Tuesday, 19 September 2017

A call for press to attend EyeforTravel North America 2017

On October 19-20, over 350 senior travel executives from some of the biggest brands in travel will be meeting at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas at EyeforTravel North America 2017. EyeforTravel has released a limited number of passes exclusively for members of the press.

With attendees from brands such as Priceline, Lola, IHG, Marriott, Hilton, Expedia, Booking.com, Club Med, Carlson Wagonlit Travel, Trivago and many more – this is the perfect opportunity to find out from the decision makers themselves where the industry is headed and what the upcoming trends are before anybody else.

The event will be taking place at the Mandalay Bay over 2 days and will cover travel distribution, marketing, data, RM & Pricing as well as technology.  On both days, the event will start with keynote presentations until the lunch break, after which the event will split into 2 tracks and attendees will be able to choose the sessions they would most benefit from.

Some of the keynotes at the event include:

·       Prepare for the Next Wave of Disruption: What Will the Industry and Your Business Look Like In 10 Years’ Time?
·       Fireside chat: The State of Travel with the Priceline Group
·       How is the Macroeconomic Landscape Impacting the Travel Industry?
·       Building Brand Loyalty in an Era of Abundant Choice
·       Personalisation to Drive Ancillary Sales, Customer Satisfaction and Loyalty
·       Creating a Complete Customer Experience Through Smart Partnerships
·       Fireside Presentation & Q&A - Delving into Rise of The Non-Traditional Accommodation Model
·       Poised for Digital Transformation: How Will AI Revolutionize Travel?
·       Virtual and Augmented Reality: Hype or Hit?
·       Connecting the Data Dots to Build and Create Personalized Interactions using Complete Customer Profiles
·       The All-Inclusive Hotel Experience - Creating and Enhancing an Authentic All-Inclusive Guest Experience
·       A Mobile-First Mindset: From Search and Inspiration to Traffic and Transactions

Some of the latest speakers announced include: 

·       Paul English, CEO, Lola 
·       Todd Henrich, SVP – Corporate Development, Priceline Group 
·       Noah Brodsky, Senior VP – Worldwide Loyalty & Engagement, Wyndham Hotels 
·       Ben Bates, Commercial Excellence Manager, Booking.com
·       Michael Menis, SVP –Digital & Voice Channels, IHG 
·       Michael Marino, Senior VP – Loyalty & Digital, Caesars Corporation 
·       Michelle Woodley, Executive Vice President, Preferred Hotels and Resorts
·       Dan Christian, Chief Digital Officer, The Travel Corporation
·       Dr Sascha Meskendahl, Chief Revenue Officer, Blacklane  
·       Jay Fluegel, Head of Product – Customer Care, Expedia 
·       Parker Stanberry, Co-founder & CEO, Oasis 
·       Cliff Johnson, Co-Founder & Chief Development Officer, Vacasa 
·       Sam Macdonnell, Chief Technology Officer, Hotel Tonight
·       Michael Almeraris, Global Mobile Virtual Reality Partnerships & Strategy, Google
·       Kevin Froemming, EVP & Chief Marketing Officer, Playa Hotels & Resorts

To attend the event as press, please complete this form: https://goo.gl/forms/PIvDWR7Nu8VJD6eF2

For more information, please get in touch with:

Nikhil Vijayan
Marketing Manager
nikhil@eyefortravel.com+44 (0) 207 375 7165

Monday, 18 September 2017

Turn Insight into Profit by Driving Innovation in Travel Data

Today personalized travel is the internet, machine learning and mobile devices!
Data is the new oil of the information age. Organizations that can harness the power of data can enhance their customer experience, achieve a competitive advantage, improve conversion rates, segment more effectively, drive loyalty and develop unbeatable products.
EyeforTravel are excited about this change and have positioned two EyeforTravel events to focus on just this. 
Our two summits – Smart Travel Data Europe (Amsterdam Nov 29-30) and Smart Travel Analytics North America (February 27-28, Miami) will allow you to turn new data legislations and technology into an advantage and convert your data into pure profit.
Head of Research for EyeforTravel – Alex Hadwick had this to say “As travel brands tackle these issues, they do so with the aim of putting their customers first and trying to understand what makes them tick, and that trend is only going to accelerate.”  He went on to say “More sophisticated systems, increasingly skilled teams, more investment and an exponentially increasing universe of data means that brands will be better placed to reach their customers with targeted products that match their expectations!”
These event’s will bring together the best brands in travel to focus on how to develop data analytics, artificial intelligence, product development, revenue analytics, to drive loyalty and more personalized experiences for travellers.  
Take the chance to network with travel data decision makers from Accor, Airbnb, KAYAK, Hilton Hotels, Delta Airlines, Amazon, Lastminute.com Vueling Airlines, Marriot, Southwest Airlines, Wyndham Destination Networks, and more, join the events today.
Pick the event that works for you!
If Europe is your area of focus: http://events.eyefortravel.com/smart-travel-data-summit/ (event location: Amsterdam)
If USA is your area of focus: http://events.eyefortravel.com/smart-travel-data-summit-north-america/ (event location: Miami)
If you would like more information on attending contact Leo (Project Director) -  leo@eyefortravel.com
If your company would like to take on some of the limited branding exhibition opportunities at these events, reach out to Shreya (Head of Partnerships and Sales) shreya@eyefortravel.com


Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Why your next data hire should be a neural network

Neural networks are becoming more complex and powerful, creating a revolution in data analysis and making them indispensable to the travel and tourism industry according to EyeforTravel’s Does Deep Learning Hold the Answer? report.

Although Artificial intelligences (AI) are a long way from truly emulating the human brain and replacing your data analysts, they are taking their first steps and should definitely be a part of your data team. This is the conclusion of EyeforTravel’s new report into deep learning, which is free to download now.

The case for using neural network-powered deep learning techniques lies in the potential return on investment that they can provide. Not only can neural networks undertake complex analysis but they can also reduce workloads, freeing up data professionals to work on more demanding tasks. For example, the report notes that Stena Line’s deep learning program to understand price competition for its onboard products saves weeks of analyst labour, increases accuracy dramatically and all for a cost of roughly EUR15,000.  

Not only can they help with some of the more mundane tasks and working through very large data sets but it is constantly growing in complexity and will soon be able to take more tasks on. “Instead of building very complex models to understand the parameters that influence revenue, you just feed the data into a system and let the system – thanks to a deep learning algorithm – learn what works,” says Marion Mesnage, Head of Innovation and Research at Amadeus IT. “There is no assumption on the model whatsoever. That’s very disruptive…but we believe it could equal or outperform what humans can achieve.”

It's not just data teams that deep learning can help, marketing teams also stand to benefit substantially from deep learning. Neural nets can learn huge amounts about what makes customers tick, such as optimal pricing points and the best creative as well as where to deploy this. The report notes that The Travel Corporation is using deep learning to track online sentiment and automatically adjust advertising to appropriate formats and destinations. 

To find out more about deep learning download the free report now and see:
  • What brands such as Amadeus, Expedia, Stena Line, and The Travel Corporation are doing to harness deep learning.
  • How neural nets have been developed and how they power deep learning.
  • Where deep learning will transform the industry.
  • How deep learning can save time and reduce costs.
  • What the limits are to deep learning and how regulation might affect it.

The report is part two of EyeforTravel’s How Will Artificial Intelligence Transform Travel? report series. You can find the first report, which studies chatbots in travel, by clicking here.

Thursday, 7 September 2017

How travel brands are using deep learning to get ahead

Artificial intelligences running deep learning programs are already helping travel brands understand pricing, improve the customer experience, reduce workloads and make marketing smarter according to EyeforTravel’s new Does Deep Learning Hold the Answer? report.

The report, which is free to download now, examines the role that deep learning can play in travel and finds that far from being a futuristic concept, the machine learning technique is already creating real-world return on investment for travel brands.

One of the most obvious areas where deep learning is being deployed is in the area of predictive pricing. The report notes several different brands that are using deep learning in the field of pricing but in different ways. Both technology company Amadeus and metasearch firm Amadeus are deploying deep learning to understand airline pricing and model it into the future. Amadeus aims to maximise prices and revenues from airline tickets, whereas Aviasales is approaching the challenge from the consumer perspective. They claim that they can predict air fares with a 5% error margin and are applying this to make recommendations to customers about when and with which airline to book.

Stena Line on the other hand has combined deep learning’s ability to recognise objects and its pricing strategy. Their challenge was to make sure they were offering the cheapest prices on board compared to what consumers could buy on land but not to undercut to such a degree they were losing revenue. To do this manually would have been exhausting and expensive as there are tens of thousands of products to monitor. Through machine learning, neural networks and image recognition software, deep learning can recognize products and their prices and present findings back to the team with a more than 90% accuracy rating. 

To find out more about deep learning download the free report now and see:

  • What brands such as Amadeus, Expedia, Stena Line, and The Travel Corporation are doing to harness deep learning.
  • How neural nets have been developed and how they power deep learning.
  • Where deep learning will transform the industry.
  • How deep learning can save time and reduce costs.
  • What the limits are to deep learning and how regulation might affect it.

The report is part two of EyeforTravel’s How Will Artificial Intelligence Transform Travel? report series. You can find the first report, which studies chatbots in travel, by clicking here.

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Can deep learning change travel and tourism?

As data becomes the difference between a growing brand and one in decline, EyeforTravel’s new Does Deep Learning Hold the Answers? report finds that deep learning can and is changing the travel landscape.

Travel could be one of the main beneficiaries of rapid advances in Artificial Intelligence (AI) learning techniques as struggles to utilise huge amounts of data in order to understand complex human behaviours. Key to this is deep learning according to the report, which is free to download now. This a method where neural networks organised in hierarchical layers evaluate data sets. Deep learning deliberately aims to emulate the way that human and animal brains interpret information and consequently is making huge strides.

Currently, the technology still is at an early stage and the neural nets that power deep learning are far simpler than biological counterparts, usually using layers of nodes that passes a decision onto the next layer of nodes once a value has been reached. Therefore, what it truly excels at is focusing on a single task, which is typically finding relationships and patterns in very large quantities of data.

“What we are doing now is artificial narrow intelligence, AI that’s specific to a certain task,” says Amer Mohammed, Head of Digital Innovation at Stena Line. “We need to come up with mathematical models that can actually understand the world, not just fake understand it.” In the meantime some of these tasks that deep learning is already being used for in travel include pricing, language processing, image recognition, consumer analysis, and market modelling.

In the future, AIs will be able to tackle multiple tasks and come closer to human abilities as rapid advancements are being constantly made at the bleeding-edge of machine learning. Already Google’s DeepMind division has been able to build a multi-tasking AI and the rate of advance is staggering.

However, there a major issues and bottlenecks still to conquer if neural networks genuinely want to get close to the capabilities of the human brain. One key issue is the data and power that deep learning requires. For a neural network to effectively learn it most often required and often a guiding hand when initially tackling the task. They also a greedy when it comes to IT requirements. Whereas the human brain runs on the equivalent of around 20 watts, the AI that beat the top Go player in the world required 50,000 times that. Russian metasearch company Aviasales notes in the report that “System resource is the only limit. Even our test library consumes a lot. Hence, we could be more productive by achieving [a] new level of computer performance.”

“The opportunities are enormous and already unveiling themselves,” says Alex Hadwick, Head of Research at EyeforTravel. “Almost everything in travel has a huge number of variables as trip itineraries are complex with multiple decision points, making deep learning especially suited to drawing conclusions from the masses of data. The other thing about deep learning is that we are training it to get better and better every time we add information, so in theory this could be a really powerful tool for personalization. There is the potential to conduct far larger scale and more variated testing and then to combine this information and refine at each stage through dep learning.”

“It’s definitely going to come with ethical challenges, however,” believes Hadwick. Neural networks can end up being black boxes due to their complexity and multiple layers of decision making. You can find yourself with an answer but not knowing how the AI arrived at it. This will run counter to European data regulations in the case of customer-facing decisions and data for starters. We can also end up programming in our own biases and ignore potential mistakes, so we need to understand and master this technology and ask where it best deployed. If we do though, the possibilities are vast.”

To find out more about deep learning download the free report now and see:
  • What brands such as Amadeus, Expedia, Stena Line, and The Travel Corporation are doing to harness deep learning.
  • How neural nets have been developed and how they power deep learning.
  • Where deep learning will transform the industry.
  • How deep learning can save time and reduce costs.
  • What the limits are to deep learning and how regulation might affect it.

The report is part two of EyeforTravel’s How Will Artificial Intelligence Transform Travel? report series. You can find the first report, which studies chatbots in travel, by clicking here.

Start-ups are transforming the way people choose their vacation activities

Start-ups are jumping into the tours and activities scene and creating innovative new ways to connect consumers with inventory finds EyeforTravel’s new the Changing Face of Tours and Activities report.

A variety of start-ups have moved in to the tours and activities to capitalize on the fastest growing sector in travel, opening up new experiences for consumers and ways for them to purchase their vacation’s activities. EyeforTravel’s the Changing Face of Tours and Activities report, which is free to download now, has identified start-ups as key to understanding the development of the tours and activities market as they are innovating across the entire supply chain and broadening access to the sector.

Core to all of their businesses is the development of cheaper technology. Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) and cloud computing are allowing suppliers and vendors to sync up and distribute inventory, and start-ups are aiming to make this as easy as possible. Tours and activities suppliers can now independently upload their inventory to a variety of start-up services, such as Bokun or GetYourGuide, or they can work with other that provide them with templates to allow them sell online, such as TrekkSoft. These start-ups are then marketing tours and activities suppliers’ services across their own and thousands of third-party partners and interfacing directly with the suppliers’ reservation systems to make the process as smooth as possible. 

The upshot of this is it is allowing the sector to be brought into the digital age and giving consumers access to tours and activities that just five years ago would have been impossible. Consumers can now both book far in advance online from centralised databases of inventory and also use their smartphones to make reservations as they travel. They are also far better armed with information, for example Arrivedo aims to create neighborhood guides and use these to link together tours and activities, hotels and consumers.

Erik Tengen, Co-founder, Oaky App believes one day we could see a single platform capable of handling all activity bookings. “Traditionally offline-oriented people are making the shift towards online. And because of the growth in API possibilities, we're likely to soon get a market where people book all their activities on one platform,” he says.

This is not only to the benefit of the consumer, who has more choice, more personalized packages, and ways to plan and pay, but also travel brands across all verticals. “Think about the following: without technology, a personalized tour desk could only be available in the biggest hotels. Now, with technology, virtual and personalized desks could be in the smartphone of any user when reaching any hotel lobby, despite the size of the hotel,” says Alonso Franco, CEO and Co-founder of Arrivedo. Whereas previously, huge resources would be needed to put in place a distribution system for this most diverse sector of the travel industry, now even the smallest players can jump in to tours and activities.

Not only have start-ups helped to digitalize inventory, but they are also now the power behind the throne to several of the internet’s largest online travel companies. For example, Bokun teamed up with Expedia Local Expert at the end of 2016 with the aim of streamlining the booking process for tours and activities. GetYourGuide has integrated with Booking.com and lists its tours inventory via KAYAK’s dedicated tours and activities product and has recently partnered with EasyJet to offer tours and activities direct to the airline’s customers. TourRadar has been working with Amadeus since 2015 and TrekkSoft works with Viator.

Tours and activities start-ups are therefore becoming a key piece of the travel industry and everyone should keep an eye on who becomes the next big thing.

  • The current state of the tours and activities market.
  • The technical challenges of incorporating tours and activities into a digital travel product.
  • New start-ups and disruptors.
  • How OTAs, hotels, and airlines are including tours and activities.
  • Technology and how it is shaping the future of this market.

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Why everyone in travel is getting excited about tours and activities

As the last major sector to be brought into the digital distribution ecosystem, there is now a rush to grow business in tours and activities says EyeforTravel’s new The Changing Face of Tours and Activities report.

From the big online travel players, to airlines, to hotels, to a host of start-ups, tours and activities are seeing huge interest and investment according to EyeforTravel’s report, which is free to download now. This is because advances in technology and platforms have opened up the market and all of the aforementioned players are eyeing the area as a major growth opportunity.

TripAdvisor, believes we are at a turning point in the tours and activities market. “It’s an exciting time to be in the attractions space – it’s entering a significant growth phase as it continues moving online. It’s TripAdvisor’s largest long-term growth opportunity outside of hotels,” says Laurel Greatix, Director of Communications. Indeed, the report notes that the Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) for the company’s hotel revenue from 2013 to 2016 was 10% but its non-hotel revenue grew 85% a year.

Key to tapping into the growth will be mastering technologies, principally mobile and Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). Tours and activities booking engine GetYourGuide has seen a phenomenal shift towards mobile bookings. “Only four years ago, less than 5% of our customers booked tours and activities via mobile devices. This year we expect more than 50% of bookings to be mobile driven,” says Johannes Reck, the company’s CEO. Smartphone access to tours and activities is critical, as around half of consumers continue to book during the vacation itself according to EyeforTravel research, and consumers are getting better and cheaper access to data as they travel.

APIs are the second main technology transforming the space as they allow a much wider variety of brands to access inventory and offer this to their customers. In the case of tours and activities these are typically, response-request systems that allow developers to access inventory and present it to end users through incorporating HTML code. The ease of integration means many more players across the industry can sell tours and activities direct to the consumer. There are now more than 50 APIs that can be used to access torus and activities inventory, including Viator, Expedia, Musement, Trip.com, Rezdy, BeMyGuest, mTrip, Trekksoft, G Adventures, GetYourGuide and TourCMS to name just a few.

This is creating an exciting mix of new and established companies rushing into the space and expanding consumer access to tours and activities, which will push the sector to become a major growth engine in travel and tourism.  

  • The current state of the tours and activities market.
  • The technical challenges of incorporating tours and activities into a digital travel product.
  • New start-ups and disruptors.
  • How OTAs, hotels, and airlines are including tours and activities.
  • Technology and how it is shaping the future of this market.

Also make sure to check out all of EyeforTravel’s free reports and white papers by clicking here.