We’re back from Phocuswright Europe 2024, held in the vibrant city of Barcelona, and we’re looking forward to sharing our key takeaways and experiences!

The conference spanned over three days and was tightly packed with expert discussions, interviews, pitches, and workshops featuring top players from the world of travel. No surprise that AI occupied the minds of travel experts, as other tech advancements of the industry, with a fare share dedicated to sustainability, investments, and distribution markets.

For a detailed list of events, feel free to check the conference’s official website.

We would like to highlight a few sessions we managed to watch in person.

  • A one-on-one discussion with Viator founder Rod Cuthbert who eagerly shared his creation’s origin story with the audience. It was really inspiring to learn how an outsourcing company that initially developed customer travel websites went from a promising contract with Sabre (it was cancelled later though) through struggles in finding investments to linking Cuthbert’s Tasmanian origin with the marriage arrangements of Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark. The latter’s wife was a commoner from Tasmania, and this topic became a connecting link between Cuthbert and Allan Thygesen, an investor whose money saved Viator in dark times.During the discussion, Cuthbert also commented on the prospects of AI for the travel industry. In his view, most likely that it is companies with most money who win this game in the long run, not smaller enterprises on a tight budget, as this technology requires substantial investments.
  • The WiT: Human Revolution panel consisting of Ross Veitch (Wego Group), Stephan Ekbergh (Travelstart), Blanca Menchaca (BeMyGuest), and Chee Chong Chan (GlobalTix) shed light on travel market developments in Asia and the Middle East. Ross Veitch shared his experience with South Africa where his company is based and whose market they are targeting. He stressed the misconception of many Europeans thinking that Africa is a homogenous continent and can be roughly compared to a single country. On the contrary, it is the region so diverse in business approaches, cultures, languages, mentality, and many other things, it will blow your mind. The competition for the market is fierce there, so if you want to conquer Africa, get ready to fight hard.The travel industries of the Middle East and Asia are actively developing, with more and more first-time tourists coming from China. The share of the middle class in Chinese provinces is on the rise and has all the potential to become the driving force behind the global demand for travel services.

The program exhibited rich and exciting topics, and we only wish we had more time to attend them all.

Apart from these surely enriching events, our attendees Sergey Zubekin and Niko Miro held over 30 insightful meetings with potential clients from the world’s leading companies. In addition, we had a chance to have a chat with our established partners and Hoteplan’s clients.

The insights gained at Phocuswright Europe 2024 will undoubtedly shape our future endeavors. We are excited to integrate these learnings into our projects and continue pushing the boundaries of innovation in the travel industry.

Already planning to attend the next year’s event! Hope to see you all there!