Understanding the future travel digital ecosystem and ensuring you don't miss the 'plane

14 May, 2018

While Bobby Healy, chief technical officer at leading B2B technology platform CarTrawler, acknowledges he is not the biggest fan of the term ‘Amazon of Travel’, he accepts it is a powerful phrase being touted about by many across the industry, none more so than Irish budget carrier Ryanair. But what is clear is that airlines are certainly becoming better retailers and embracing technology to boost their offer to customers.

Mr Healy is becoming a recognised name on the conference circuit with his fast-paced presentations making sense of technological developments and prepared to question some of the biggest names in the industry. And as an experienced inventor, investor and technology entrepreneur specialising in travel technology, what he says grabs attention and CarTrawler’s own successful experience gives it insights into developments at the leading edge of the travel digital ecosystem.

At the CAPA – Centre for Aviation Airline Leader Summit in Dublin later this week, Mr Healy will be joined by Kenny Jacobs, chief marketing officer at Ryanair, to present their views and experience of how to deliver successful customer engagement, through harnessing the technology revolution, a major challenge for an industry that has often been slow to embrace innovation and change.

Their keynote talk entitled 'Special Vision 2030 - What will the Travel Digital Ecosystem look like; and the opportunities it presents' will close the first day’s conference programme with the two executives expected to discuss how the global digital ecosystem has changed over recent years and what innovations lie ahead, how China is leading the pack, and what airline and other travel companies need to be thinking about in order to meet changing customer expectations.

Mr Jacobs will first discuss Ryanair’s own ‘Amazon of Travel’ aspirations, before Mr Healy looks at what the future holds in terms of technological opportunities. Speaking to The Blue Swan Daily last week, Mr Healy joked that he was happy to take second billing to Mr Jacobs as he could then “translate Ryanair’s aspirations into technological logic” using the likes of conversational commerce; machine learning, augmented and virtual reality, NDC and one order and more.

In aviation terms we are looking to the east for the strongest growth as the Asian region takes the more mature European airline business models and adapts them to regional needs. Mr Healy believes the industry should likewise be learning from the likes of China in terms of technology, especially in terms of mobile adoption and across Asia for their advancements in the tech space, specifically where they are going with conversational commerce and customer experience.

“China is way ahead of the West. Europe and the U.S has been completely leapfrogged by Asia on mobile. WeChat is the platform that really highlights how conversational commerce and support is taking hold there,” he explains. “Companies such as Alipay, WeChat Pay, QQ Pay and Baidu Wallet are also making towards creating a frictionless payments process.”

Mr Healy has come a long way from when he began his career as a programmer building video games for Nintendo at 16 years of age. But, with multiple billboard top 100 titles under his belt and already having sold a subsequent travel technology business – Eland Technologies – to industry giant SITA, he understands travel technology.

The Blue Swan Daily interviewed Mr Healy at the CAPA-ACTE Global Summit in London last October to learn more about how technology is influencing the travel space and in particular the role of conversational commerce. “It’s really easy to introduce Artificial Intelligence (AI) to reduce costs – it really is,” he explained. “But to translate that into an effective and scalable channel where you can really bring customers in and really save costs, you have to have a proper plan to go to market with and change consumer behaviour and airlines find that really difficult to do.”

It’s hardly a secret that the airline industry is facing myriad challenges, notably in the marketing and distribution areas, as companies with personalised data, and the analytics and artificial intelligence to go with it, become greater threats to the stability of the traditional airline model.

The high-level CAPA Airline Leader Summit, hosted at Powerscourt Hotel Resort & Spa in County Wicklow, to the south of Dublin, in the Republic of Ireland, for a sixth time, is a forum for debate and discussion of strategic issues facing the aviation industry and it is attracting delegate interest from across the globe.

The main summit subject is “Airlines making money: a vision of the future”, with an underlying theme of disruption and change and it will bring together global leaders to discuss key strategic issues and challenges facing the industry as new technologies come online and tougher regulations create downward pressure on traditional revenue streams. The forum will also explore adapting business models, smart innovations and how the industry can embrace collaborative partnerships to adapt and flourish in the digital age.

FIND OUT MORE… visit the CAPA Airline Leader Summit homepage to find out more about this not-to-be-missed opportunity to discuss relevant issues impacting the aviation sector and learn meaningful insights from your industry peers.