Thriving on disruption in travel
At a recent presentation by Google on the topic of disruptive innovation, we expected to hear how Google revolutionised the internet search market and then displaced established offerings such as street directories with Google Maps, cable service-based email with cloud-based (and free) Gmail, and online advertising with AdWords.
Instead, the presentation was about how Google’s business itself was disrupted – by the advent of the smartphone.
It was interesting to hear how a company that is known for its disruptive innovations had its own business shaken by a powerful, portable innovation that quickly began replacing its customers’ traditional access medium of PCs and laptops.
There is a common theme in the world of disruption – it comes from unexpected sources. The world’s largest taxi firm, Uber, owns no cars. The world’s most popular media company, Facebook, creates no content. The world’s most valuable retailer, Alibaba, carries no stock. Discount outlets challenge established full-service retailers, online learning woos students away from brick-and-mortar educational institutions, and the list of game-changing innovations continues to grow, ushering in a new wave of rapid change.
Not surprisingly, disruptive innovation has been called the most influential business concept of the early 21st century.
And like Google, no-one is immune from its impact – certainly not businesses in the travel industry where hardly a day passes that a new innovation doesn’t pop up, be it a smartphone app, an artificial intelligence (AI) bot, Blockchain-based technology, or a revolutionary business model such as those of sharing economy firms Airbnb and Uber.
Ready or not?
Change isn’t inherently good or bad, it’s inevitable. Whether it poses a threat or an opportunity, however, depends on how affected organisations respond. In other words, savvy travel agencies can benefit from disruptive innovations.
For example, having an agile back-of-house provider such as Tramada Systems enables speedy adoption of new technologies as they arrive. Not only is Tramada constantly on the lookout for new innovations to integrate into the tramada® platform, the 6-8 new releases per year of the solution means that new integrations are brought to market far faster than any mid-office alternative in the market.
Here are a few examples of recent tramada integrations, and the evolutionary and disruptive innovations they embrace:
- Umapped Trip Publisher. Personalisation and customisation are now critical customer requirements for any travel business to remain competitive, and by consolidating booking confirmations, destination content, messaging and real-time updates into an interactive social tool, tramada clients can now provide the customised itineraries and customer experiences that take personalisation to a whole new level.
- New Calypso content. Streamlined workflow and improved value chain are benefits for every tramada agency using Calypso for hotel, car and tour content.
- tramada GDS App and Offline Automation together deliver huge increases in efficiencies through robotic-powered workflows and integration with the GDS native screens – helping tramada manage the core of the travel booking, saving time and increasing accuracy.
- iSOS. This integration provides essential duty of care and assistance to keep travellers safe at all times.
Rapid change = opportunity
Research reported recently in The Australian found that nearly 9 out of 10 companies around the world believe that within the next few years, their business will be impacted by an unexpected innovation that will significantly impact a product or process in their market. Yet less than half of respondents said they are ready for the rapid changes that innovation may herald.
There are, however, travel technologies we can see coming. AI, for example, is already changing value chains by collecting, organising and matching content to customers and potential customers more effectively while also automating processes and reducing administrative tasks.
Augmented and Virtual Reality (AR/VR) promise to transform the way content is experienced and dramatically alter how travellers interact with the real world, using their smartphone or smart glasses as their gateway and guide. A great example of this is how airlines are showcasing the features of their cabins using this technology.
The age of Blockchain is upon us, and organisations across the travel sector are already experimenting with the technology with a view to building better networks, improving transparency, cutting costs, and developing next-generation travel solutions.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is beginning to streamline the operations of the hotels, airlines and other travel organisations by connecting complex systems and processes to smart devices, thereby improving operational efficiency and enhancing the traveller’s personalised experience.
And this is just the tip of the iceberg, but whatever awaits us in technology and innovation, and the speed at which they impact the travel industry, three things are certain:
- We’ll see exponential growth in the number of influential new technologies that promise to revolutionise how agencies conduct business.
- The travel business landscape will continue to undergo rapid change; indeed, it will shift ever faster, year after year.
- Tramada Systems will continue to stay abreast of emerging and existing travel technologies, and partner with best-of-breed innovators to future-proof the tramada platform. This will not only open up new opportunities, but also enable clients to focus on their core business – selling travel-related services – instead of being bogged down with technology.
 “Power can be fleeting in the age of digital disruption”, The Australian in association with Accenture Strategy https://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/technology/thriving-on-disruption-key-to-transforming-businesses/news-story/e909c7d5ff48c04e15fa6d3811f0723a