At the end of last week, Ask BOSCO™’s CEO and Founder, John Readman had the pleasure of attending the ABTA travel and marketing conference 2023 in London, presenting two of the sessions.

This is his review of the day…

My experience at the ABTA Travel Marketing Conference 2023

The ABTA Travel Marketing Conference didn’t disappoint. Not only was the venue at the top of the NewsUK building, offering a perfect view of the capital city, but the content provided senior leaders in the travel marketing world with a panoramic view of future trends and current opportunities in marketing.

Day 1: Branding and investing in your brand.

Here are some standout insights from day one:

  • 38% of people haven’t booked their holidays for 2023 yet.
  • Family holidays are still a higher priority for people than dining out at restaurants.
  • Ronan Gay from Black Tomato, a leading luxury travel company, shared their focus on storytelling and selling the dream. Their expertise even attracted the produces of the James Bond franchise who approached them for a travel content collaboration. Epic!
  • Rosa Mitchell from Connective3 delivered a rapid-fire tour of SEO and content, covering 100 slides in just 20 minutes. She provided many top tips and recommended great tools.
  • Scott Logie previously experienced in the data industry and now at Sagacity, emphasized the importance of organizing your data and focusing on the basics.

In the afternoon, the focus shifted to people and recruitment. Nathalie from Tui shared insights, ideas, and content that have made TUI an employer of choice in the travel sector.

Day 2: AI, Data, and Tech

The keynote speech by Daniel Rowles, CEO of and Programme Director at Imperial College London, was the highlight of the event for me. He mentioned upcoming AI/AR/VR contact lenses, leaving me wondering where I could order them from!

The key takeaway was that trust and community will be crucial in a world of AI, where it’s difficult to distinguish between real and AI-generated content, videos, and voices. Daniel showcased some incredibly lifelike AI personal avatars with real voices, which was both scary and exciting.

Tom Streetly from DAX highlighted the opportunities in podcasts and digital audio for advertising. It’s a growing channel that the travel sector should explore further.

Ian Chambers from easyJet Holidays presented a robust, clear plan based on Google customer segments. He showcased the use of app technology to create seamless traveller experiences. I particularly liked his focus on PPC optimisation for profit and understanding attribution.

John Readman Ask BOSCO™ speaking at the ABTA Travel Marketing Conference 2023

Later, I took the stage with Arjan van Hartesveldt from Deployteq,  moderated by Dean Harvey from Kuoni where we discussed clever AI and automation for the ‘Innovative tech solutions for modern marketers’ segment. My presentation focused on where businesses should invest their money and how our Ask BOSCO™ AI can help measure, plan, and predict future online marketing strategies. The audience engaged with many questions during our interactive Q&A session.

After lunch, I returned to the stage for a session with Andy Headington from Adido. Andy shared his knowledge on common analytics and tracking mistakes from the start and how to rectify them. I contributed insights using ChatGPT and Bard, discussing the optimal split of traffic between SEO and PPC based on anonymised data from hundreds of Ask BOSCO™ clients.

Andy continued his session, providing valuable tips on GA4 and how to prepare for its implementation. It was an extremely useful and practical session for everyone in attendance.

The last two sessions explored broader media opportunities, featuring insights from TikTok, Pinterest, Sky, and our partners at VDX. All the information presented was supported by independent data from GWI.

All in all, a great and very insightful couple of days.  (On a side note though, the coffee was very average, and lunch felt somewhat lacklustre…similar to my aunt’s wedding anniversary 🤣).  However, the excellent content made up for it, so I’ll let it slide.  Now I’m off to book my next holiday…✈️