Web In travel (WIT) is a renowned international conference that commenced in Singapore in the year 2005. The main objective of this conference was to transform the online travel industry across the entire Asia Pacific (APAC) region as well as to strengthen the Asian travel community. From 160 participants in 2005 to attracting more than 500 participants at present, WIT has undoubtedly spanned its marks on numerous sites all over Asia.

In 2016, WIT was held at Marina Bay Sands Expo & Convention Centre in Singapore on October 18, 2016 (Tuesday) and October 19, 2016 (Wednesday). It aimed at focusing on the changing dynamics of the world hospitality industry.

There is no denying the fact that the conference attracted a speckled mix of travel enthusiasts and professionals across the globe. Nearly 800 innovators, executives, and influencers were present in Singapore to discuss the changing trends in the travel industry and chipping stimulating ideas to expand the travel business.

At the conference, industry leaders on October 18th and 19th shared insights on the hospitality industry. The leaders and participants engaged in passionate and intense discussions about the key events happening in the online travel industry today. Some of the critical questions asked during the conference were:

  • What is the contribution of the global travel industry?
  • How will hospitality industry shape up in 2020?
  • Would there be a demand for regional operators?
  • What should be the future business model for travel industry – revenue based or value based?
  • Would small players lose their market share to big performers in future?
  • What are the forthright changes predicted in the hospitality business?

Standing at the intersection of technology and travel, the leaders answered the above and many other questions in detail to help small-to-medium sized businesses and tour operators overcome the foreseen challenges.

Creating a Space for Responsible Tourism

The conference started with tracking notes from the AccorHotels Asia Pacific CEO and Chairman – Michael Issenberg, who delved into key issues of distribution, consolidation, and integration in the hospitality industry along with sharing acumen on alternative accommodation.

Accor is playing a critical role in the APAC region by expanding and building its niche market in a unique way. The hotel is investing extensively in technological innovations and taking stakes in the alternative accommodation.

Meeting the Movers and Pioneers of the Asia’s Online Travel Industry

The giants and big shots of the online travel industry in the Asian market discussed the tremendous growth observed in the online travel market since 2005. They shared the tips on how they survived and why others disappeared. The session gave a clear reflection on the past, painted a picture of the present, and took a dive into how future can be shaped-up.

Fly & Reimage The Future

Internet is the new buzz today. The prolific spread of the Internet in the new generation necessitates that the travel industry must reimagine ways to strengthen interactions with their current and potential consumers. As we are refocussing and progressing into a wide realm of online text search, it is imperative to leverage the past experiences and foray into search engine technology.

Stretch Your Boundaries

On October 19th 2016, Deep Kalra (Founder, MakeMyTrip) in a candid conversation shared the reasons of shaking hands with Ctrip (China’s giant travel agency engaged in offering a range of hospitality services) in the eCommerce space. With Ctrip investing US$180 mn in MakeMyTrip, Mr. Deep Kalra shared how the online travel brands are expanding beyond their homespun shores.

In a nutshell, the bottom line of the WIT Conference 2016 was staged on moving in line with the customers. With multiple trends unfolding in the online travel industry, the players in the hospitality industry need to gear-up their pace to adapt to the recent technological changes and be a part of the virtual space. The amount, pace, and rate of change shall not only enable them to perform things differently but also enable them to make waves in the global market and stay ahead of their global competitors.