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WTM Global Hub – WTM Portfolio’s new online portal – and Travel Forward – the leading travel technology event in travel & hospitality – are hosting a free-to-view webinar which will focus on how technology can help travel companies negotiate COVID-19 and come out the other side with a loyal customer base.
“The future of loyalty in tourism: What are we learning from the COVID-19 crisis?” takes place on Wednesday, May 27, at 14:00 (BST). A panel of experts from across the industry will outline how their own tech stack coped during the crisis.
They will share practical insights about how COVID-19 is shaping their tech strategy moving forward and what the wider industry can learn from their experience.
The speakers will cover topics such as refund policies, seamless payments, new tech, customer experience and cybersecurity.
Paul Richer, senior partner at travel tech consultancy Genesys Digital Transformation, will moderate the webinar. He founded Genesys 25 years ago during the first dotcom boom and has been active in the travel tech space ever since.
He is a regular moderator for many high-profile digital travel conferences in Europe. His long-term involvement with travel tech gives him a deep, practical and global experience of best-in-class strategies, technology and business processes.
The new world of tech is represented by Maksim Izmaylov, a serial entrepreneur with the background in software engineering and law.
He is part of the conversation as CEO of Winding Tree, a travel-specific blockchain-based distribution platform which makes trips cheaper for travellers and more profitable for suppliers by removing middlemen from the equation.
His other startup, Roomstorm, partners with industry-leading accommodation providers to enable the seamless and automated booking of hotel rooms to airline passengers during flight disruptions. He also set up Travel Tech Con, an independent travel technology conference for startups and engineers.
Kelly Cookes, meanwhile, represents the traditional side of the business as leisure director of Advantage Travel Partnerships. The UK-based consortium of independent agents turns over more than £4.5 billion in travel sales a year.
Her strengths lie in commercial negotiation, sales, partnerships management and senior management. She spent most of her career with Thomas Cook, joining its graduate scheme and moving up the ranks to become head of commercial partnerships.
She joined Advantage in October 2019, driving the leisure strategy and overseeing leisure agencies as well as its marketing, commercial and digital business.
Payment providers are more visible in the market these days, with many travel companies realising the importance of making it easy for customers to actually pay for the product.
The third panelist is Petya Milkova, head of business development for Wirecard, a German-based payments technology specialist. She is developing a global sales strategy, targeting its payment processing, outsourcing and white label products to the hospitality market.
Her experience before Wirecard include nearly ten years at booking.com.
Richard Gayle, Event Manager, Travel Forward, said: “Customer loyalty will be an even bigger issue for travel companies as the market adjusts to the impact of COVID 19.
“Our three guests are leading the field when it comes to using tech to build and maintain a loyal base of customers, while our moderator has the experience to keep the conversations on topic and make sure that webinar attendees will come away with some new insights and fresh ideas.”
Launched on April 23, WTM Global Hub aims to support travel industry professionals around the world.
WTM Portfolio – the parent brand for Travel Forward, WTM London, WTM Latin America, Arabian Travel Market, WTM Africa, and other key travel trade events – is tapping into its global network of experts to create exceptional content for the hub.
Part of the Global Hub content will be provided in Spanish and Portuguese by WTM Latin America, which will also be adding Latin American webinars.
Along with interactive webinars, other content from industry experts includes podcasts; a library of videos; blogs; responsible tourism and travel technology news; and ‘Your Travel Community’, featuring positive updates from travel professionals about how they are supporting the industry and others.
WTM Global Hub can be found at http://hub.wtm.com/
World Travel Market (WTM) Portfolio comprises nine leading travel events across four continents, generating more than $7.5 billion of industry deals.