The Advantage Travel Partnership focussed its 2017 conference on the fusion between ‘Man and Machine’ as the consortium called on travel agents to embrace technology.
Keynote speaker Jason Bradbury, former host of the Gadget Show, set the tone with a talk on the exponential growth of technology and later told Travel Weekly how agents should not be afraid of cutting-edge tech, but use it to their own advantage.
Break-out sessions for delegates on cyber security, voice-recognition, Princess Cruises’ ocean medallion and social media followed as Advantage members – including many high street leisure agents – were challenged to explore new ways of utilising technology.
Headline speaker, Olympic cycling hero Sir Chris Hoy, also touched on technology used within his sport but was speaking to show that the human touch is still important in the world of technology.
Closing the conference, Advantage’s managing director Julia Lo Bue-Said said the travel industry can be a technology leader, giving agents more time to add value with the personal touch.
She said: “Technology is really exciting for travel, as we are selling dreams.
“Agents have the perfect product to engage with customers and think outside the box. We hope they are inspired to tap into the amazing platforms out there, whether blogs, pictures or videos, and come up with ideas to help them stand out from the crowd.
“Think about technology but don’t forget people. Humans are our biggest asset.”
Advantage chairman Steven Esom added: “It’s about people, their decisions and how to drive more customers to their businesses. To do that they must embrace the best that technology has to offer.”