Phocuswright Europe: Three Things we Learned in Amsterdam Last Week

Last week we attended Phocuswright Europe in Amsterdam, a yearly gathering of decision makers from across the travel, tourism and hospitality sectors. This year more than 40 speakers from Europe’s leading travel and tech companies presented insights to a crowd of over 600 attendees across the two-day conference.

During the event, we had the opportunity to share findings from our latest study, {{cta(‘ba2c3796-6494-4833-99de-c662c18231b9’)}}which examines the behavior of American, British, Chinese, German, and Indian bleisure travelers. We also heard from leading decision makers from across the industry; here are three interesting themes we uncovered during the conference.


The growing importance of activities

The activities sector is flourishing, with players large and small taking steps to better explore its potential. And, we know from previous research that travelers rank activities and experiences at the top of choosing their travel destinations. According to Phocuswright, the global travel activities market has the potential to be worth €138 billion by 2021 and smart technology solutions will have a huge part to play in that growth, especially through in-destination. The activities theme was highlighted again during our own bleisure workshop, where we discussed the opportunities for destinations to market these products to business travelers at their destination, as our research found that they are far less likely to book these in advance.

Digital assistants are shaking up travel

Digital assistants were mentioned in several sessions during the two-day event. Mark Blutstein, Research Analyst at Phocuswright, revealed that as adoption of these devices increases, their influence on the travel sector will become more and more prominent. According to Blutstein, digital assistants such as Alexa and Google Voice are now used by 37% of European travellers for a range of requests, most commonly searching for hotels, searching for flights and requesting location information. This will eventually change the way we interact with travel technology, moving us toward more natural, conversation-based systems.


All eyes are on Asia

While the European travel sector is booming, the importance of Asia as a driver of growth and innovation for the global travel market was a common theme at Phocuswright Europe. From funding, to payments, to product innovation, the opportunities coming out of the continent will profoundly shape the future of travel. Siew Hoon Yeoh, founder of Web in Travel, set the scene around the size and scale of these opportunities, while a host of leading travel specialists from both inside and outside Asia, discussed how to leverage them though technology.

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Andrew van der Feltz

Senior Director, Business Development, Expedia Group Media Solutions

Andrew van der Feltz is a senior director of business development for the Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific regions at Expedia Group Media Solutions. His team works closely with agencies, destination marketing organizations, hotel and airline partners on advertising opportunities and campaigns across the portfolio of Expedia Group brands. Prior to joining Expedia, Andy was the director of business development and operations at the Netherlands Board of Tourism & Conventions (NBTC) since April 2011. Prior to this, he also worked at NBTC in the London office as country manager for the UK and Ireland. He started his career at NBTC as marketing manager, after his role as an international marketing manager at VisitScotland. Andy studied Marketing and French in Scotland, continued his postdoc education at the Institute of Marketing in Edinburgh, and attended the Executive Educational Programme in General Management at the London Business School.

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