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ITB Berlin News 2020 - #4

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I ITB BERLIN CONVENTION IStriving to be the platformat the centre of businessof travelSabre's CEO Sean Menke strives to transform theorganisation and its cultureSean Menke, the CEO of Sabre, was due to be thespecial guest for a “CEO Interview” at CityCube Berlinduring ITB. We asked Sean how he saw the futureof the industry in general, and the role of consumerexpectations.We are operating in a highlydigitalised world with rapidlyevolving consumer expectations.Over the past years, manysectors such as music, videoor retail have been reshapedby technology. Influenced byconsumer experiences in theireveryday lives, today’s travellersare demanding easy-to-useservices and products, instantgratification and a high degree ofpersonalisation.MACHINELEARNING ANDARTIFICIALINTELLIGENCEWILL RESHAPETHE WAYWE SELL,DELIVER ANDEXPERIENCETRAVELThis creates opportunities fortravel providers to innovate,especially when it comes todelivering a state-of-the-artconsumer-grade experiences,and there are certainly someobstacles, such as the highdegree of fragmentation and ourindustry’s built-in complexity.However, in my discussions withleading industry players, I’mseeing an increasing willingness tohave candid conversations, breakdown silos, and reimagine thebusiness of travel to the benefitof all stakeholders, including andabove all the travellers.How will technology furtherenhance the travel experience inthis coming decade?In the next decade, we believe thatmachine learning and artificialintelligence will reshape the waywe sell, deliver and experiencetravel. A world of just-what-Iwant,just-when-I-want-it, justhow-I-want-itis right around thecorner for the travel industry.Our customers succeed whenthe traveller’s demands are met,so our product developmentstarts with the traveller’s needsand we invest significantly inunderstanding their expectations,and delivering technology thatenables airlines, agents, hotelsand other stakeholders to meetand exceed those expectations.What are Sabre's “KPIs” and howare they progressing?Our industry is changing, andSabre wants to be a leader inthis evolution. We strive to bethe platform at the centre of thebusiness of travel, and our KPIsare designed to measure howwell we do on this journey. SinceI became CEO in December2016, I have dedicated my timeto transforming the organisationSean MenkeCEO of Sabreand its culture. We’ve prioritisedproduct health, undertaken themodernisation of the technologyinfrastructure that powersour platform, accelerated ourtransition to a modern, cloudbasedopen environment, andre-aligned the businesses so thatcustomers would hear a singlevoice and a unified strategy.For each of these efforts, wehave a set of detailed internalmeasurements of success and weare making good progress againsteach of them.Sabre’s offering is becomingmuch more “personalised”. Howdoes that work?The travel marketplace looksnothing like it did a half centuryago when Sabre was founded, andit continues to evolve with betterdata-driven offers that are tailoredfor consumers. Until very recently,the focus has primarily been onflights and accommodation – notjust for Sabre, but in the entireindustry ecosystem. But there aremany other opportunities. To besuccessful, you need technologyplatforms that bundle all kindsof travel content and make itavailable. I consider this to beour most important task: Howdo we make it possible to plan acomplete trip with our systems– and not just with flights andhotels?We want to lead that evolution. Inthe coming years, Sabre will leada new market for personalisedtravel. That’s our ambition, ourguiding star18 • ITB BERLIN NEWS • THURSDAY 26 TH MARCH

I SPECIAL FEATURE I MICE ILatvia isleveragingMICE as akey vectorfor tourismpromotionRiga old town, LatviaThe country's compact size allows for greatdiversity when planning an event programme.For example, a morning session may be held at acentral Riga hotel, with a transfer to the nearestnational park for an afternoon outdoors, withguests falling asleep to the peaceful sounds ofsilence at a rural guest house or manor estate.Riga offers 350 meeting rooms in historicaland contemporary settings from glamorousballrooms to airy minimalist spaces. The coastalcity of Liepāja is another option for small to midsizeconferences or incentive getaways. 2019saw the arrival of two new design hotels toaccompany the existing selection of independentproperties and the stunning Great AmberConcert Hall with its range of event spacesADVERTORIALBangkok Airways'MICE campaign flieshighA campaign to encouragemore meetings and incentivestravel to Thailand fromCambodia, Laos, Myanmarand Vietnam (CLMV) is nowin its third year.Bangkok Airways' "Fly,Meet, Shop" initiative offersincentives such as fasttrackimmigration servicesand discounts on in-flightshopping for meetings,incentives, conferences andexhibitions (MICE) travellers.Organised with ThailandConvention and ExhibitionBureau and CentralDepartment Store Group,the campaign already helpedthe number of MICE groupstravelling to Thailand fromCLMV countries grow from 19in 2018 to 44 in 2019ITB BERLIN NEWS • THURSDAY 26 TH MARCH 2020 • 19

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