Truth, Trust and the Future of the Expert

We live in a world of growing doubt. Voices and opinions multiply, but as sources of information proliferate, people’s confidence in their reliability declines. Trust in governments, news organisations and social media is at an all-time low, and businesses have a constant challenge to protect their brands’ integrity. In a year dominated by the fake news phenomenon, the mining of personal Facebook data, the Cambridge Analytica scandal and more, there is global awareness of disinformation, with people questioning the very nature of truth, and increasingly aware of the power of data to manipulate our views and behaviours.

Where so many personal and consumer experiences are intermediated, where direct human contact is no longer desired or possible, the big question is : “What and whom can I believe?”

As travel horizons expand, and travel destinations face upheaval, how does the industry make sure the customer is confident enough to travel? As business models and travel providers proliferate, how do we make sure the customer is confident to buy and trusting enough to believe that they will enjoy an experience in line with their expectations? What are the cornerstones of the future relationship between the travel industry and the traveller?

The priority for any business is to focus on building trust, helping to address people’s fears and concerns honestly. Businesses that are able to connect, engage and drive belief in their products will be richly rewarded, whilst those who rest on their laurels will falter.

We live in a tumultuous world where essential truths are being questioned, but there are many reasons for optimism: challenges present a wealth of opportunity for canny, trusted players.

With Truth, Trust and the Future of the Expert as its theme, this year’s Travel Convention will seek to provide ABTA’s Members and the wider industry with a broad spectrum of tips and insights designed to help them shape the travel industry of tomorrow, rather than be shaped by it.