Gatwick CIO calls on the travel industry to embrace technology innovators

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Established businesses should open up their technology, information and supply chains to early-stage, innovative companies if future needs of customers are to be met, according to Gatwick chief information officer, Michael Ibbitson.

Speaking at the Smart London joint event with London & Partners on June 17, Ibbitson said that only by embracing the spirit of collaboration running through London’s tech scene can big travel companies provide the seamless travel experience that customers desire.

“Business and leisure travelers are looking for a seamless end-to-end experience which combines their travel, be it by plane, train or automobile, with their hotel and airport experience. The travel companies that succeed in the future will be those that relax their grip on their own technology and information to work in partnerships to give their customers what they want.”

Ibbitson backed up his words by announcing that Gatwick is now sharing the airport’s operational data for the research and development community to have real-time access to data via an API, on request. This follows Gatwick’s partnership with EasyJet to build an app which delivers bespoke updates and directions to passengers at the airport.

The comments come as The Traveltech Lab – an incubator created by London & Partners and The Trampery which brings together tech start-ups and big corporates in the travel industry – announced the Associate Membership scheme to enable more start-ups to participate in the Lab’s activity.

Andrew Cooke, COO at London & Partners, said, “Over 100 companies originally applied to be part of The Traveltech Lab and as news of the initiative has spread, we are now receiving requests from companies on a daily basis that wish to join the community.

“Associate Membership will allow a larger number of companies to enjoy many of the benefits of the incubator program, including drop-in access to the lab, allowing us to expand the strong ecosystem we are creating to support and nurture the growth of tech companies in this sector.”

The Traveltech Lab, for which Gatwick was a founding partner, has gone from strength to strength since its launch by His Royal Highness Prince Andrew The Duke of York in March 2015. The incubator program in London Bridge brings together technology start-ups with big corporates within the travel industry to drive innovation and success.

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Helen has worked for UKi Media & Events for nearly a decade. She joined the company as assistant editor on Passenger Terminal World and since progressed to become editor of five publications, covering everything from aviation, logistics and e-commerce to meteorology. She has a love for travel and property and has redeveloped three houses in three years. When she’s not editing magazines, she’s running around after her two boys and their partner in crime, Pete the pug.

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