Expert insights

Technology trends the travel and events industry is talking about

5 January 2016

From virtual meeting spaces to live streaming, we review the HBAA’s key travel and events predictions for 2016

More virtual meeting venues and a rise in free hotel Wi-Fi are some of the technology trends predicted to impact the travel and events sector this year, according to the events and hospitality association HBAA.

The predictions from the HBAA’s Technology and Innovation Committee also include increased demand for smaller meetings of 30 delegates or less, a rise in the use of online booking tools for meetings and greater personalisation of venue websites to drive engagement with users.

“Now is an exciting time for our industry,” said Caleb Parker, chair of the technology committee. “We’re seeing a lot of change, which can create fear for some, but most of the innovation we’re seeing enables a better guest experience and will ultimately grow the market.”

Keeping pace with technology trends

The sharing economy will also continue to put pressure on the hospitality industry, according to the HBAA – but hotels will begin to utilise peer-to-peer accommodation businesses such as Airbnb to drive bookings. Agencies and in-house travel managers are also predicted to include sharing-economy accommodation in their list of offerings – but not until organisations can be satisfied that corporate social responsibility are not being compromised, according to our own travel expert Sam Welch.

The HBAA also revealed some of the industry’s best innovations, such as video collaboration, holographic presentations and live streaming at events for remote delegates.

The future of business travel and meetings

“As technology continues to dominate the way in which we interact, book, view feedback and compare business travel and meetings, it is increasingly important for the HBAA to share with the association and wider industry the technology developments that could change and enrich our experiences and support our choices and behaviours,” said Leigh Cowlishaw, Capita Travel and Events’ director of supplier partnerships and current HBAA chair.

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