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Phocuswright Europe highlights the importance of personalization

Phocuswright Europe highlights the importance of personalization
Christina Newberry

Christina Newberry is an award-winning travel and lifestyle writer based in Vancouver.

Phocuswright Europe, Europe’s largest meeting of travel industry executives, investors and startups, wraps up today (May 17) in Amsterdam. With the theme of “New. Power. Distribution,” the conference focused on ways travel companies can better connect with consumers in the modern marketplace.


Executives from Facebook, Best Western, and Lufthansa shared a common message: The top priority for travel brands and tourism professionals is to proactively reach out to potential customers on the platforms they already use, with targeted, personalized offers presented at the right time and the right price.



“Instead of waiting for people to search for your products, your products can search for the right people,” said Nikhilesh Ponde, Head of Global Travel Strategy at Facebook. “This makes upselling and cross-selling seamless. You can do this at scale in a personalized way.”

The capability to innovate, particularly with regards to logistics and distribution chains, is a critical element for all tourism sectors, said Giovanna Manzi, CEO of Best Western Italy. “Our task is to balance the heritage of our brand with a vision of the future for us,” she said. “In order to build a lasting company, we have to face change.”


“Trends show us we’d better get organized to respond to customers’ needs,” said Heike Birlenbach, SVP, sales, Lufthansa Group Hub Airlines, highlighting the company’s heavy investment in IATA’s New Distribution Capability (NDC) program. She noted that “digital, individual, and easy-to-use solutions” are required to meet customer expectations for the airline industry.

“If we are honest, the airline industry is not there yet,” she said. “But this is the way forward.”


In a panel discussion on the future of airline distribution, Birlenbach said she expects within five years, Lufthansa will have “fully dynamic product bundles offered at the right time, with the right bundle.”


Gianni Pisanello, vice president, Amadeus NDC-X, Amadeus IT Group, said he expects to see a lot of innovation from airlines in coming years as they develop new products. Still, he noted NDC is “not a disruption, but an evolution” as airlines modernize their packaging and distribution.


The next Phocuswright Conference takes place Nov. 13–15 in Los Angeles with the theme Power Paradox, examining the contradiction between domination and innovation.