Coronavirus, localization and sustainability: what I’ve learned at my first hospitality event

A while ago I changed my business name to The Traveling Translator to reflect my core activities better: I specialize in translations for the travel & hospitality industry, plus I travel a lot. Hence, The Traveling Translator.

As a translator, I think it’s important to keep up with developments and current events in my industry, so I attend a lot of translation conferences. However, I think it’s also important to know what’s happening in the travel industry, as that’s my area of expertise. So, I decided to attend a travel event.

Coincidence or not, on Tuesday I found out there was going to be an international event for the hospitality industry in Amsterdam on Friday. A great opportunity for me to dip my toes into this type of event. So I bought my ticket for I Meet Hotel, the conference connecting hoteliers to the future of hospitality. This is what I learned:

The coronavirus has a serious impact, but the industry will recover. Okay, nothing new here. Everybody knows about the coronavirus. But the travel industry is one where the consequences of the virus hits hard. People cancel their vacations or simply postpone planning their vacations. This means fewer hotel rooms booked, fewer plane tickets sold, etc. However, as Bas Lemmens, former CEO of Booking.com, pointed out: the industry has survived other disasters, such as SARS, the Mexican flu and 9/11, and recovered from that. We can survive again this time. The question the industry needs to focus on now is: what can we do to attract travelers again?
Selling is emotion. A basic rule in marketing and sales. This time from a localization perspective, as presented by Matthijs Kooijman, commercial director of translation agency Attached Language Intelligence. Within an increasingly global environment, it’s important for businesses to have a local AND international presence. This means doing business worldwide in a local manner. Businesses have to try and build credibility and trust with the local market, so they can establish a relationship with (potential) customers.
Sustainability is a topic that won’t pass. It’s not just a trend. These wise words came from Martine Kveim, co-founder of CHOOOSE, a climate action streaming service that lets you reduce your environmental footprint. I think we all know that we need to do something to #savetheplanet, and businesses, in the travel industry and beyond, can benefit from that by offering green solutions and helping people becoming aware of what they can do.

All in all, it was an afternoon well spent. I met nice people and learned a lot. If you happen to know about other travel events, please let me know in the comments.

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