AI, voice search, and digital assistants are fundamentally changing the way we interact with the world around us. Last week, we were joined by more than 300 marketers and technology enthusiasts at EXPLORE18: The Intelligent Future for an afternoon of exploration, inspiration and innovation. Yext’s largest European event to date, the conference gave attendees the opportunity to explore new technological innovations — and the impact they are having on the consumer experience and perception of brands across the digital ecosystem.
The event kicked off with a keynote from Howard Lerman, Yext Co-Founder and CEO, and an announcement about our latest milestone in achieving our goal of putting brands in control of their digital knowledge everywhere consumers are searching — Yext’s integration with TripAdvisor. This partnership will give businesses, beginning with restaurant operators, more direct control over their key details such as hours, contact information, locations, menus, and many other attributes, through the Yext Knowledge Engine.
Bertrand Jelensperger, Senior Vice President of Restaurants at TripAdvisor and CEO of TheFork, joined Marc Ferrentino, Yext Chief Strategy Officer, on stage to announce the Yext integration with TripAdvisor. Together, they discussed the increasing importance of local reviews for restaurants and hospitality businesses in today’s digital age.
Howard Lerman, Yext Co-Founder and CEO, took the audience on a journey into the Intelligent Future, exploring the many ways AI, digital assistants, and intelligent services are changing our world.
Ed Parsons, Geospatial Technologist at Google, revealed how important maps have become to consumers’ day-to-day lives. The value Google Maps adds to the customer experience by building around the user — based on where they go and the questions they ask — was a key takeaway for brands.
Dr. Hannah Fry, Broadcaster, Lecturer, and Mathematician, wowed the audience with a data-driven presentation about the ways technology is being used to drive social change. Providing examples from transport to policing, Hannah demonstrated how important it is to be curious about the world around us, and the value of spotting patterns in data to predict the future and drive change.
Wendi Sturgis, Yext Chief Customer Officer, took to the stage for a fireside chat with Dominic Chamber, Global Head of Digital Marketing for Jaguar Land Rover. Together, they discussed the role of online and offline within the purchase journey for the auto sector, and voice technology within cars. Whereas customers used to visit an average of five dealers, they are now only visiting 1.2 dealers, making auto brands’ online presence more important than ever before.
Vincent Ducrey, Co-Founder & CEO, HUB Institute, Martin Newman, Founder and Chairman, Practicology, and Franklin Yao, our Managing Director in Greater China, joined Yext Chief Marketing Officer, Jeffrey K. Rohrs, on stage to discuss the differences in consumer behaviour across markets and the importance of brands being where local shoppers are. For example, Chinese tourists to the UK do not necessarily use Google to search for businesses while abroad. Instead, they continue to use their local intelligent services, like WeChat. Brands must have a presence on local platforms to reach shoppers from these fast-growing markets.
Futurist and TV personality Jason Silva closed our event with a fantastic keynote looking at what future technology means for society today. He explored how often people are taken aback by technological developments, suggesting that progress should push us to the edge of our comfort zone.
We closed EXPLORE18 with a cocktail reception on the roof terrace with stunning views overlooking the River Thames. Thank you to all who journeyed into the Intelligent Future with us. We look forward to seeing you at another Yext event soon!