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"Chaos Calls" - Technology and the Travel Industry


"Travel, tourism, and hospitality is the world’s largest industry," according to Philip Wolf, President and CEO of PhoCusWright. "It represents 8% of global employment, 9% of global capital invested, and 10% of Global GDP."

More importantly, he emphasized, "Technology is the engine of the sales, distribution, and marketing side of the world’s number one industry."

Curious to capture Phil's views on the changing technology landscape in the travel industry, Ness's Phil Marshall had the chance to conduct a video interview with him while attending PhoCusWright's TravDex trade show in Atlanta.

In the course of their conversation, Phil Wolf explained that PhoCusWright's current perspective on travel technology can be summed up with the words, "Chaos Calls: Navigating the New."

In order to assist in said navigation, he laid out 5 factors that will make the world of travel technology increasingly random, unpredictable, and, well, chaotic. They are:

1. The Proliferation of Devices and Channels

The continuing emergence of new devices and channels, from mobile phones to automobile nav systems equipped with SIM cards, is redefining sales and marketing strategies along with the underlying technology required to execute them.

2. The Evolution of Search

The technical fragmentation just mentioned puts enormous strain on search. In addition to optimizing for text-based search in Google, you also have to optimize your video, your audio, your images and everything else. To make matters worse, Google can’t see Facebook content while more and more publishers are putting an increasing amount of their content behind passwords and firewalls.

3. Millions of New Travelers

Many more travelers are leaving their borders for the first time, especially in the Asia Pacific Region, and a lot of companies are thinking it’s safe to ignore these folks. Phil Wolf's message boils down to this, "It's not!"

4. Increased Emphasis on the Visual

"Interfaces are evolving to be primarily visual," Phil says, pointing to the image- and icon-heavy nature of instructional collateral accompanying new technology products to illustrate his point. If your web presence is too text-centric, you're going to lose people.

5. Caution: Significant Surprises Ahead

"In a digital economic marketplace like this," Phil insists, "with chaos, the probability of a significant surprise increases exponentially." Significant surprises can take many forms including disruptive technologies, game-changing acquisitions (like the rumored acquisition of ITA Software by Google), or the emergence ("out of nowhere") of a new player who quickly becomes dominant.

If you'd like to see the interview in full, here it is:

Are you ready for the coming chaos?

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