In the English dictionary the word technology follows long after product. As so it was in the world of travel until very recently. But now that every company is a technology business, does this mean us travel professionals should all move to Silicon Valley?
In our sector one thing is for certain: even if we´re not uprooting ourselves to work near to Apple’s head offices, we´re definitely looking there for inspiration – and most importantly to recruit talent.
Already local companies such as Google and Tesla are intent on revolutionizing the transport experience, working on driverless cars (and even helicopters). Uber is based in the city too, along with countless other travel tech start-ups.
This week for sure San Francisco will qualify for global travel industry hub status: on Tuesday Skift is holding its first ever Skift Tech Forum in the Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara. Given the line-up and turnout, almost certainly this will become a fixture in the calendar.
Speakers will include the President & CEO of Sabre Corporation, Sean Menke, the Chief Technology Officer & SVP of Expedia, Tony Donohoe, and the President & CEO of Travelport, Gordon Wilson. They´ll all be on stage alongside senior technology, revenue management and digital leaders from Accor Hotels, Southwest Airlines, Hilton, Uber, Amadeus, Air Canada, United Airlines and Kayak.
We at Hotelbeds Group are proud to sponsor this event. If you are attending look out for the Hotelbeds Group area where you can charge your mobile phone or laptop. I´ll be there too and would be delighted to meet you all.
When Scott McKenzie sang his 1967 hit San Francisco (be sure to wear flowers in your hair) he sang “there's a whole generation / with a new explanation”: what started as talking about peace and love converted into the revolution of microchips and computer software.
Tuesday’s talks won´t convert the city into the premier travel industry hub overnight, but it seems that Silicon Valley is already an important destination on the travel industry map. Who knows what journey lays ahead?