Experts Discuss Tourism Technology Trends

Staff Report From Savannah CEO

Friday, May 5th, 2017

Greg Kelly, executive director, Savannah Airport Commission; Molly Swagler, vice president of the Tourism Leadership Council; and Russ Clark, co-director of the Georgia Tech Research Network Operations Center, addressed Georgia Tech-Savannah’s “Learners and Leaders” series about how the application of technology is revolutionizing the tourism industry.

“Online reputation is everything,” said Swagler. “Today’s tourist dreams first and researches second, and they’re researching ad nauseam. They look before they arrive and they’ll know you because of your online reputation.”

Kelly discussed the history of the Savannah-Hilton Head International Airport, how it’s grown over time, and how it’s poised to grow in the future.

“Our five-year plan is now a two-year plan, and that’s all because of the growth reflected in data,” he said.

Clark, who served as the moderator for the panel discussion, agreed with the importance of data-driven decisions within the tourism industry.

“Data analytics have completely changed the way we market tourism,” he said. “And the opportunities technology provides in that area are limitless.”

Georgia Tech-Savannah’s Learners and Leaders series is an effort launched in 2014 to help companies in the coastal region stay current. To date, members of the coastal community have heard speakers on topics of relevance to the business community, including mobile apps, coaching and mentoring, leadership and logistics.