January 31 2018  |  Events

Passenger Experience Conference shines light on the future of travel

By Rachel Debling

Delegates at the 2017 Passenger Experience Conference listen intently to the presentations

In response to the rapid evolution of international travel, key industry players around the world are predicting and spearheading initiatives that will usher in a new generation of transport solutions, for both air and rail. It's in this spirit that the Passenger Experience Conference, held April 9 at the Hamburg Messe in Germany, will explore what, where and when these innovations will come to fruition.

Blake Emery, Boeing’s Director of Differentiation Strategy, will aim to define this unknown in a Plenary session discussion called "New Frontiers to Transport and the Passenger Experience." According to a release from Reed Exhibitions, the organization behind PEC, this part of the programme will "consider some of the challenges of implementing next-generation transport solutions such as driverless cars, hyperloops, optionally piloted air taxis, electric planes and space flights on the air and rail industry," with a focus on how to address these challenges from a passenger experience standpoint.

Also planned for the Plenary session is a lecture by Richard Chung, Vice President ofInnovation and Design for seating at Adient. "Disruptive Possibilities and their Impact on the Airline Industry" will dive into the topic of the Internet of Things – a term that, as Forbes explained in a 2014 article, encompasses any physical item that can be hooked up to the internet, whether it be your phone and computer, or your fridge and wristband fitness tracker, or aircraft engines and construction machinery. These are items that can communicate with people as well as with each other, and they hold quite the potential for future travel possibilities.

Following Chung's presentation, three sessions will run concurrently for the remainder of the day-long conference: "Convergence and Mobility," "Personalising the Journey," and "Flexible and Sustainable Thinking."

"Convergence and Mobility" will be lead by Kaj Pyyhtiä, Customer Experience Officer and co-founder at MaaS Global, during which he and others will examine seamless mobility and its impact on expectations surrounding the travel experience. Presentations within this session will include "Designing the Full Travel Experience" with senior executives from TAP Portugal, Embraer and Almadesign; Christiane Bausback of N+P Industrial Design and Helmut Ramsauer of SPINPARTNERS discussing holistic ideals that will allow travelers access food along all steps of their journey; an examination of the impact our on-demand lifestyles has on the food and beverage expectations in flight; and an expert debate including Madeleine Braun, KLM’s Inflight Services Manager responsible for long-haul business class, and Martin Buchholtz, Head of Global Product & Service Innovation and Research at LSG Group.

"Personalising the Journey" will take a look at how air and rail companies are tailoring an individual's travel experience to their wants and needs. Data and connectivity will play a big part in this session; "How Data-Driven Technology is Delivering Personalised Experiences Onboard" will bring together Steve King, CEO at Black Swan Data, and IAG and gategroup executives for an in-depth study on how these types of initiatives can strengthen the relationship between an airline and its service partners. Closing out this session is Robin Hopper, Senior Vice President Product and Marketing at Guestlogix, who will look at how onboard retail can boom via technology, using companies like Starbucks and Amazon as inspiration.

The third breakout session of PEC, "Flexible and Sustainable Thinking," combines the two concepts and looks at it from the angle of product and service design. Speakers will include James Lee, Director at Paperclip Design; Rosalyn Gough, Cabin Product Quality Manager at Thomas Cook Group Airlines; and Dan Aronov, President at Napaway Coach. "Flexible Cabins and Services – Opportunities to Innovate" and "Sustainability in the DNA" will round out this portion of the day with discussions on flexibility in the cabin environment and whether it can be used in a way that will either boost revenue or is cost neutral.

An Industry Networking Party will close out the conference and give attendees a chance to mingle and discuss the hottest topics of the day.

For more information on PEC or to register for this exclusive event, visit the Passenger Experience Conference's website.

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