Director’s vlog series: Transforming content transforms your audience
How ATPCO shifted attendance to its annual global conference along with our brand perception, as explained by Director of Marketing, Beth Taylor.
Welcome to the second entry in our director's vlog series, where we interview some of the top people at ATPCO for insights on industry topics we’re all thinking about.
This interview with Beth Taylor, the Director of Marketing and Communications, describes the questions we asked ourselves as we shifted content to reach 50% more executives at our premier annual industry event.
Welcome back! Julie Yi here again with another episode in the director's vlog series. Today we have Beth Taylor, Director of Marketing and Communications, to share the story about ATPCO's recent transformation.
Hi! Excited to be here.
So as the director of marketing and communications, can you describe your journey of ATPCO's recent transformation of the global conference?
Sure. So I came into ATPCO roughly two years ago, right when we had finished our global conference for that year, and we embarked on a series of transformations across the company, both looking at our brand, looking at our value to the industry, and then that ultimately came to fruition in a complete rebrand that was announced at the following year's global conference, which we renamed to Elevate in 2017.
So, Elevate 2017, and then this past Elevate 2018, have been the first two conferences in which we've really expanded the way that we talk about ATPCO and our value. So we're not just talking about products, we're talking about ideas and we're really transitioning and asserting ourselves as leaders in the next generation of distribution.
Some of the things that we've looked at as we've evolved the conference is how do we talk at a higher level so that we're engaging the right audiences within each of our customer—our airline customers and our channel customers—to make sure that they're equipped with us as a valued partner in what they're doing to achieve their commercial goals.
So you just talked about fresh content being the biggest focus on evolving the conference. Can you give us an example of what some of the ideas were?
Yeah, so you know—at least in the last two years—we've gone, like I said, from talking about product to ideas and really driving market conversation. In the last two years, and even this last year, you know, we're really focused on like big-ticket topics like, what does the future of airline retailing look like? What does the future of NDC look like, and the future of distribution? What is our role in helping the market get to there faster? What is the future of dynamic offer creation and dynamic pricing?
All of these topics are really coming together in our main day of Elevate and the days following to allow our customers to kind of see what the market's doing across the globe, and also expose some of the channel partners and the longer tail of it—the ecosystem—like technology providers, startups, etc. We're really probably the only platform in the industry that still serves as a very neutral platform for an event like this, which allows people to come to the event, know that they're gonna have unparalleled reach, they're gonna have a seat at the table with people from every level.
It's been interesting since we've kind of transitioned content to be bigger, broader, more forward-looking, we've seen a dramatic change in the attendees of the event. So in the last year, even, our attendance is 40 percent director level and above. We've increased the executive attendance by half, so 52% increase in executive attendance year-over-year. It's pretty unheard of, but it shows just how quickly we're moving, and that people have kind of tuned in and are jumping on board.
Great, so going off of that, what would you say were the biggest highlights from Elevate 2018?
By far, there were a few like really big highlights and the first one we had the Routehappy CEO Bob Albert on stage with the big three US carriers talking about their vision for the future of airline retailing. Very rarely do you see carriers come together on stage—for many various reasons—to present a unified goal for the industry to move faster, to be able to help provide their offer to consumers in a better way.
I thought the other interesting part of that—so that's big carrier discussion—the next like most important or the most highly rated session was our Bridge Labs Showcase, which is all about the startup ecosystem and kind of those new ideas, new innovators that have a really great idea and ATPCO serves to kind of give them mentorship, expertise, access to test data, so that our airline customers and our channel customers know that they've been vetted and they can kind of pick and choose some of these new ideas on our stage.
So before we end, I just wanted to ask if you had any other exciting news you wanted to share, or anything else that, you know...
Yeah, I mean, before we end, I guess what's on the top of my mind is, you know, as part of our transformation a year ago, we acquired Routehappy, which was the leader in their field with kind of leapfrogging the way the industry looks at airline content, amenity data, ticket attributes. We acquired them February first, 2018, so I'm really looking forward to seeing how ATPCO and Routehappy work more closely together and the value that creates for our customers.
You know, we've already started integrating a number of things, but really, like, it's once you hit that stride with both leaders working together, with teams working together, with our customers coming together—because ATPCO traditionally has spoken to one area of the airline, Routehappy in another area, like I said, you know, we're working on bringing bridges so that people can get things done more quickly.
So I'm really excited to see how that mixture of kind of entrenched expertise and history with fare, fare-related data and pricing data can come together with shopping data and kind of this new age of retailing. There's just so much under the covers there and there's a lot to look forward to as we move into 2019.
Great! Well, thank you so much for joining us today and be sure to tune in next time for the next episode in the director's vlog series.
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