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During the June event in Silicon Valley, we heard from travel industry leaders across sectors about topics including personalization, distribution, and innovation. And after first speaking to them on stage, we took another few minutes with the executives to get more insight in our backstage Skift Take Studio.
In an era of Alexa, Siri, and Cortana, travel brands are still trying to work out the best way to maximize voice search. But they shouldn’t wait too long.
Steven Taylor, global chief brand officer for AccorHotels, said his company is watching the technology “incredibly closely” and trying to understand how smart assistants are changing search.
“I think voice search is a phenomenal area of opportunity and potential disruption,” he said. “This could have an absolutely massive, transformational, revolutionary impact on the distribution ecosystem that travel has known for the last decade. So that’s a particular area coming out of Silicon Valley that we’re watching very closely.”
Taylor also touched on the issue of privacy in the quest for personalization, a common refrain at the event. For Accor, he said, the goal is only to collect data if it can add value to a customer’s experience.
“Personalization ultimately needs to be relevant, it needs to be contextual, it needs to be omnichannel,” he said. “So I think the hospitality industry has quite a significant challenge whereby there are very significant legacy systems, there are data silos that exist across the organization.”
Taylor added: “So our focus is on consolidating all of those data puddles into one data lake and then being able to deliver personalized, real-time, contextual content wherever, whenever, however consumers want.”