Your performance is a disgrace, business expert tells travel

The travel sector’s performance is “disgraceful”, a consultant told the t-Retailing Summit in Dublin.

Tristan Gadsby, chief executive of consultancy Alliants, claimed travel firms could double their businesses in a short space of time by making some fundamental changes to how they operate.

He cited a number of indicators which suggested how poorly travel firms were performing. The Interbrand top 100 list featured no travel companies, he said; the Fast Company 50 Most-Innovative list contained only two (airbnb and Russian hotel booking website Oktogo.ru); while the Fortune Most-Admired Companies list featured three travel brands in the top 50 (Southwest, Marriott and Singapore Airlines).

“As travel businesses we are doing rubbish; it’s a disgrace how badly travel businesses are performing,” said Gadsby.

“Travel is a passion for most people: they love to travel; they love to tell you travel stories. And yet this is how we are performing. It does not have to be like this.”

Gadsby said travel firms should copy Tesco’s approach. He said the supermarket giant assessed its performance on the key metric of how much share of wallet it was able to extract from customers. For this reason it expanded into toys, CDs, clothes and electrical appliances, resulting in it receiving 9p in every pound spent in the UK.The grocery market in total accounts for 17p in every pound, while travel is 4p.

“Tesco thought ‘I have a consumer that shops with me all the time, so what other categories can I sell to that customer?’,” said Gadsby.

“In travel, we should actually be thinking about that total spend and how we are going to inspire people to spend that with us.”

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