Disruption in the travel sector is creating a new ‘golden age of marketing’

Disruption in the travel industry is pushing marketing into previously unexplored realms, resulting in a sea change in the way technology is used by marketers, PHD’s Chris Stephenson has claimed.

Speaking ahead of the panel discussion he will be part of at the inaugural Mumbrella Asia Travel Marketing Summit in Singapore on April 16, the Asia-Pacific strategy head described artificial intelligence and machine-learning, for example, as pioneering tools helping to bring about a new ‘golden age’ of marketing.

“We are in a golden age of how we extract and use information – travel and tourism is front and centre in that because it is non-tangible goods,” he said. “They are information-based categories.

“A lot of the innovations is underpinned by machine-learning, which allows AI to surface. We’re seeing incredible experiences; things created through virtual reality and augmented reality. We’re also seeing hotels using robots to bring things to your room. There’s the novelty value. And whole countries are using blockchain to connect to individuals.”

Although the travel industry has faced disruption for a number of years now, Stephenson said recent developments were quickening the pace of change further. “Disruption is nothing new to the travel and tourism industry,” he said. “The low-cost carriers disrupted the industry decades ago. But what we’re seeing now are really interesting fronts for innovation.

“One is around disrupting what travel and innovation actually is; reinventing what work and travel is and how do you combine the two over a long period. Airbnb is of course the poster child for that disruption.”

He also pointed to the tourism boards and companies in Australia and New Zealand as best practice examples of how to execute destination marketing creatively “because of the distance involved have to go the extra mile to get people to go there”.

Setting out his advice for those marketers in the rapidly-shifting travel space, Stephenson urged brands to value the data, to think about how technology is changing human interactions and to focus on convenience because travellers were becoming time-poor.

Chris Stephenson will be among those speaking at the Mumbrella Asia Travel Marketing Summit in Singapore on April 16 – to see the other speakers participating and to buy your tickets for just $399, visit the event website here


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