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Travel Is Your Business

Travel Is Your Business

Author: MouthMedia Network

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Travel and hospitality industry professionals get weekly insights from leaders across the business with "TIYB" on their playlists. The series features interviews with thought leaders and innovators changing the face and setting the pace of travel, with a focus on fascinating new technologies and groundbreaking new strategies.
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What could the hotel industry learn by several putting leaders in hotel tech in one room?Recently, VoyagerHQ hosted executives from ALICE, Uplift and Travel Tripper — in partnership with the robust Cornell Hotel Society community—in front of a live audience for a useful and relevant discussion with many takeaways for everyone in the hotel industry— from independent boutiques to major chains—on how innovation plays a crucial role in the  path forward to improve guest experience and stay competitive.The Speakers:Alissa Hendel: SVP Strategic Partnerships & Brands @ ALICEAlissa joined ALICE in January as SVP Strategic Partnerships & Brands. Since graduating from Cornell University's School of Hotel Administration she spent the past 12 years at Sabre Hospitality Solutions where she served in various leadership roles, including VP Strategic Sales for North America and VP Business Development for Enterprise Accounts. Alissa currently sits on the Dean’s Council of Young Alumni for the Hotel School and also serves as a Regional Vice President for the Cornell Hotel Society.Tom Botts: Chief Commercial Officer @ UpliftTom joined Uplift from Miraval Group, where he served as SVP and CMO, ultimately successfully selling the brand and resorts to Hyatt Hotels. Prior to Uplift, Tom held executive positions across the airline, hotel, and online intermediary industries, including at Denihan Hospitality, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, and Hotwire.com. Tom was also the co-founder and managing partner of Hudson Crossing, LLC. Tom sits on the board of directors or advisory boards of several companies, including Adara Media, Duetto Research, Hudson Crossing, and Rocketmiles (acquired by Priceline). He holds a BS in Logistics and Marketing from the University of Missouri.Steffan Berelowitz: VP of Digital Platforms @ Travel TripperSteffan is the VP of Digital Platforms at Travel Tripper and Pegasus Solutions where he oversees the website and digital marketing services for hotel customers. A pioneer in all things web and mobile, Steffan has spent more than 20 years in online services and technology. He was formerly founder of Bluetrain.io, a website platform acquired by Travel Tripper in 2015. Prior to Bluetrain.io, Steffan founded Bit Group, one of Boston's top 10 digital web agencies, implementing more than 350 web sites for 150 companies including Cisco, Dell, EMC, two divisions of GE, as well as other prominent B2C organizations.Moderated by: James Nannos: James is an experienced hospitality tech leader with a track record in securing strategic partnerships, motivating high sales output, and streamlining internal operations for maximum efficiency and profitability. James is also a (retired) Captain, Troop Commander, and OEF-Kuwait Veteran in the PA Army National Guard, where most recently he commanded a 96-person Cavalry Troop. James currently sits / volunteers on the Cornell Hotel Society Alumni Board. Sponsors:Cornell Hotel Society: Founded in 1925, CHS NYC is the oldest, largest, and most active regional alumni chapter of Cornell University's School of Hotel Administration. The Chapter's primary goal is to provide a forum of educational and networking opportunities for its members to achieve both their career and personal goals. The Chapter organizes roughly a dozen engaging, high-profile events a year for alumni and students and has raised over $100,000 for scholarships and endowments that are routed exclusively back to the School of Hotel Administration.Voyager HQ: Voyager HQ is the startup club for the global travel, tourism, and hospitality industry, bringing together entrepreneurs, corporate partners, and investors to create the future of travel experiences. With over 1,500 startup members around the world, Voyager HQ provides the community with connections, events, and coworking space curated for the travel industry.
The millennial generation is traveling more than ever before, looking for community, location, and curation. Selina has designed unique hotel co-living, co-working spaces around these needs. Digital nomads are embracing this new traveling lifestyle in droves. Selina is thinking about topics like loyalty and technology for the next generation of hospitality. Rachele Caserza, Director of Global Strategy for Selina, joins Bess Chapman in the MouthMedia Network studio.
A fireside chat on innovation between representatives of two of the most forward thinking travel groups…Rashesh Jethi (SVP Engineering for Americas & Head of Innovation for Airlines for the world’s largest GDS, Amadeus) and Bess Chapman (Operating Principal for JetBlue Technology Ventures) discuss travel tech infrastructure, innovation, and possibilities at the Travel Disruption Summit presented by Voyager HQ, and sponsored by Amadeus and Fareportal.In this episode:What AI means for the travel industryHow everything has changed with hyper-cheap hyper-computingUsed to depend on massive investments for AI, and now it simply requires a lot of data and smart peopleHow machine learning sit on top of that, what it means when airlines and other travel business starts really knowing customersMachine learning is one discipline of AI, and it means you feed computer data, makes sense of data, make more personalized recommendations, much potential in marketingHow it is a challenge that many players are at different maturity in technology stacksMany are moving to open APIs to encourage growth and innovationPHOTO CREDIT: EVA CRUZ, CROUCHING TIGER LLCRegulation issues an inhibitor to innovation, but most regulation is to keep us safeBe respectful of regulation that’s thereGDPR an exampleWhat it means that not all travel providers can keep up with changes at the same paceAntiquated innovation all aroundThe biggest white space for disruption in airportsWhy airports will be the malls of the futureAirports can be an oasis of commerce and relaxationPrescreening and biometrics, making screening fast track, frictionlessIdentifying you as a traveler, then providing you a contextual experience and a reference to what is available around youAmadeus believes in tapping into the creative energy of anyone, supporting innovationOverhyped technology (personal opinion) is blockchainBags as a huge white space, RFID, and moreHow NDC change Amadeus’ current setup, and the next evolution in standard with a lot of interest from customersAR and VR in the travel space, ideal use-cases, and why they could just become another screen we get used toUsing VR to book trips and for in-flight entertainment, shopping, training – and what are the challenges?A lot of opportunity for companies to help other companies make moneyWhat is looked for by Amadeus venture fundPHOTO CREDIT: EVA CRUZ, CROUCHING TIGER LLC
Designing customer experience in travel...Liliana Petrova, Director of Customer experience at JetBlue Airways, Visionary, Strategist, Customer Experience Professional and Blogger, joins John Matson, Bess Chapman, and Pavan Bahl in the MouthMedia Network studios powered by Sennheiser.In this episode:Liliana Petrova on designing for Experience is like a multi-phase cakeWhat is movement,Technology design, how to achieve movement as fast and seamless as possibleHow people will feel about the brand and interactionsWhy the experience designer needs to be a vision thinker and can’t design in incrementsFacial recognition, and why with some brands it is like having a same experience like prison or the subway, and determining that will never happen like that with JetBlue as an experienceDelight comes from the elements and when it works to one’s standardsDesigning experience is like being like a conductor of an orchestraInnovation is not building new things, but finding connections that didn’t exists before between existing thingsGetting a sophisticated program up in just four monthsWill airports be the player of the future they are today?The quest to eliminate waiting time with bags and taking away levels of frictionHow airports could transform from being simply a processing center, and therefore offer a chance to give you joyOther brands doing it right, and those doing it wrong — Milan train system can do betterEvery customer has their own version of an emotional reaction — but engineering things like efficiency can create emotional experiences, creating valueBeing driven by making the world a different place, making life easierLiking things that stretch when it is implausibleWhy the Hyperloop is excitingHow Petrova moved from financial analyst to designThe baseline of customer experience is process and strategy, making connections and seeing all channels of marketingAnd hard workHow enterprise brands can’t preserve everything with scaleInnovation is not the end goal, it’s a way to be relevant to the customerThe alignment in the interest of the future costumerCredit cards and miles/points/rewardsPetrova on being Bulgarian and a view at her work and the American ecosystem, and having perspectiveWhy Abraham Lincoln was amazingAn intuitive move and coming to America, having two “homes”, being a citizen of the worldDoingcxright.com
Merchandising content platform for flight shopping…Robert Albert, CEO of Routehappy (the industry standard for airline rich content, acquired by ATPCO) joins John Matson and Nick Vivion in the MouthMedia Network studios powered by Sennheiser.In this episode:The most commonly desired amenity in travel: seat, then WiFiSelling a singular vision when pitching/building RoutehappyHow it is not actually all about priceAn entire ecommerce category that’s comeditized, we all about the experience from that moment onExplaining products and services customers are happier, and the industry does betterHow it was obvious to him that every customer needed thisWhy Albert feels it has felt like spreading a religion, every meeting is positive, but not necessarily a priority all the timeIt is an organic experience, brick by brick building the path forward for the company and the recognition of the needHow the pace of building the company has helped them build it right, solving a complex problem, and why the company is ready for prime time now and can solve global differentiation problem in flight shoppingWhy GDS’s didn’t solve this priorSales cycles in travel vs. funds for startupsMassive network effect, explaining the story and getting airlines and distributers to align on the story and potential impactHow hard Albert and team worked building the company, holding twenty five meetings a week while traveling, making good product decisions that got companies interestedOriginally Routehappy was about consumer flight reviews, then built APIs of data, and operating leanHappy and cheap as a product compassHow Routehappy’s solution was now described as being able to enable the industry with better data, and that resulted in the first serious ways people were paying attentionMoving from B to C to B to B as a pivotPineapple chunks, and why this Australian treat was the snack, and the meaningHow Routehappy was recently acquired by ATPCO, software that manages the world’s airfaresUTA rich context (universal ticket attribute)Becoming the “Switzerland of rich content”, how Routehappy can now deliver on the thing they said they were doing for seven yearsOverall vision as the next gen storefront, how it is time to modernize flight shopping, how indirect channels can and should transform, and coming together with the “how”The happy empire and the tip of the icebergAlbert’s parental inspiration for travel
Online Travel Agencies with Fareportal and CheapOair…Sam Jain (bio), CEO/Founder of Fareportal, CheapOair and OneTravel.com, Board Chairman of Voyager HQ, joins Peter Crysdale (Co-Founder of ReCorp), Pavan Bahl (CEO of Open Source Business), Rob Sanchez (COO of Open Source Business), and Marc Raco (CPO of Open Source Business) for the first episode of Travel Is Your Business podcast.Taking initiative to fill a gap, customer service, and introducing technologyIn one of his few in-depth interviews ever, Jain covers why he started CheapOair to fill a gap in current digital online travel space, and because of the lack large contact center presence. How his background in business-to-business and customer service led to creating a digital online travel agency with a customer service focus, now the only OTA today with a toll free number on every web page, and more than 2,000 travel agents full time.Turning a 4k debt on AmEx card into a huge business by trying to solve a dysfunction. his “coming to America” story inspired by a family jewelry business, an idea sparked by working a year for no money at a small travel agency, and buying tickets from wholesalers, the two worlds of published fares and consolidated wholesale net traded flights. The impact of Jain introducing technology with simple databases, and pivoting into an ecommerce business. Getting into the business with a model as a flight focused OTA, and providing a great user experience with a three step booking path and strong customer service, going up against four established players, and the complexity of the processes and transactions, such as 80,000 schedule changes per month.Learning from pivots, user experience, and VoyagerJain assertion that ecommerce is not complex when focused on product and having a depth of knowledge on one’s vertical, bootstrapping CheapOair as a pivot to go directly to the customer, a prior failed pivot, and lessons learned when getting into the hotel space. The importance of keeping focus on a core product and knowledge, and defending against OTA’s with cheaper flights with diversity of channels. How the entire seamless user experience is important from the beginning to post-transaction, and keeping target on getting repeat visitors to lower acquisition costs,New technologies and the space being innovated, the new ability to book Amtrak, and focusing on mobile first. The Voyager incubator co-working space as an eyes and ears on innovation, looking at artificial intelligence, the value of the startup mindset, and a determination to tap into that talent pool.Monkey commerce, dealing fruit, and global travelsThe personal questions of Off the Beaten Path travels to Mathura, India, witnesses monkey commerce, dreams of a fruity excuse to go to Honolulu, and enjoys pizza in Nepal.
A mobility provider that has changed the way over 100 million people have traveled -- FlixBus is now taking on the US...Joanna Patterson, Head of Business Development for FlixBus (a unique combination of tech startup, e-commerce platform and sustainable transportation company) joins Marc Raco and Anthony DeRico.How we need more intercity bus travelBus travel hasn’t innovated quickly, other players haven’t brought technology that makes it better for consumer, and how FlixBus does take a fragmented industry and makes it better to help more people get placesA main player in Europe, hoping to be main player in USA few different clicks you can track buses, buses are well maintained, there is a better experience including plugs, wifi, clean,Charter bus operators typically are partnersAllows bus companies its to enter the line run business because they don't have to setup a full business model and infrastructureFlixBus in the US trying to convince people to take buses for the first timeBeing a game changer is a combination of things: great mobile experience and good experience being on the bus, using data to optimize pricing and the networkSkewing toward millennials and college studentsThe physical touchpoint with the customer is a driverBeing a hand in hand partner in the success ion bus operatorsThe nature of the partnershipImportant that partners can provide the customer with a good experienceTechnological capabilities are not important because FlixBus has that capabilityHow treating customers well is very importantManagement and training of drivers and their interaction with customers  including on the "mobility partner portal"Does maple flavored salmon jerky meet expectations?#NOTICETHEBUSES
Data as a roadmap to innovation, development and customer success for enterprise companies in the travel industry with XenoDATA Partners…Taylor Culver , Founder of XenoDATA Partners (a boutique management consulting firm partnering with you on making data strategy successful), and his associate Michael McDowell, join Marc Raco and Anthony DeRico in the MouthMedia Network studio powered by Sennheiser.In this episode:A vertical agnostic companyWhy travel has a special place in Taylor and Michael’s hearts – traveling 40-50 countriesData is a strategic assetLearning from working at Hertz on the corporate development teamTalent in work force is versed in data and can really able to ask the right questionsWhat needs help now with data in the travel space?Enterprise issues in legacy systemsTransferring data back and forth to shape experiences downstreamOpportunities to utilize data points in during the experience, not just online – such as between the taking of ticket to the time you’e in the seat of a planeThe integrated nature of Hertz communication, customer feedback, and dynamic feedbackGenesis of the. companyOpportunity – enterprise customers get the most value out of their dataThe $40B niche industry – car rentals, and opportunities to disrupt 
AirAsia has an eye on how technology innovation can disrupt the areas of the travel industry…When you’re the largest airline in a country, with more than 100 million passengers last year and ranked this year by Forbes the best low cost airline in Asia, you’re going to know a lot about what your customers need and want. You’ll know about their behavior throughout their journey with you, and how you can grow as a customer and as an ever increasingly relevant player.  In the travel industry. AirAsia Group is taking that experience and running—(or flying)—with it. With an eye on how technology innovation can disrupt the areas of the travel industry Air Asia is eyeing for expansion, and to be of value to other industry players  — (and even other industries).themyour brand Aireen Omar, AirAsia Deputy Group CEO (Technology and Digital), joins John Matson and Bess Chapman for a discussion on why the airline has made a meaningful play into venture funding and startups, a search for talent worldwide, and investing in unicorns. Recorded in the MouthMedia Network studio powered by Sennheiser.In this episode:Data is invaluable What makes an airline stand out—how you make a customer feel, the right kind of services and products, as seamless sand possibleAnd branding is important, seeking a fun and enjoyable way to consume itUnderstanding needs and wants, and helping them discover what they don’t know they wantRedbeat Ventures, embracing technology, and how AirAsia has a. lot of data, and has discovered the behavior of passengersAirAsia wanting to seek for talent all over the world, and find solutions and disrupt the travel industry they want to expand to, and be of value to other industry players (and perhaps other industries as well)The resulting venture fund and separate and off balance sheet, to invest in unicorns around the worldThe wide range of who be in the fund, including lifestyle companiesThe beauty of how AirAsia can work with startups, given the 100M+ passengers per yearThe likely impact of an economy shift on the business
Collaborative technology to the global airline industry that enables its customers to improve the pace and quality of aircraft maintenance, leading to significant productivity gains, lowered costs and improved safety…Tripp Higgins, VP of Business Development, and Andy Hakes, Founder/CEO, of AireXpert (tech ops event control), joins John Matson and Bess Chapman in theMouthMedia Network studio powered by Sennheiser.In this episode:Room for improvement in great communication with people out at airplanes and between travel companies and those peopleA lot of people working in adjacent roles who don’t work together and a lot situations develop on the flyBarriers – outsourcing, fragmentation of indie companies that don’t share resourcesAirlines relying on outsourced vendors, lack of training, very little standardization for communicationAireXpert is a communication channel that creates a standardized link, that allows people to communicate in same space, on the flyHow AireXpert’s business startedEveryone has the same painsThe difficulty of raising money in Buffalo NY, and needing capital to hire great talentHow being in small market has challenges and opportunitiesHot dogs!The sales cycle of approaching an airlineRaising funds and the venture landscape in BuffaloWhether the AireXpert executives feel less or more safe now with airlinesThe exhilaration of taking in the arrival at a new destination
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