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Audience survey at MarketHub Americas reveals B2C travel tech challenges

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Over 350 attendees at MarketHub Americas – made up of travel agencies, tour operators, airlines and points redemption partners – were surveyed on their technology views. Only 18% of those surveyed felt their mobile consumer website “best in class” and only 24% have adopted machine learning capacity.

ORLANDO – Hotelbeds, the world's leading B2B bedbank, has released details of the audience survey conducted at its recent MarketHub Americas event held in Costa Mujeres, Mexico.

Participants at the MarketHub Americas event – which was attended by over 350 senior representatives from travel agencies, tour operators, airlines and points redemption partners from across the whole of the Americas – took part in a digital audience survey during the conference sessions. Attendees responded to a series of questions about their views and understanding of technology.

The results showed that many companies in the B2C space could improve their consumer mobile websites. When asked “How do you rate your consumer mobile website?”, 44% of respondents said they needed a little help, 23% said they needed a lot of help, 6% admitted they were awful in this area, and 9% admitted to not having a site. Only 18% felt their mobile consumer site to be best in class.

Additionally the results showed that machine learning still represents a huge opportunity for B2C travel companies. Only 24% were able to confirm that their business was currently using machine learning, with 10% having plans to introduce machine learning and 6% having no plans. Interestingly, 38% weren/t sure if their business was using machine learning or not.

Further analysis of the audience survey also showed that participants at the event could benefit from improved technology knowledge and understanding, with over 50% admitting that they don’t know what cloud computing is; and 35% thinking that they have never used a chat bot interface, despite chat bots now being very widespread.

Carlos Munoz, Bedbank Managing Director at Hotelbeds commented: “Part of our motivation for organizing these events is to gain an insight into the knowledge and needs of our customers, and these audience surveys are fantastic means of gaining instant feedback in a way that could never happen via an email or phone survey.

“For me these results show the role that providers such as ourselves play in the travel distribution ecosystem, helping to educate the B2B travel buyers to help them respond to technological evolution and the ever increasing needs of consumers.

“Through events such as these and the experience and support of our in-house IT and product management teams, we supply our B2B2C customers with the knowledge and tools to remain competitive and profitable – while fulfilling the same role with our hotelier partners, to connect the two together seamlessly.

“For instance, our booking platform can have peaks of up to 3 billion searches per day, something few individual companies could cope with; so much data additionally gives us great insight into consumer desire, something we then feed back to our hotelier partners to make sure they are providing the right product, at the right price, to the right buyer.”

The MarketHub Americas event was an invitation-only, three-day event attended by some of the most important Hotelbeds partners from all the key markets across the Americas. The event took place from Tuesday May 7th through to Friday May 10th at the Gran Palladium Costa Mujeres Resort & Spa in Mexico.

Guest speakers and panelists on stage included representatives from company’s such Skift, Phocuswright, Accor, Google, Disney, Universal and Amazon. Attendees ranged from senior executives and decision makers from tour operators, airlines, loyalty and point redemption businesses to travel agencies.

Hotelbeds has been organizing MarketHub events with a successful track record since 2009 and will host its MarketHub Europe event in Istanbul from Tuesday 28 to Friday 31 May. 

Speakers at the MarketHub event in Istanbul will include Julio Faerman, Amazon Web Services Technical Evangelist and Terry Von Bibra, Alibaba Group General Manager Europe. In addition, the leading trade media publication Skift and the respected travel technology analyst Phocuswright are both sending senior speakers to provide a key-note talk followed by hosting a round table; plus Tom Jenkins, CEO of the European Tourism Association (ETOA) will also participate on stage with a key-note address to the audience.

Hotelbeds is proud to confirm that Accor, who will host the event in three of its leading Istanbul properties – Swissotel Istanbul The Bosphorus, Fairmont Quasar Istanbul and Novotel Istanbul Bosphorus – will also be giving a key-note speech on stage with the participation of Alistair Watts, Vice President Sales & Marketing for the New East Europe region at Accor.

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