The two-day event brought forward debates about the changing demand for face-to-face learning and offered members access to Daniel Sieberg, author and Head of Media Outreach at Google, among other presenters.
The association brings together leading language travel agents, schools and national associations as one global community to discuss issues in the study travel sector and share best practices. Other speakers at the event were Marijo Bos, President of Bos Advisors and Heidi Grant Halvorson, Associate Director of the Motivation Science Center at the Columbia Business School.
“The providers that can initiate programmes, platforms, lesson content, etc. to provide for this changing landscape will become popular”
Panel discussions involving big name stakeholders remained a focal point of the event. The panel featured José Carlos Hauer Santos, CEO of STB Brazil; Nick Tellwright, Director of Online Development at INTO; David Anthonisz, Sales and Marketing Director of Pathways at ISIS Education Group; and Rahmi Mesud Yilmaz, Co-Owner and Managing Director of Atlas Private Educational Services in Turkey.
They considered the now-familiar issue of possibilities and problems of interconnecting schools’ online booking systems with those of agents’.
In further conversations about the role of agents, delegates generally agreed that they would continue to play a role in the industry though in different ways.
ALTO members and panelist agreed that standardising terms and fields was a possible solution the organisation should explore.
Technology’s impact on business was also discussed. Remco Weeda, Agent Sales Manager at CERAN Lingua International, thought that while face-to-face classroom teaching wasn’t diminishing, it was definitely changing.
“The providers that can initiate programmes, platforms, lesson content, etc. to provide for this changing landscape will become popular,” he argued.
“For those that demand them, these will become deal-breakers. For those that may not have thought about them so much, these may become very appealing and shape demand.”
Weeda also said that the only way to deliver solutions is to make your supply more interactive and tailor made. “That will change the landscape of traditional language travel and instead of diminishing the demand for it, probably make it a little bit more popular,” he commented.
Conversations also centered around the possibilities for dynamic pricing in the language travel industry.
Participants agreed that while dynamic pricing could be great for the industry, it could also lead to problems such as different students paying different prices. One panelist moderator Sean Hale pointed out, despite differences in opinion on dynamic pricing and however commoditized the industry is, everyone is still selling education.
Delegates were also able to speak one-to-one and share ideas in a Speed Dating session.
Dynamic pricing could be great for the industry, it could also lead to problems such as different students paying different prices
Reka Lenart, ALTO’s Association Manager, underscored the importance of bringing together industry leaders in order to raise the profile of the language travel industry globally.
“We connect people who are leaders of their organisations and are therefore dealing with the same issues, facing the same problems in their day to day jobs,” she said.
“I think sharing ideas with competitors and with your business partners in a non-sales environment gives you a kind of overview of the industry and essentially makes you a more efficient leader.”