iñigo-smartvel-interview
July 1, 2024

Q&A with Iñigo Valenzuela, CEO of Smartvel

Maria Perez

Maria Perez

Hello everyone! Welcome to a new section of our blog dedicated to interviews with leaders and experts in the tourism industry. In this series, we will explore the latest trends, current challenges, and technological innovations shaping the future of tourism. We aim to provide you with privileged insights through conversations with interesting individuals who possess extensive experience in the sector.

Today, we have the honor of interviewing Iñigo Valenzuela, CEO of Smartvel, an innovative travel technology company specializing in providing relevant content and advanced technological solutions to enhance the travel experience. Join us as we explore his thoughts on automation in tourism, the importance of inspirational content, and how technology is transforming personalization and trust within the sector.

Questions and Answers

  1. How do you think the era of automation will affect digital transformation in large travel companies?

Iñigo Valenzuela: Yes, absolutely! And not just in tourism, it’s a cross-cutting trend. Here, the challenge isn’t efficiency but how to combine being more efficient with providing better service. A recent Accenture report highlights a striking trend this year: the “lack of love” on the customer side. It’s clear that too much automation or doing it incorrectly will negatively affect customer satisfaction.

  1. How will the dreaming and planning phase of the travel buying cycle change? Will inspirational content play a bigger role in this?

Iñigo Valenzuela: There’s a significant shift in the content business. Generative AI offers unparalleled capability for niche content, but at the same time, customers are “option-driven animals.” They like to choose, see different prices and options, and say “this is what I want.” New tool approaches focus on giving you what’s best for you, but do customers really want to avoid choosing? Our view is that the inspirational aspect will still resist AI minds for some time. Booking engines are much better than bots at showing options.

  1. How does personalization and instant access to travel documentation help the tourism industry?

Iñigo Valenzuela: There are still some niches where technology hasn’t provided a complete solution, and the full itinerary is one of them. There are interesting solutions, but none have gained global and relevant traction yet. Perhaps Apple and Google will achieve that. Personalization is a significant theme, and I’m confident it will improve dramatically with GenAI capabilities that can recognize your needs before you even articulate them. This is already happening today with some call center bots—they respond without needing much input.

  1. How will Smartvel continue to enhance the travel experience with cutting-edge technology?

Iñigo Valenzuela: We are extremely excited about the challenges ahead. As a travel technology company focused on content, we see great opportunities and concentrate our efforts on providing the best solutions that can leverage any content, customer prices, profiles, etc., to convert more and provide a better experience. As a company, we are also growing inorganically, evolving into what could be called a “vertical SaaS” company offering a broader range of products in the martech world.

Conclusion

We conclude this fascinating interview with Iñigo with a renewed perspective on how technology is shaping the future of tourism. From automation to personalization and the significance of inspirational content, we’ve explored how these trends are redefining how travelers dream, plan, and enjoy their experiences.

The tourism industry continues to evolve rapidly, and innovative companies like Smartvel are at the forefront—not only adapting to these changes but leading with advanced solutions that enhance customer satisfaction and facilitate memorable travel experiences.

We thank Iñigo for sharing his insights and expectations for the future, and we hope this interview has inspired new ideas on how we can continue to improve and personalize travel experiences worldwide.

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