Opinions: 

Travel Tech

Disruption in travel continues to happen at an accelerated pace. The tourism industry has a tendency to lead in the introduction of tools, new platforms, interactions and cultural shifts. It’s increasingly clear that the future is not headed in one but many disparate directions. Whether people are involved in such prominent fields as academia, healthcare or tourism itself, there is a constant examination of the field of technology.

People are asking what is forcing businesses to continually evolve, and additionally assessing what methods are effective in this environment. The only thing that’s predictable in the contemporary commercial marketplace is that things will be unpredictable and uncertain. Myriad factors contribute to this, and breaking this down into a manageable solution is essential for all startups.

Tnooz and the Travel Startup Industry

Nowhere is this more true than in the travel industry. And thus the company Tnooz has become increasingly important to those seeking travel insight. Tnooz is at the forefront of covering the travel startup industry, with news and analysis about travel technology, that examines marketing, systems, devices, distribution, social media and startups, among other important topics. Simply examining the pages of the Tnooz website succinctly underlines the rapid pace of evolution in travel-related technology.

This environment is ensuring that businesses need to be niftier, more flexible, lighter on their feet. In the past, companies would often find a niche, richly exploit it, and have a fixed game plan that it could rely on for at least a quarter. Now technology and related industries are moving so fast, and the barriers to entry are so low, that ideas can come out of the woodwork from anywhere. And startup companies can even beat huge corporations with far more resources.

Thus, every business, no matter whether just established or possessing a lengthy history, needs to make up-to-date decisions every week and move forward with small but perpetual adjustments to their core processes and ethos. Companies are continually having to be ahead of the technological game, persistently floating new ideas and solutions, and being always open-minded with regard to a multitude of ways of improvising and innovating.

However, the big challenge for startups today is that there are so many choices, and no single right decision. And if you do make the right decision it can turn on a dime. What is fascinating in this environment is observing how many innovators out there are beginning to explore new solutions. Disruption keeps an industry on its toes and hopefully ensures those relying on the status quo evolve to meet new challenges and opportunities for users and partners alike. But the problem with the travel industry is that it isn’t particularly easy to gain a reasonable foothold to the extent that people elsewhere sit up and pay attention.

Picking the Right Solution

Where many travel startups fail is when they consider “what is missing in the world”, often basing an entire business on a personal experience they had when travelling. But this personal insight does not necessarily mean there is a problem that requires “fixing” which can achieve some semblance of scale. A depressing number of startups often seem to have no grasp whatsoever of the problems that they will inevitably face. Thus, the stunningly high failure rate of new businesses in travel becomes more understandable.

To prevent failure in travel startups there should be a process defined from day one in order to keep the feet of the business firmly on the ground. Too much ambition far too quickly can be as damaging as failing to satisfactorily define the goals and modus operandi of a company. Doing a small number of core things well should be a overarching ethos of all travel startups.

Another aspect of  travel startups is that they are often engineer-dominated. Engineers tend to focus on the practical rather than a panoramic vision, so travel-related businesses consequently have a tendency to be a bit less bold than perhaps they should. True disruption requires change at the infrastructure layer of the travel industry – a tough, long-term, commitment that is perhaps beyond the resources of most startups.

Without solid foundations, a disruptive travel startup will look great for a day, but won’t last for a year. When such businesses encounter problems related to scale, many of which often need a quick solution, there won’t be any easy answers. Sadly, while travel startups are often strongly incentivised to strive for innovation rather than building industry transforming infrastructure, this situation is likely to continue.

Standing out from the Crowd

The lesson to really take from all this is that when you enter a world that’s connected, globalised and full of competition, it ultimately becomes very hard to set yourself apart. This is, of course, essential to any successful business or brand, particularly in the vastly competitive contemporary marketplace. What all travel startups should bear in mind is that standing out from the crowd will be their number one path to success. And this involves a diligent understand of all the pitfalls of being a travel startup, and implementing strategies to neatly sidestep them.

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