The OpenTravel Alliance did something a little different yesterday than its usual preaching about data standards for the travel industry.
They invited travel startups and other newbies to the travel industry to jump into the deep end of the pool.
Itâ€™s called Travel Traction, a sure-to-be-repeated half-day conference where innovators hear how the travel business works – warts and all.
For $25 (plus traveling to Las Vegas), you got advice on how to start a new business in travel and avoid time-sucking distractions along the way. Itâ€™s part networking with industry veterans, part psychiatristâ€™s couch.
No guarantees, but lots of access to some smart people who help make travel work.
Overheard from the stage at Travel Traction:
- The travel industry is a collection of “tribes â€¦ unique cultures, inter-connected, relationship-driven” (Henry Harteveldt, co-founder,Â Atmosphere Research Group)
- Big disconnect at airlines: they have “deep engagement” with customers they know very well at every step of the journey, but airlines have lots to learn about retailing to travelers. (Gianni Cataldo, MD and VP Americas, Datalex)
- Mobile bookings of tours and attractions “doubled” over last two years because of travelersâ€™ in-destination decisions. (Stephen Joyce, CEO of Rezgo and chairman of Open Travel Alliance)
- Mobile moving from “device-driven” to “channel-driven” over next couple years â€¦ Mobile becomes “first screen” in travel. (Pradeep Rao, senior director for product strategy and marketing for travel distribution, Sabre)
- Consumers more willing to share data about themselves with travel industry than they are with marketers from other industries. (Harteveldt)
- SITA Lab looking at location-based technologies that help airlines and airports track traveler movements, including matching flight departures to geo-located passengers through the terminal. (Ali Farwaz, lead architect, SITA Lab)
In the audience were not-ready-for-prime-time companies in business travel, green hotels, sustainable travel in South America, luggage delivery and others in stealth mode who didnâ€™t have much to say.
Bottom line, itâ€™s hard to start any new business, especially in travel â€¦ and even harder in a vacuum.
NB: Diving image via Shutterstock.