We launched our first conference to explore passenger experience trends and innovations in 2012. Hosted by Aircraft Interiors Expo and its sister show, World Travel Catering & Onboard Services Expo, the Cabin Innovation & Strategies for the Future Conference set the pattern for future years by taking place the day before the exhibitions and including a choice of concurrent breakout streams.
The agenda in 2012 centred around consumer trends and expectations; the challenges of standardisation and differentiation; hospitality and inflight entertainment initiatives to help airlines to meet evolving passenger needs; plus some insights from experiences in other transport sectors.
Building on this success, we launched the Passenger Experience Conference in 2013
Delegates and speakers participated in a mix of plenary sessions devoted to future strategy, travel sector trends, the relationship between brand and financial performance in commercial aviation, plus some unexpected lessons from other industries. Three concurrent afternoon breakout sessions focused on driving extra value from inflight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC); new opportunities in hospitality and service; and cabin interiors to support new ways of doing business.
A new development for the evening was the Industry Networking Party, where conference participants were joined by visitors and exhibitors to AIX and WTCE for live music, cocktails and a delicious selection of international cuisines.
Crystal Cabin Awards created to celebrate the very best in cabin innovation and designBy 2014, the Passenger Experience Conference had its own website and social media channels (@PEC_HAMBURG) and included a new breakout stream, “Protecting the Brand: Cabin Maintenance” on the agenda.
Delegates and speakers came together to debate issues as diverse as air travel experience in 2050; transformative collaboration between brands; personal electronic devices and connectivity gate-to-gate; multi-sensory branding and creating memorable experiences; comfort in the cabin, optimising space and next steps for passenger comfort systems; plus designing for ease of future maintenance and improving products for wear resistance.
In 2015 the Passenger Experience Conference launched new sessions and provided more opportunities for delegates to create their own custom conference programmes.
Everyone came together at the beginning of the day for the Blue Sky Talks, designed to challenge thinking about what is possible; and again at the end of the day for the candid and insightful Leaders in Innovation session. The breakout sessions kicked off mid-morning with keynote presentations offering new visions on IFEC; hospitality; and cabin experience, each considering how to disrupt the status quo. These keynotes were repeated in the afternoon allowing delegates to maximise their time at the conference and attend a greater range of sessions.
Agenda topics such as flexibility and considering the aircraft interior as an integrated system, seat evolution, the outlook for first and ultra-premium travel, effectively linking consumer insights with airline brands and evolving a vision for the connected aircraft.
The fifth edition of the conference considered how, in an increasingly connected world, the industry can best collaborate to create seamless and positive passenger experiences across the touch points of the customer's journey. Highlights included innovations for onboard e-commerce, evolving payments technology, plus insights on IFEC and cabin differentiation for low cost and regional airlines.
Each breakout stream also featured an in-depth case study that gave delegates the opportunity to get under the skin of an interiors project or collaboration to understand what made it work and how project partners successfully overcame the challenges along the way.
After four years at Hamburg’s CCH Congress Center, the Passenger Experience Conference moved to the Hamburg Messe Hall A4 Upper.
Not only did we have a change of venue but also a change of format allowing delegates to create their own programme with three new conference streams - Generating Revenue, Comfort & Wellbeing and The Connected Journey. There was also a dedicated Airline Forum led by Jeff James- The Disney Institute. It was an exciting opportunity for the leading global conference and networking forum to further stimulate debate and help define the future of the passenger experience industry.
The 2018 Passenger Experience Conference opened with a visionary plenary session for all delegates that considered the convergence of next-generation transport solutions – space, supersonic, electric air travel, optionally-piloted air taxis, driverless cars, ultra-high speed rail – and how addressing these frontiers will also drive onboard and passenger experience innovations across mainstream aviation and rail operations.
Three breakout streams then ran concurrently for the rest of the day - Convergence and Mobility; Flexible and Sustainable Thinking; Personalising the Journey. Each stream examined how digital disruption and connectivity could better enable all of these aspects of passenger experience in the future.