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Travel Forward at ATM Virtual reveals messaging platforms

Travel Forward at ATM Virtual reveals messaging platforms

Travel Forward at ATM Virtual reveals messaging platforms will be key tool for travel and hospitality brands to interact with consumers

  • Online messaging platforms preferred tool for travellers to interact with airlines, hotels and resorts
  • Travel Forward at ATM Virtual bridging the gap between uncertainty and resilience during global COVID-19 pandemic
  • Global Exhibitions Day 2020 takes place today with simple message: Exhibitions are key to rebuilding economies

At a time when face to face communication has not be possible as a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic, the face of travel technology has evolved with consumers turning to messaging to interact with all forms of travel brands from airlines to hotels and resorts, industry experts revealed during the debut Travel Forward at ATM Virtual event.

During the month of March 2020 alone, messaging increased by more than 50% in many of the countries hardest hit by the global health crisis, according to the latest data from Facebook, with over 20 billion messages currently exchanged with businesses every month on Messenger.

During Travel Forward session Conversational Commerce for Travel Brands, Facebook’s Head of Destinations & Events, Sara Gentile, and Head of Aviation & Hospitality MENA, Ameen Malhas, provided insights into what travel technology will have to offer beyond 2020, including the potential c-commerce will have in helping travel and hospitality brands to connect and transact with consumers.

“Travellers value personalisation from brands and this trend is only likely to heighten in a post-COVID-19 world, with around 54% of travellers who opt to book with online travel agents (OTAs) seeking on-location recognition from brands. Adding to this, the top three engagement travellers seek from aviation and hospitality brands are live updates, discounts and helpful tips,” said Sara Gentile.

“By combining chat with automated and AI-driven systems, brands can target information and offers precisely to individual travellers. This increases relevance, which is exactly what people want, with an overwhelming majority more likely to buy from brands that remember who they are and that provide relevant recommendations.”

Personalisation isn’t the only factor driving the popularity of messaging in today’s society, convenience, immediacy and scalability also make it well suited for engaging with travellers. However, the execution must be right to succeed.

“Ultimately, messaging must be responsive and sophisticated to meet consumers’ needs – especially during these challenging times when travellers want interactions to be fast and efficient,” said Ameen Malhas.

“A messaging system which is executed correctly –  with a clear strategic role, anticipates what consumers want to talk about with the help of innovative technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and is built around a strong ecosystem – can be a powerful and convenient tool for engaging consumers and driving purchase intent.”

As governments begin to lift lockdown restrictions across the Middle East, businesses are cautiously re-opening workplaces with strict social distancing measures in place and asking employees to travel again.

During the final Travel Forward session of day two, Technology and the New Normal, Heidi Myers, Head of Marketing, EMEA, Uber for Business, discussed how technology can be a force for good and support businesses in the challenge of the ‘new normal’ that we are beginning to embrace.

According to a recent survey conducted by Uber, around 44% of businesses said employee safety is their primary concern, with 60% of employers saying they will only allow essential workers to commute and 33% of organisations surveyed considering implementing daily commute programmes.

With getting to work in the post COVID-19 landscape a primary concern for a large number of employees and a stressful commute sited as one of the leading causes of employee dissatisfaction and turnover, Uber are implementing a number of stringent hygiene and safety procedures in an attempt to support businesses during this challenging period.

Heidi Myers, said: “At Uber, the safety of both our employees and our customers is of prime importance and as a result, in line with government and public health authority guidance in the regions in which we operate, we have implemented a number of strict health & safety procedures.

“Before drivers can begin using the Uber app, they are fully screened and provided with access to resources and education which focus on how to wear a mask properly, how to wash their hands in line with guidance and how to disinfect their vehicle.

“In addition, both drivers and riders are required to wear masks or face coverings in most countries, with drivers required to verify through our Selfie-Verification technology that they are wearing a mask which fully covers their nose and mouth.”

With Global Exhibitions Day 2020, taking place today (3rd June), WTM London will be using the event to tell the world it will be open for business as usual at the ExCel in London this November.

Due to the devastation caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic, GED2020’s message is a simple one: Exhibition are key to rebuilding economies.

Danielle Curtis, Exhibition Director ME, Arabian Travel Market, said: “As we look ahead to restarting and rebuilding the global travel and tourism industry, exhibitions such as ATM and WTM London will be a crucial platform for kick-starting global economies.

“The debut ATM Virtual has been a huge success and has further underscored ATM’s mission to support and guide the region’s vast travel and tourism industry during and beyond COVID-19.”

Also part of the debut Travel Forward on day two was the ‘How Cross-Sector Collaboration is Key to Igniting Economic Growth in the Tourism Industry in the MENA Region and Beyond’ session moderated by Intelak Manager, Mia Jafari. The panel discussed how cross-sector collaboration between the government, corporates and start-ups will create the fertile ground for economic growth in the travel sector post COVID-19.

Other sessions taking place today include an interview with Wizz Air CEO, Joszef Varadi; the International Travel Investment Conference summit and the responsible tourism session, ‘The Implications of COVID-19 for Responsible Hospitality’, followed by the Influencers’ session titled ‘Make Your Connection: Influencers as a Key Part of the Marketing Mix – COVID-19 The Road to Recovery’. Videos of all sessions will be available on demand – to view them, please log on to atmvirtual.eventnetworking.com/online-conference/

Concluding the event this afternoon is a webinar titled ‘What are you doing to energise your operational performance?’, which will discuss the power of data analytics in helping to maximise performance.

ATM Virtual concludes today, Wednesday 3rd June 2020, however a series of independently moderated, roundtables are available on-demand and include ‘The Future of Corporate Travel’ led by Breaking Travel News; The Changing Face of Luxury Family Travel hosted by Destinations of the World News; ‘The New Normal: What the Future Looks Like for the Hotel and Tourism Industry’ and ‘Middle East: The New Asian Source Market’ both by Trav Talk Middle East, as well as TTN Middle East’s ‘Challenges Faced Today by the Travel Providers’ and ‘Latest travel updates, projections and upcoming trends and focus on near-, mid- and long-term travel prospects’.

The Ministry of Tourism Saudi Arabia and the Italian Tourist Board are both Gold sponsors of ATM Virtual.

About Arabian Travel Market (ATM)

Arabian Travel Market (ATM), now on its 27th year, continues to be the focal point for the Middle East’s resilient and ever-changing travel and tourism landscape and prides itself on being the hub of all travel and tourism ideas – providing a platform to discuss insights on the ever-changing industry, share innovations and unlock endless business opportunities. While the live show has been postponed to 16-19 May 2021, ATM will keep the industry connected by running ATM Virtual from 1-3 June 2020 featuring webinars, live conference sessions, speed networking events, one-on-one meetings, plus so much more – keeping the conversations going and delivering new connections and business opportunities online.

Next events: ATM Virtual: Monday 1st to Wednesday 3rd June 2020

Live ATM: Sunday 16th to Wednesday 19th May 2021 – Dubai #IdeasArriveHere

About Reed Exhibitions

Reed Exhibitions is a leading global events business. It combines face-to-face with data and digital tools to help customers learn about markets, source products and complete transactions at over 500 events in almost 30 countries across 43 industry sectors, attracting more than 7 million participants.

Our events, organized by 35 global offices, leverage industry expertise, large data sets and technology to enable our customers to generate billions of dollars of revenues for the economic development of local markets and national economies around the world. Reed Exhibitions is part of RELX, a global provider of information and analytics for professional and business customers across industries.

About Reed Travel Exhibitions

Reed Travel Exhibitions is the world’s leading travel and tourism event’s organiser with a growing portfolio of more than 20 international travel and tourism trade events in Europe, the Americas, Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

Our events are market leaders in their sectors, whether it is global and regional leisure travel trade events, or specialist events for meetings, incentives, conference, events (MICE) industry, business travel, LGBTQ+ travel, luxury travel, travel technology as well as golf and spa travel. We have over 35 years’ experience in organising world-leading travel exhibitions.

About World Travel Market

World Travel Market (WTM) Portfolio comprises nine leading travel events across four continents, generating more than $7.5 billion of industry deals. The events are:

WTM London, the leading global event for the travel industry, is the must-attend three-day exhibition for the worldwide travel and tourism industry. Around 50,000 senior travel industry professionals, government ministers and international media visit ExCeL London every November, generating over £3.71 billion in travel industry contracts.

Next event: Monday 2nd to Wednesday 4th November 2020 – London #IdeasArriveHere

WTM Latin America attracts about 9,000 senior executives and generates about US$374 million of new business deals. Taking place in São Paulo, Brazil, this show attracts a global audience to meet and shape the direction of the travel industry. More than 8,000 unique visitors, including buyers and travel agents, attend the event to network, negotiate and discover the latest industry news

Next event: Tuesday 20 October to Thursday 22 October 2020 – São Paulo

WTM Africa launched in 2014 in Cape Town, South Africa. Around 5,000 travel industry professionals attend Africa’s leading inbound and outbound travel and tourism market. WTM Africa delivers a proven mix of hosted buyers, media, pre-scheduled appointments, on-site networking, evening functions and invited travel trade visitors.

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