“Whether it’s the old world or the new world, it’s necessary to put customers at the heart of the business. The human touch is key because we’re in the hospitality industry, no matter what technology or product you need. that to make it work.”
Christine Tan, an independent hospitality consultant who has participated in every WiT event since 2005, spoke these words sharply. He is a familiar face on the travel scene and has seen trends, fads and phases come and go over the last few decades. And “trends” were at the heart of the conversation that kicked off WiT Singapore 2022.
What essential areas of the pre-pandemic world can be combined with the ways of the new world? How are the new crop of industry experts applying the lessons of the past two years to their platforms?
At the crossroads: the Old World, the New World meet brought together two generations of industry leaders – those who rode the first wave of online travel and those who emerged from the second wave – to share ideas and ideals on how to take the best of both worlds and create a better way.
Omri Morgenshtern (CEO, Agoda) It is a perfect example of a travel pioneer making the best of both worlds. During the panel, he said, “I think booking travel together is happening now… It’s actually been happening for a long time. I think it was accelerated by the pandemic.”
He added: “The thing we didn’t crack is sustainability, or what we call sustainable travel internally. That’s because people don’t book everything at once. What we did not crack, as an industry, is the user experience to combine these things and enjoy better and better rates”. It’s an idea that has been echoed by many big players, platforms and OTAs lately, this idea of connected travel where travelers not only book everything – flights, accommodation, activities – in one app, but in one. scan to create the perfect travel experience. This connected journey is another fundamental feature of the post-pandemic landscape.
What everyone on the panel made clear is that change is key in travel and hospitality. As the old and the new continue to merge in the coming months and years, many experts believe it is time to rethink the way we perceive certain concepts in the tourism industry.
“I don’t like the term artificial intelligence. I like the term assisted intelligence because I think that will be the progression that will bring us to this new state. It’s not about trying to replace things, it’s about completing them first…,” he said Timothy O’Neil-Dunne (Director, T2Impact) In a statement that sharply contradicts the stereotypes we have heard about AI. As Hollywood has taught us, AI will one day create a hive mind company to create an army of robots, and our only hope is to call on Arnold Schwarzenegger to stop them. Naturally, Assisted Intelligence it can be a positive tool in the travel space, supporting human partners and enhancing their work, rather than ultimately replacing them.
However, nothing screams “new old world” more than travel content. “Old fashioned ads in a new fashion environment” is how Timothy Hughes (Vice President, Corporate, Development, Agoda) describes Whether it’s on Instagram, TikTok or YouTube, video content has become a driving force in the decision-making process of many travelers. In many ways, it was short-form content that preempted the reopening of borders for many people to experience the places featured in the videos for themselves.
Watch the full video to learn how travel and hospitality have been learning and adapting over the past two years to create a stronger and more authentic experience for travelers and consumers.