inVOYAGE: Opening Keynote

  • 2 October 2018
  • Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah

On October 2, 2018 Andrew presented to 200 professionals from the Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Events (MICE) industry at the inVOYAGE 2018 event held at the Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah, UAE. He spoke about the threats and opportunities from digital disruption, as well as subjects such as the Gig Economy, Social Media and the use of Influencers.

A full replay of the event is presented above, with additional photography provided by Timothy Fare-Matthews from First and Ten productions.

A 3 minute summary of the event is presented below.

inVOYAGE was delighted to have The Actionable ® Futurist and former Global Managing Partner at IBM Andrew Grill as the keynote speaker for this year’s event, thanks to a new partnership with international speaker bureau Speakers Corner.

Co-Founder & CEO at inVOYAGE, Richard Joslin was quoted as saying:

Andrew is a great speaker and a real professional. His ability convey high-value leadership insights to both a larger audience and a smaller boardroom was what we needed. He showed an ability to think on his feet and adapt the discussion to the needs of the people in the room. Really pleased to have had him join our event.

Andrew shared his first-hand experience of digital transformation and the power of social media networks and also helped the inVOYAGE community take a step back and really see the opportunities presented to them in the new world of digital. A seasoned TEDx speaker, Andrew has presented for clients including Linkedin, BA, Bloomberg and KPMG.

A leading international speaker bureau, Speakers Corner recommends over 6,500 keynote speakers, motivational speakers, after-dinner speakers, awards hosts, conference facilitators and comedians for over 1,000 events a year.

The partnership will also see Nick Gold, CEO of Speakers Corner, take on the role of official chair of the inSIGHTS Conference at inVOYAGE 2018, bringing his expertise to what promises to be an exciting and educational agenda.

Richard Joslin, inVOYAGE Founder & CEO, said: “Working with Nick and the team at Speakers Corner provides a real leap forward for inVOYAGE as we continue to drive higher-value content through the event for the benefit of our delegates.  Andrew Grill as keynote speaker is incredibly relevant to the events sector and promises to be both exciting and inspiring.”

Nick Gold, CEO of Speakers Corner, added: “Personally I’m incredibly excited to be chairing this event and already looking forward to meeting delegates to learn and share ideas to keep delivering luxury, high-end event experiences. Andrew is a fantastic keynote speaker and I can’t wait to hear how his unique insights can benefit the luxury travel community.”

inVOYAGE 2018 is the fifth annual inVOYAGE, which brings together luxury travel brands with high-level event planners representing some of the world’s leading corporations.

More information can be found on the conference website.

Read more about Andrew’s trip to the event and a great example of customer service here.

Below is an interview conducted with the inVOYAGE team featured on their website:

inVOYAGE 2018 keynote speaker & The Actionable Futurist® Andrew Grill shares some insights into his world, what digital disruption means and what the future holds for the luxury travel and events sector…

You describe yourself as The Actionable Futurist® – what does that mean?

As The Actionable Futurist® as opposed to a futurist. I am someone who can see how current trends are likely to disrupt a business in the short to mid-term – ie, this quarter versus the next 5 years, whereas a futurist is likely to be looking 10 – 20 years out. As a practitioner in the industry, I can see first-hand how things might be impacted and provide practical and actionable advice that can be put into place the next day or next week.

What’s the most common question you are asked by audiences about the future?
The most common question is “what’s coming next and what do I need to worry about?”. Audiences don’t want to know what life will be like in 5-10 years, their horizons are much shorter – next month or next quarter. Often people want to know what of the latest jargon they need to be worried about, and what it actually means. As concepts such as blockchain and artificial intelligence make it into the mainstream news, they want someone who can translate the buzzwords into business-speak. Thinking about the short-term future can help companies budget for their digital transformation, as well as hire ahead of the curve so they are not caught out as customers move to a more “always-on” digital way of doing business.

How forward-thinking do you think the travel sector is from a digital perspective?

The travel sector is facing many of the same issues I see across other industries. Innovations that we now take for granted such as being able to book our own airline seat and receive our boarding pass via a mobile app have started to appear in other industries, as customers start to demand the same type of digital convenience offered by airlines and other travel companies. There is a constant need though to keep up with the needs of the uber-connected traveller. Their expectation will always be that of the last great digital experience they had, and if a supplier cannot offer these innovations, then they will go elsewhere.

In the travel industry, data is key, and personalisation and recommendation based on a traveller’s past preferences can be used to delight a digitally-savvy traveller. The travel sector has many moving parts and hence friction points. The ability to reduce or remove this friction will determine the winners in this sector.

What can the luxury travel/events sector learn from other sectors?

Every industry is flooded with data, and few know how to decode and process it in an effective way. Luxury travel and events are all about personal “money can’t buy” experiences that we want to take with us and retell to our friends and family.

Personalisation and preferences unique to a traveller is something that organisations in other sectors are starting to master – providing truly personalised digital experiences. The travel and events sectors can use data to drive the perfect physical experience before, during and after a luxury event. In every industry, those that understand how to remove the friction are the ones that will be successful.

Which digital disruptor start-up do you wish you’d founded?

I wish I’d had shares in Amazon from 20 years ago. Jeff Bezos managed to start a business without having to spend a cent on the three key ingredients he needed – a transportation system, a connectivity platform, and a payments platform. In each case: FedEx, the Internet and Mastercard already existed meaning he could concentrate on a website that connected customers with books initially, then branch out into the vast shopping site that Amazon has now become.  A close second would be Netflix – they have refined the subscription model. People are willing to pay $10/month every month for great content without ads.

What is the most important thing businesses need to do to prepare for the workplace of the future? And what will the workplace of the future look like?

The workplace of the future is constantly evolving. It won’t be one technology or service that drives fundamental change, but an associated culture change in not just the way we do work, but where we do work will be needed. Coming into a physical office 5 days of the week is likely to change forever, as employees decide they want to work for a variety of different companies over a working month and the Gig economy will start to impact all industries as we rent out our time, expertise and brands to the organisation that best satisfies our needs.

The events industry is all about human interaction and real-life experiences. Do you think technology will ever replace the need for meeting in person?

I’ve been fascinated as a professional speaker for nearly 20 years now we’re still travelling to conferences and events in person. Human nature is intrigued and inspired by travelling to new places and having new experiences. While we can beam in presenters via holograms or high-definition video, nothing can yet replace the passion of an amazing presenter or the discussions during the breaks and dinners. Put that together with an event in a dynamic and exciting city and I don’t believe humans will ever want this replaced by technology.

What will change is that the time spent at events will be even more effective, as the sessions and people we really need to take notice of will be planned in advance using technology such as artificial intelligence to suggest to us the most effective itinerary based on everything a digital assistant can learn about us.

Andrew Grill will be providing the opening keynote at inVOYAGE 2018 in Ras Al Khaimah, as part of a new content partnership with speaker bureau Speakers Corner.

Read more about Andrew’s trip to the event and a great example of customer service here.