Why aren’t more companies thriving in this new digital landscape, asks Publicis Sapient senior director strategy, travel & hospitality Simon Cox
At a time when the travel industry is forecast to spend $13 billion on digital advertising – more than the combined spend of consumer packaged-goods companies – banging the drum for a renewed focus on digital transformation can feel like yesterday’s news.
While the travel landscape will continue to face the ever-present challenges of disinter mediation, tightening margins and the changing needs of the digital traveller, the majority of organisations will already see a digital-first customer experience, underpinned by digital capability building, as their number one priority.
Yet when a firm like Thomas Cook collapses, many commentators were quick to point to its failure to digitally transform as the underlying reason.
If only Thomas Cook had put more focus into unlocking an omnichannel experience, building leading capabilities in technology and data, and re-tooling the organisation to drive speed and agility, it would have found the omnichannel business model that delivered passenger growth.
So, if the headline case for digital transformation has been won, why aren’t more companies thriving in this new landscape? And why does it feel like the traveller is still having to orchestrate a complex set of relationships across a wide range of interactions?
Google data shows there are 419 digital moments, 34 searches, five videos and 380 web page visits in the end-to-end passenger journey, taking place over two months on average.
How does this fragmentation and effort stack up against the promise of a seamless connected customer experience on the one hand, and businesses ‘owning’ the customer journey on the other? The truth is that painting the picture of a new travel experience in which digital adds value at every touchpoint, and a vision of a new digitally-enabled organisation, is relatively easy. Making it happen is incredibly hard.
At Publicis Sapient, we believe that in the space between next and now is how. It’s a belief that acknowledges the desire to create a vision for the future, but doesn’t stop there.
We believe the most critical factor in any transformation is a deep and unremitting focus on how.
● How you connect business and customer
● How you bring down silos and accelerate organisation readiness
● How you re-engineer existing infrastructure; and critically
● How you unlock enterprise value faster than competitors, to create sustainable competitive advantage
How fuses strategy and consulting, customer experience and engineering to understand the opportunities across the end-to-end passenger journey.
It requires an agile approach that maps the front-stage customer experience to the back-stage organisation, appreciating that a seemingly simple change to an app or web experience can be hindered by the involvement of multiple teams working to divergent goals.
And critically, it’s an approach that accelerates capability-building in an organisation to give them the tools for ongoing transformation.
It’s an approach that is unlocking business value and digitally transforming the world’s busiest airports, biggest hotel chains and most successful airlines and travel firms across the globe.