17 October 2019
Last Thursday, the Hotels and Leisure group led by partner Richard Bursby hosted the first event in an exciting new series on the future of TravelTech, Travel Uncharted. Over 140 investors, innovators, influencers and experts joined us on the night, and the team received positive feedback the following day. We'd like to thank all those involved, including fellow hosts Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati and London & Partners.
The keynote speech was delivered by Google's Finnbar Cornwall, who outlined the search giant's current and future ambitions in the travel and tourism space after a major overhaul of their travel app this summer.
Cornwall's fascinating presentation pulled together statistics from Google user queries to share data-driven, commercial insights into travel marketing. His advice to the travel industry? Harness the power of data and technology to be present, relevant, and speedy.
Following the keynote speech, there was a panel of innovators and leaders from the travel industry featuring Hannah Feldman (Co-Founder, Kidadl), Greg Marsh (Founder, onefinestay), Ryan Pearson (Regional Manager for UK & Ireland, Booking.com), Ben Lawson (VP Strategy & Mobility, Enterprise Rent-A-Car), Ian Wheeler (Special Partner, Vitruvian Partners) and Zia Yusuf (Co-Founder & CEO, Velocity Black). The panel delivered a lively and varied discussion which ranged from the drive towards personalised travel and the influence of new technologies, to fundamental questions about what holiday-bookers truly need and how travel companies can better serve those needs.
The talks were bookended with interactive sessions in our 'TechZone', which featured some of the most dynamic and up-and-coming startups in the TravelTech space: Kidadl, OTT Travel, Ticketlab, Go Jauntly, Holibob, Salestrip and Fleetondemand
Following the success of this inaugural Travel Uncharted event, Richard Bursby commented:
"TravelTech is a fast growing vertical which is transforming travel and tourism, the world's largest sector representing 10.4% of global GDP, and 1 in 10 jobs. The presentation from Google Travel on the changing consumer behaviours which are a big part of this growth, and their response to it, was fascinating. It was also inspiring to have a full house of Innovators, Investors, Industry and Insight in the room – what we call the "Four I's" – to discuss the future trends of TravelTech, curation and personalisation, AI, the role of brands and the importance of embracing change and flexible business models.
We are looking forward to meeting everyone again for the next Travel Uncharted event early next year. Look out for details of Travel Uncharted Pitch 2020, where we will be inviting high growth companies from the TravelTech community to showcase their products and ideas to a TravelTech advisory panel, as well as an audience of market participants made up of investors, innovators and industry commentators."
If you'd like to learn more about upcoming Travel Uncharted events or to continue the TravelTech conversation, please contact a member of our Hotels and Leisure group or join our online forum.
by Richard Bursby and Jack Wain
by multiple authors