Byte Breakfast - Attention, friction and the customer travel journey

Article by

John Newbold
Partner & Strategy Director

John Newbold

John Newbold

Partner & Strategy Director

Byte is our regular meetup of people from across different sectors and organisations to talk product, innovation and changing customer behaviour.

For April's event, we explored how travel brands are (and should be) operating more broadly when it comes to engaging customers across the travel journey. For our definition of journey, we looked to Google's 'Five Stages of Travel', which although published in 2012, still holds true today - Dreaming, Planning, Booking, Experiencing and Sharing.

The problem today is that travel businesses are operating in an era of high friction, and low attention.

Recent data from Expedia has shown that customers typically visit 45 websites when in the Dreaming & Planning stages (showing that despite OTAs' best efforts, friction does still exist), and an overwhelming amount of consumer choice online is splitting attention constantly.

So, my talk focused on how brands can exist and have influence across all stages of the journey (to ultimately drive more loyalty and revenue), as well as exploring how they can occupy the mysterious-sounding 'Third Place'; in other words, how we can use new interfaces to improve customer experience and reduce friction beyond web and mobile.

This led into us delving a little into the conversation around Chatbots, which our guest speaker David Low explored in more detail, and how they should be additive to a customer experience, rather than technology for technology's sake.

You can see my slides and recap my talk in full below:

Ultimately, near or long term, good UX persists as the biggest advantage for brands and businesses.
Amazon Echo

A little more conversation - a little less action

We were delighted to welcome David Low, Developer Advocate at billion-dollar startup Skyscanner to be our guest speaker. His talk, 'A little more conversation..', touched on the revolution in messaging that has been taking place over the past few years, enabling businesses to extend their conversations with customers in new and exciting ways.

A great example of this is Skyscanner's integration with Amazon Alexa, which he treated us to a demo of - head to 33:55 in the video below to see it in action.

For anyone interested in finding out more about how Skyscanner can help their business (large or small), there’s a tonne of useful information on the Skyscanner for Business page, or you can reach David directly to chat about the future of travel search on:

Catch up on David's talk below:

As always with Byte, we try to share some practical ways that people can get started with applying some of these concepts to their own work.

  1. For your eyes - Read Scott Belsky's 'The Interface Layer: Where Design Commoditizes Tech'. In Scott's own words, this is 'a look at how a new cohort of design-driven companies are adding a layer of convenience between us and the underlying services and utilities that improve our lives'. A great introduction to some key concepts.
  2. For your ears - Listen to the renowned team behind the a16z podcast take on the subject of 'Bots and Beyond'. They discuss various threads related to this topic, including 'conversational commerce' and what contexts are the most useful when it comes to thinking about bots.

As always, I’d love to have a coffee with anyone interested in discussing these topics. You can reach me on

Our next Byte is taking place on the 26th May, when we'll be looking at how corporate intrapreneurs within large organisations can fund innovation and new product development. If you’d like to find out more, drop us an email.