The Future of Digital Travel

Cees Bosselaar opened the second day of the X Festival offering his views on emerging trends and best practices as we rebuild confidence in travel.

Cees began with an introduction to MMGY, where he acts as the director. MMGY is a marketing company with a research department. Cees has recently moved to London and launched the MMGY research unit for the first time in Europe, with the vision to further expand their work with European DMOs. Providing real-time data to industry sectors and helping them to appreciate the value of data to assess situations and map scenarios is the core of their mission.

Cees Bosselaar opened the second day of the X Festival with an inspiring talk offering his views on emerging trends and best practices as we rebuild confidence in travel post-pandemic.

Cees began with an introduction to MMGY, where he acts as the director. MMGY is a marketing company with a research department. Cees has recently moved to London and launched the MMGY research unit for the first time in Europe, with the vision to further expand their work with European DMOs. Providing real-time data to industry sectors and helping them to appreciate the value of data to assess situations and map scenarios is the core of their mission.

He referred to the emergence of the first website- super information highways to high-end transformation in the mobile era in 2008 as the most incredible trends that the industry has seen. On the same line, he mentioned that 'being early' has always had value and specific advantages by encouraging consumer engagement with novelty in the industry. Although, the adaptation of trends and continuously keeping up to date with trends is a necessity. Whilst, trends can have significant values for the industry, monitoring and investing in trends have their own values. He exemplified the KLM mobile social media presence as a great example of PR gain and a platform for brand visibility. The advantage that social media departments bring to brands is significant. Social media is now an influential value in KPIs.

According to Cees, the pandemic has forced the emergence of new trends and practices within the travel industry. We have seen a desire to travel, and disappointment in being able to travel as new waves of infection came along. The tourism industry needs to act with precautions, return in confidence and build upon the situation. He expressed his sense of optimism in domestic travel resuming.

Cees reflected on a number of technologies revolutionising the travel industry with high practicality during and post-pandemic in regards to health and safety concerns. For example, touchless tech was developed pre-pandemic but has excelled in response to travellers' needs. Touchless technology is now employed to open hotel room doors. The biometric technology advancements -facial, iris and speech recognition-now open border gateways.

Cees refers to exploration, scalability and viability as three factors to undermine while choosing digitalisation strategies. He mentioned that a balance between tech-led and in-person services could be preferable in particular tourism sectors. The industry will need to explore consumer preferences for different situations and adopt digitalisation according to consumer expectations and behaviours.

With respect to data-driven digitalisation practices, Cees expressed his views on supper apps that, in essence, allow multiple functions from food delivery to bookings. Supper apps are currently not popular in the US or EU. However, a market for supper apps exists in China, Japan and Southeast Asia countries. Supper apps for the travel and tourism industry can emerge in the EU if giant companies such as Amazon, Google or Meta get into travel. However, data sharing will be a primary concern.

Robotics and automated services have also emerged in travel tourism. Foundations for the use of robotics in tourism exists. For example, room service and luggage delivery robots are being established in hospitality. Robots can particularly be effective for information and guidance. However, they would need to be optimised to follow the human pace. As such automated transactions will require to be synchronised with natural transactions in real life.

Key Takeaways

1. Advancements in digitalisation are linked with challenges faced in the tourism and travel industry. Technology-driven solutions are building a pathway for industry to return in the post-pandemic era.

2. For efficiency, digitalisation solutions should be based on a thorough exploration of challenges and opportunities in the industry, scalable and violable.

3. Tourism and travel has seen multiple phases of digitalisation. The industry is adopting digital solutions.  However, sectors that pioneered in digitalisation have most benefited from bringing novelty to the industry.

4. Whilst novelty in digitalisation has great importance, consistent monitoring and investing in trends is of equal value.

Published on:
November 2021
About the contributor

Cees Bosselaar

As Managing Director of MMGY Travel Intelligence Europe, Cees Bosselaar is responsible for launching, developing and expanding data and research opportunities across the EU.