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A Travel Weekly business breakfast briefing this week at Google’s London HQ featured a panel of exclusive Google execs to discuss the world’s most powerful search engine’s effect on the travel industry. It was interesting timing as it coincided with the announcement that The EU was to take Google to task over whether it abused its dominance in the search market unfairly to favour its own shopping services over those of its competitors.

The panel not surprisingly were very agile in avoiding any questions on this subject, which was good because that was not the reason we were all there for. Most in the room wanted to gain a greater insight in to Google’s future impact in travel, but as recruiters we were interested in the knock on effects that this would have on the hiring behaviour of our travel clients. Hiring more digital marketers and senior executives with a stronger understanding of ecommerce has been an ever emerging trend for us over the past few years. In fact so much has this trend dominated the demand from our clients, that we decided at the beginning of the year to consolidate our business from two brands to one brand, since we felt it no longer appropriate to have a separate brand dedicated to digital roles, since all roles that we handle now have an ever increasingly important element of digital to them. Digital is no longer a specialism it is an essentialism and it’s become centre stage.

One of the Google panellist was unrepentant in his sermon to the travel companies in the room……you must hire more data scientists was his message. He eulogised over companies that put data at the heart of their businesses, and made the point that it was data and the understanding over data that was the differentiator as opposed to technology. Technology is an enabler, a means of unlocking data, but that technology on its own is not the answer.

He said that may businesses tend to hire plenty of technologists but insufficient high calibre data specialists. This Google exec’s message reminded me of a quote by Bill Gates who once said “Be nice to nerds. Chances are you’ll end up working for one.”

To corroborate this theme, later this week, we had a request from a client (who wasn’t in the Google briefing) to find a Head of Business Intelligence. I think we might be seeing the start of a new trend.

Ian Brooks, Director

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