22 November 2021

Uzakrota Travel Summit – George Dumitru panelist & rewinding the March edition

Uzakrota is back, joining forces for the third event of this year. On the 2nd and 3rd of December 2021, more than 100 K travel professionals from all over the world will join the Global Travel Summit, organized once again at the end of the year.

George Dumitru, wbe.travel’s CEO and Co-founder will join the industry leaders in an open talk about a pressing subject “Can online travel lead travel’s recovery?” on December 2nd at 11 AM, GTM +3 time.

Uzakrota Travel Summit december 2021 George Dumitru wbe.travel, Michael Ros Bidroom, Simon Matthews from Hotelbeds, Nishank Gopalkrishnan from TUI Musement, Marc Hofmann from Checkmybus and Matthijs Keij from Withlocals

The session will be moderated by Michael Ros from Bidroom. On the virtual stage, George Dumitru will join Simon Matthews from Hotelbeds, Nishank Gopalkrishnan from TUI Musement, Marc Hofmann from Checkmybus and Matthijs Keij from Withlocals.

 

Before we watch the December session let’s rewind a little bit to the March edition of Uzakrota, when George Dumitru joined Rene Frey from Rough Guides,  Eva Satkute Stewart from YouGov and Huw Tuckett from Euromic in an honest talk about “What awaits us after the pandemic?”. The session was moderated by Andy Fairburn from the Nordic Tourism Collective. Have a sneak peek below or just click the video link listed below, for the full session.

Andy Fairburn: How do you see the OTA sector being affected by the pandemic? How is it going to come back since this is a sector that is going to struggle in the future since people will probably move to the travel agents rather than at an OTA? Could you please share your view on this with us?

George Dumitru: OTAs are not in a good position either, like all of us now, since everyone in online is relying on the bookings. Since no bookings are coming or just a few are here. As a technology provider I saw, although things are moving in the right direction a bit, for instance, the bookings this year are way better than in the previous one and I’m talking about online mainly.

The online business faces some challenges that are quite specific and you can imagine that they have to deal now with a lot of cancellations and refunds. In addition, there is another tricky situation now when the hoteliers made a lot of data updates direct or via Channel Managers or Extranets but mainly on the close sale, or on less availability or adding more restrictions. That has put the travel tech companies in the position to handle now even more data than before. Therefore, the tech companies spent more, to analyze more, to deal with more data updates but with fewer bookings. So for us, it is a little bit worsen than thought to have no bookings at all but you need to increase your infrastructure and expenses.

Each time a change in the government policy is happening the hoteliers become optimistic they open up, change the availability and align to the imposed measurements, meaning that they change the data. After a while, the restrictions come again and the hotels are closing once again. Moreover, it goes on and on like this. So all these actions of opening and closing put a lot of loads on all server infrastructure and on the tech side.

On top of that, at least the online had enough data to provide us reports and this analysis was quite useful, to better understand what is going on.

We are still optimistic and we see what everyone is talking about – “the revenge travel”. People are eager to travel and we can see that in the booking numbers, that are visibly rising.

Going back to your question, I believe it is true, we will see again the rise of the travel agent. If we rewind back a little bit there was a large topic about the death of the travel agents when the OTAs started conquering markets, but now we see the reverse since people in order to travel will need a lot more information than before.

Therefore, either OTAs will manage to put all the needed information on screen, so invest in more technology, in more mechanisms to make the destination page full with information or they will lose since travel agents will have that info and will be ready to serve the customers with their consultants before they travel. I feel that there will be a change of balance here and that the B2B Travel agencies will start to rise again and the OTAs might go down or at least stay at the same level as before.

 

Andy Fairburn: As a tech company, do you think in advance about all the protocols that will be needed for people to travel? Is this something that you are looking for from the tech perspective?

George Dumitru: Definitely, we are looking at the changes, since without information it would be impossible to finish a booking journey. The important fact here for the end traveler is how they could get the valuable information and from what source. It has to come from the ground, from the destination or the hotel. We need to make sure that once the info is out, it gets distributed to reach the end traveler. This puts us, as a tech company, in a good position since we can serve both types of selling channels, both OTAs and travel agencies, and we can provide different mechanisms that may need in different ways, to each of them separately.

To watch the full session click on the thumbnail below and play it on our Youtube channel.

George Dumitru speaker at Uzakrota Europe Travel Summit March 2021 about the rise of the Travel Agents business

About Uzakrota

Uzakrota Travel Summit is one of the biggest conferences for online travel agencies, airline companies, hotels, travel agencies, tech companies, and distribution tech companies.

Uzakrota Travel Summit connects the largest companies with the brightest minds and professionals from the travel industry around the world. One of the largest tourism events Uzakrota Travel Summit, from the UK, CIS, Balkans, Europe, and the Middle East with the participation of + 5.000 tourism professionals and 30 speakers happened on 26 March 2021.

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