Gathering for our second annual Travel Technology dinner, a range of CEOs and CTOs from across the industry met for an evening of dinner, networking and discussion on the topic of “the state of technology in travel”.
Richard Prosser, Chairman of Audley Travel, opened the evening drawing on his recent trip to the Phocuswright conference, noting that in his opinion the acceleration of transformation in travel technology – is the most exciting, and competitive, in his extensive career. He made a strong case for the need for internal teams to be given increased resources to explore new ideas and techniques in the spirit of maintaining competitive advantage.
James Bilefield, Chairman of Cruise.co, then challenged the room on their ability to disrupt from within. With the availability of the most powerful computers, mature skills sets in the recruitment market and a user base that is now highly digitised, James asked where the audience was looking for their next differentiating feature. Is it in a UX tweak? Is it in a data insight? Is it via third party partnerships and services? James flew the flag for an ultra-agile, highly streamlined development methodology in order to find the right balance between servicing current customers and having a sustainable model for innovation.
The room responded with varied opinion on the value of relying on third party resources in the travel technology space. Some CTOs shared their view that there is no more efficient approach than having an in-house team of highly invested specialists. There was also strong support for the outsourced/partnership model, in a world where vertical specialisms in software delivery are a proven business model.