The day before the article appeared, the travel research company Phocuswright opened its annual conference, held this year in Los Angeles, with its Travel Innovation Summit. The day-long competition pitted 32 pre-screened presenters from around the world to pitch travel-tech products to an audience of 1,500 peers, travel executives, investors, media, a panel of judges and even an “American Idol”-style “Critics Circle” who provided immediate reaction and feedback. (Phocuswright, like Travel Weekly, is owned by Northstar Travel Media).

At this year’s summit, several subdivisions of automation emerged as areas that multiple companies were tackling:

• A handful of presenters, perhaps encouraged by the wide usage of mobile technology, had components focused on the booking of local attractions, a category once thought to be particularly challenging because attraction-providers typically use unsophisticated and non-standardized booking technologies and are a highly fragmented group.

• There seemed to be a record number of products that were designed specifically to help travel agents.

• It also appeared that there was an unusually high percentage of products designed for business-to-business or business-to-business-to-consumer purposes; there were very few ambitious, purely consumer plays.

• Big Data figured prominently, particularly for trip-planning purposes. Several of the innovators, who presented for seven minutes each, explained how they use Big Data to assist in automated travel planning.

• An emerging trend centered on products that promised to contextualize semantic phrases to return trip options that travelers would be likely to book.

Courtesy: Travel Weekly