The so-called “disruptors” of the travel industry, such as Airbnb and Uber, are actually enabling the travel industry to expand and attract more customers, a senior Travelport executive has stated.
Speaking at the Travelport Live 2016 in Macau, Niklas Andreen, the company’s global vice president of hospitality, argued that “Uber is a complement to car rental”, just as Airbnb is to the hotel sector.
These companies, and others like them, are “not a replacement” to traditional providers, Andreen said; instead they have “supplemented the industry and allowed it to grow”. Airbnb has “done a great job” and “allowed people to have new experiences”, he added.
Andreen noted however, that Airbnb is really only taking off in the leisure sector. The accommodation sharing company has launched a corporate travel programme, but Andreen suggested that it is still not being seen as an alternative to hotels, in the eyes of companies or corporate travellers.
“Hotels are geared up to handle corporate travellers,” he said.
Continuing the theme of disruptive influences, Mark Meehan, Travelport’s managing director for Asia Pacific, said that the travel industry will be “subject to constant change and disruption” in the coming years, that companies “can’t be complacent” and need to “foresee change and adapt to it”.
“Creative and innovative thinking… will change our businesses and the way we do business,” he stated.
Running under the theme “Redefining Success”, Travelport’s annual customer conference has gathered 360 industry delegates to Macau for three days of discussions, debates and demonstrations.