Uncut, now it’s personal: Latest Trends in Tourism Technology at Con-X 2023
Posted by Vero
PRESS RELEASE.- International tourism experts discuss AI's role in efficiency and personalization of the sector
TravelgateX's successful CON-X 2023 conference attracted over 350 executives from the tourism, technology, and media industries. "Uncut, now it's personal" focused on artificial intelligence (AI) as the key tool for industry professionals to improve their work processes' efficiency while providing greater personalization for travelers.
CON-X 2023 featured expert speakers such as Gerd Leonhard, CEO of The Futures Agency; Wouter Geerts, Head of Research at Skift; Shiyi Pickrell, Senior Vice President of Data and AI at Expedia; Aroa Fernández, Data & AI Specialist at Microsoft; Silvia Leal, technology trends expert; European investors, international fund specialists such as Henry James Wells, Morgann Lesne, and Jan-Franke Valentin; and for the first time in a live conference, special guest ChatBot-X.
As in the previous edition, CON-X closed its program with an inspirational speaker, the current technical director of the Argentinian national soccer team, FIFA World Cup 2022 winner, and winner of The Best award for the best men's soccer coach, Lionel Scaloni.
Mallorca became the epicenter of the global B2B hotel distribution industry as the third edition of Con-X 2023 gathered more than 350 executives representing influential companies in the tourism sector to explore future trends that will change the way we travel. The discussions centered around three main themes: advanced technologies such as AI, consumer personalization, and process efficiency.
"Uncut: Now it’s personal" is the conference's theme, offering a glimpse into what awaits the industry in the coming years. Pedro Camara, CEO of TravelgateX, stressed the need for action and a customer-centric strategy after challenging years due to the pandemic and the current economic and geopolitical context.
CON-X 2023 speakers shared their experiences in achieving success and insights into building strong businesses. Pedro Camara, the organizer of CON-X 2023, said, "We are from Mallorca, and I have always seen it as the Silicon Valley of tourism, a global powerhouse. Major companies are here for a reason; tourism boomed in the 1970s in Spain, where the sector acts as an economic engine. We work to keep that growth going."
ChatGPT, AI, and the Future of Travel
ChatGPT was a prominent topic at CON-X 23. Revolutionary generative AI tools have the potential to change all aspects of the travel experience, from discovery, search, and marketing to purchasing trips or packages and actual travel experiences. AI can also make the work of tourism professionals more efficient, allowing them to focus on creative, non-routine tasks.
Gerd Leonhard, CEO of The Futures Agency, opened the presentations, stressing the importance of not forgetting our human condition to give value to machines' work. "A human being with a great tool will be better than without it because they can work more efficiently. Moreover, the tool will never be the human because it does not make sense by itself," he told the audience.
Leonhard warned that the creation of new technologies regulation should be accelerated, which justifies the “power” that we give to artificial intelligence and prevents us from becoming “lazy or uninformed people.”
The conference at Son Mir, Mallorca, also featured a roundtable discussion with experts such as Daniel Hansens (Slack), Shiyi Pickrell (Expedia), Iñaki Fuentes (Quonversa), and Aroa Fernández (Microsoft) on the use of AI in tourism businesses and ethical codes for personalization in the sector.
ChatBot X, the Star Guest
For the first time at a live conference, Microsoft's Azure OpenAI Service's GPT model, ChatBot-X, made a special appearance. Created for the occasion, ChatBot-X aimed to demonstrate the system's capabilities in maintaining a conversation about tourism trends, AI possibilities, and its potential for the future. Wouter Geerts, Director of Research at Skift, commented that tourism companies should implement solutions to improve user experience. He noted that although there is a "rebound effect" following mobility restrictions due to the pandemic, inflation and a possible economic recession could slow down the positive growth of the tourism industry.
"I think with this scenario, it's a time to be creative if you work in the sector because the demand won't be the same as in the last two years," he warned during his presentation. This was followed by a roundtable discussion with European investors and international fund specialists Jan-Franke Valentin, Morgan Lesné, and Henry Wells, debating mergers and acquisitions in the tourism sector. They highlighted blockchain, GPT systems, and scalability awareness as strong investment areas.
Lionel Scaloni and Team Management
Argentinian national soccer team coach Lionel Scaloni gave an inspirational talk on success management, emphasizing the need for balance, as things can change at any moment, requiring groundedness. "In my case, I continue living the same life I had before, my job is to be a coach, and it's true that I coach one of the most important national teams in the world, but I keep my feet on the ground. You need balance and to know that things can change," he stated during his speech at CON-X 23.
In total, ten international speakers shared their experiences with over 300 guests, acknowledging the global importance of tourism. The World Tourism Organization believes the sector's rapid evolution won't slow down in 2023, reaching between 80% and 95% of pre-pandemic levels. This resilience encourages all involved to seize the moment. "Uncut, now it's personal."
Companies collaborating with the third edition of Con-X 2023 include Zafiro Hoteles, Methabook, PeakPoint, Giata, PrimeTravel, Stuba, Dida Travel, Bedsopia, Welcomebeds, Fastly, TBO.com, Smyrooms, Webbeds, Solole, Expedia, Darina, CentraldeReservas, Celitech, Interrias, Abreu, Ratehawk, HotelTrader, Illusions, BookMe, GoGlobal Travel, Nordbeds, DTS, Roibos, WithinEarth, Paximum, and Aerticket.
About CON-X: In the last two editions of Con-X, over 20 speakers from around the world, 40+ sponsors, 700+ participants from all countries representing 1,000+ companies participated, generating more than 2,000 business meetings in a single day. Con-X events have always been held in May and various Mallorca locations, including Finca Son Termes, Es Baluard, Castillo San Carlos, Son Mir, and Nikki Beach. This year, Zafiro Palmanova will be the main partner hotel hosting participants arriving from different parts of the world.
About TravelgateX: Founded in 2012 and based in Palma de Mallorca, TravelgateX provides connectivity between travel companies worldwide. Its mission is to democratize the travel industry and ensure that any company has great connectivity anywhere in the world. TravelgateX generates over 30,000 daily bookings worldwide, more than 3,000 daily searches, and a business volume of over $3.2 billion.