TTE 2012: Travel suffering from “chronic lack of innovation”

TTE 2012: Travel suffering from “chronic lack of innovation”

Dynamic packaging has made travel companies lazy when it comes to innovation, a Travel Technology Europe session heard yesterday.

Speaking at the Travolution Question Time debate, managing director Matt Cheevers said there had been no real innovation in travel in the last five or six years.

“There’s a chronic lack of innovation in the travel industry and that’s been going on for five or six years now.

“The market has been driven by dynamic packaging. Dynamic packaging has made travel companies lazy because it puts the onus on customers to come up with what they want.

“Price is more important than ever and results for businesses are more important than ever. I think people have become lazy, people have stopped innovating and decided to go for short term wins rather than investing in new ways of doing things which often take longer to come to fruition.”

However, Cheevers said the emergence of flash sale sites was prompting travel firms to be more imaginative with their offers.

“These are forcing companies to package up deals and offer added extras. We are having to think again and be more creative.”

On Holiday Group chief executive Steve Endacott claimed there had been innovation in the shape of budget carriers and the decline of brochures.

However, he said some resorts were guilty of falling behind their city counterparts when it came to updating their product.

The panel agreed that travel firms need to build customer loyalty rather than spending money on Google to constantly acquire new clients.

Jonathan Greensted, business development director of Zolv, said travel firms needed to build relationships with customers rather than having “one night stands”.

“We should only be paying Google to get a customer once. We should be investing in keeping the customer.”

Carsten Kraus, founder of search technology provider Fact Finder, predicted consumers will be seeking more inspiration from their travel searches.

“I think the catalogue will come back, not in print but on iPads. People will be able to sit on the couch and flick through pages and look at proper pictures again.”

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