgent (rental platform) and 1Checkin (flight check-in and additional services application).

Within the panel discussion Felix Shpilman (Ostrovok.ru), Dmitry Yakovlev (Yandex.Travel) and Khoren Airapetian (Travelata) have discussed modern trends in the travel industry: business processes automation, content improvement, customization and customer support pre-, post- and during trips.
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Leonid Marmer, CEO of Amadeus Russia, spoke about the already existing Amadeus technologies and new developments of the company designed to change the travel industry in the next 25 years. Amadeus Alita, a new technology, presented this year at the ITB in Berlin, has already been downloaded 25,000 times. Alita, a device for travel planning and booking through voice communication, listens and processes the conversation, recommends the content in accordance with the client's personal information, and also makes bookings and reservations. Navitaire Virtual Reality and Blink are widely popular smart solutions that help airports and airlines to handle luggage.

"Artificial intelligence, voice technologies, virtual reality, Internet of things, blockchain, bigdata, personalization, virtual interlining - these technologies will radically change the travel industry in the next 25 years. Modern machines can see, speak, make decisions and design products. Amadeus can design machines"- concluded Leonid Marmer.
The subject of travel automation was continued by Richard Harris, CEO of Intent Media. Google tends to e-commerce, and Amazon begins to engage in advertising. The basis of these changes is the customer database – a key element of the development of any contemporary modern. Due to intense work with the database, any company can create a better personalized offer for its customers.

In the second part of the event, Gregory Pomerantsev (Aeropartner Solutions Group) shared his experience in promoting Riga city as a destination within the development strategy of Baltic Airlines, resulting in creation of not only new image of Riga, but also of car and bicycle rental service.

Services Iway (Dmitry Salikhov) and Aviasales (Yaroslav Kotyshov) spoke about the most conversion positions of sites and the evolution of dynamic auction based on CPC and CPA, while Roman Blinov (Corteos) highlighted the main trends of business travels and the difficulties that stand in the way of implementing booking tools for corporate clients (Online Booking Tool).
The third part of the event made everyone think of whether there is an alternative to booking.com at the hotel service distribution market today? Bidroom and Travelline companies tried to answer this question by presenting their own hotel service products, while Richard Valtr, the founder and director of Mews Systems, called on hoteliers to be more attentive to LTV (Life Time Value) – a new indicator of hotel performance based on customer satisfaction. According to him, LTV should replace traditional RevPar when it comes to the success and effectiveness of each particular hotel. "We sell impressions, not rooms. While thinking about partnership, build a client-friendly partner network" - he said.

Francesco Canzoniere, Booklyng CEO, drew the attention of the audience to the fact that with the emerge of new technologies, the traditional sales funnel system (Awareness - Consideration - Purchase) no longer works. Purchase decisions are made very quickly based on the information a consumer has at the right moment of time (micromoment). It becomes more expensive to be in the focus of consumer attention. Therefore, the only way out for hotels is to build relationships with customers in order to remain in sight at the moment of purchase.

In the final part of the event, a Tours & Activities round-table was held with the participation of the leaders of the tours and excursions market: Egor Yakovlev (Izi.Travel), Alexander Kim (Sputnik8) and Boris Plotnitsa (Tripster). Participants discussed histories of their services, the difficulties they had met and future development of projects.

How to live in times of change? Will technologies replace people? What is it in store for travel business? The best answer to all these questions can be the phrase of economist Peter Drucker quoted by one of the participants: "The greatest danger in times of turbulence is not the turbulence; it is to act with yesterday's logic". To evolute the new logic and new rules of the travel service market – that was the primary task of Travel Tech Conference Russia 2018.
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