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Interview with Evantia Giumba

On the theme People & Tech, Evantia Giumba, EMEA Business Development Director at Amadeus, talks about the travel industry and its evolutions. In the past years, this sector has been evolving a lot, especially with the pandemic. Since then, many new entrepreneurs have entered the market with new technologies, business models,s and, most of all, visions. These new actors tend to act more in favor of sustainability and CSR topics to effectively change the face of Travel.


people & tech

About Evantia

Evantia Giumba is EMEA Business Development Director at Amadeus. She spent more than fifteen years in the travel and tech industry. She has held several senior roles in innovation, consulting, business development, and sales. She is an experienced leader with success in designing and executing creative strategies to address business needs.

Evantia is passionate about the continual growth and development of employees and frequent panelist and keynote speaker in the travel industry, the tech industry, and startup events. A long-time supporter of smart and sustainable collaboration between large corporations and startups, she has been involved with several incubators and startup accelerators across Europe.

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My name is Evantia Giumba. I have a background of 20 years in the travel tech industry and for most of my career, I was focused on innovation and new business development. I have been an advocate of fostering collaboration with startups between startups and corporations. My role in Amadeus is to help new travel players enter the travel space. I'm driving the Amadeus Launchpad activities, which is one of the pillars of our Amadeus for Startup initiatives. Amadeus Launchpad is helping startups develop innovative services based on our technology. We help them navigate the travel ecosystem and ultimately help them launch, grow and develop their business. Amadeus is a travel technology company that provides solutions for all the players in the travel industry: travel providers, travel sellers, and corporations with solutions that help them run their operations and improve their travel experience.

Startup & Corporation Collaboration

Today, the place of entrepreneurs in the travel ecosystem is recognized. They are considered market disruptors that could have a strategic edge on the future business landscape. The most difficult part for a large corporation is not to get to the top, it’s to maintain its position. This is more than ever true today, trends are volatile, and with the digital transformation, we are technologically driven. Consumers and customers are changing their behaviors and expectations accordingly. Therefore, corporations have understood that innovative organic growth and innovation don't come necessarily only from between their worlds, collaboration and partnerships are more than ever essential. The collaboration with startups allows corporations to quickly and easily expand to new market opportunities and test disruptive business models. This collaboration is not only beneficial for corporations but also for startups, because they will be able to test and drive innovative ideas with more resources and reach.

Tech, Data & Sustainable Transformation

Now that we are in the post-pandemic era, all the trends that we've seen before have been accelerated, especially with digitalization, but also there are new trends that have arisen. I think the best way to look at how entrepreneurs are shaping the future of the travel industry is to look today at what are the most important trends in investment funding in travel. 

I will focus on four areas. First is data with artificial intelligence, and machine learning. We have been thrilled in the travel industry to deliver better, improved, and seamless travel experiences. One way to deliver personalized offers and advice for trips is to make the best usage of data. To be able to use the whole volume, you have to take advantage of new technology such as artificial intelligence and machine learning. Now we see a lot of new entrepreneurs coming, providing new solutions and a new way of using and managing that data to provide a better travel experience. 

The second one will be lodging. I think Phocus Write showed in a recent study that one out of three startups works around lodging activities and they have raised more than 40% of the total amount of funding in the last ten years. So what does it mean in the post covid era? We've seen that this vertical of hospitality and lodging has been profoundly transformed and one of the trends that have changed it is that now we can work from anywhere, work from home but work from all over the world. That means that we can combine work and travel more than before. Pre pandemic we were talking about pleasure and now with the work from anywhere, it also comes with new requirements and expectations. We are talking digital nomads about what the lodging has to offer workplaces but also recreation spots, wellness, and creating links with local activities. 

The third trend I would mention is outdoor. We have spent months in the last couple of years being closed in our apartments, especially in the big cities. So the need to be outside is bigger than ever and we see a lot of funding and a lot of entrepreneurs go into that space and position themselves also in the peer-to-peer rental on the “glamping” (glamor camping). It would be interesting to see if this trend will be persistent during the years post-pandemic. 

The last but probably the most important movement in our industry is sustainability. This is definitely aligned with global activity. What we can see here is that the social impact, CSR, and sustainability are not any more “nice to have”. They are really mandatory when an entrepreneur is thinking about how to develop their business. It's mandatory for corporations to also satisfy the traveler's expectations. Some studies have been conducted recently about travelers’ behavior. 37% of the travelers said that they would like the travel offering to combine also the possibility to have an impact on the local destination.

Myth & Reality of the new entrepreneurs

We have been talking a lot about the Covid era and about new entrepreneurs. Is it a myth or a reality? I think new managers post-Covid, new leaderships, and new entrepreneurs were a topic. There's a reality that we can acknowledge about the new entrepreneurship and we have just mentioned sustainability and CSR social impact, they are, as we said “nice to have” but they have to be taken into consideration for the entrepreneurship from the beginning. There's a new component that has been accentuated with the pandemic which is resilience. It’s becoming the high skill that an entrepreneur needs to have in order to make his company resilient through any kind of transformation and any technological transformation. The travel industry has faced a hard stop with the pandemic and made all the adjustments in stores for his company to continue to exist, and survive, but also thrive in the midst of the crisis. One thing to add, in the pandemic a lot of people focused on their well-being and I think that corporations started to put in place programs to be more and more aware of the well-being of their employees and entrepreneurs need more than ever to include this in the culture of the company.

Women leadership & Travel

Today women have not reached equality and leadership positions in any industry but the good news is that it has been acknowledged that gender-balanced companies are performing well, not only as a culture of the company but also for the financial results. This is something that we also see in entrepreneurship in travel. We see fewer women entrepreneurs in travel, maybe with the exception of everything related to sustainability and social impact. The good and positive news is that these are major trends in the industry, and these companies are taking a major place in the travel ecosystem, therefore women entrepreneurs are rising. Companies have put in place diverse programs to encourage women and to try to achieve diversity on the board but also in senior managers. But, as in any change, everything comes with us, so I would say that women need to earn the confidence and be willing to require and aim and hope for more C-level positions.

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