Real-time booking and support mechanisms will be supplied via social media with the use of digital currencies in the future.
That was the vision of travel in 2020 presented by dnata Travel boss Andy Washington at the Abta Travel Convention in the Azores.
The B2C Europe chief executive for the Dubai-based group also intimated that the organisation had ambitions to become “bigger and better” than his previous company, global OTA giant Expedia, which while large, still only represents 4% of the global market.
Washington would not be drawn on potential further acquisitions for the diverse company that ranges in the UK from Travel Republic through to trade brands Travel 2 and Gold Medal.
But he predicted more consolidation over the next few years and refused to rule out more deals in the UK and continental Europe due to the nature of the current fragmented market.
“We think we can get bigger and better than Expedia and want to make Travel Republic the best it can be,” Washington said.
Looking forward and referencing Brexit, he said: “Uncertainty is the new certainty”.
Using Monarch as an example, he added: “Don’t let this be you.”
Travel companies cannot afford not to invest in emerging technologies such as AI and chat bots but he admitted that “as an industry we are a bit behind” other sectors.
The millennial generation will trust authentic voices verses options from brands going forward.
Travel providers will “flock” to social media in future to offer real time customer and booking support with payments made by redefined digitalised virtual currencies, he forecast.
But Washington urged: “If you are not doing what the customer wants you will not be successful going forward.”