Travo Start-Up Summit: Collaboration is key to innovation that drives growth

Travo Start-Up Summit: Collaboration is key to innovation that drives growth

Travel remains an entrepreneurial sector despite the COVID impact but early-stage firms need the entire industry eco-system to support them if they are to survive future crises

by Josie Klein

Travel businesses must collaborate if they are to survive future crises, leading European travel technology giant and GDS Amadeus warned Travolution Start-Up Summit delegates.

Associate director and UK manager Clare de Bono praised the number of start-up businesses that launched amid COVID, but said they are the least likely to get through another pandemic if one were to hit.

She went on to encourage large businesses to support start-ups as a means of helping them survive as well as helping to promote economic growth.

“There are always plenty of start-ups in travel; it’s quite an entrepreneurial sector,” she said. “And we still have new companies being founded all the time which is really positive.

“But these companies are probably the least financially set up to survive a crisis like COVID, so it’s important that the ecosystem supports start-ups.

She added: “The collaboration between start-ups and large established organisations is absolutely critical – that’s where the growth comes from as an economy.

“GDP is impacted by multinational companies, absolutely, but mostly by the next up and coming start-ups that start to grow and expand.”

Nick Shay, head of travel and hospitality at Publicis Sapient, echoed de Bono’s thoughts and said collaboration is key to sparking innovation

“The industry is always about collaboration, and we work with a number of clients who previously might have said ‘we need help to build this future experience’ but are now saying ‘let’s bring the best of the industry to this problem’.

“We’ve also got one customer who is saying they don’t want the collaboration to yield a result too quickly because the answer might not have been built yet, which I find so refreshing.

“To know that the answer isn’t necessarily something found by looking back into the past but is something that may come in the future is what innovation is all about.”

Mo Shakarchi, chief product and innovation officer at Collinson, went on to emphasise willingness to make mistakes and building trust across partnerships as key drivers of innovation.

“Some of the biggest successes I have had have been born through some of the biggest failures and I’ve spent four months doing continuous trial and error when something has gone wrong, but it’s that type of mindset that drives innovation.

“And for me, if businesses don’t create that psychological trust – not just within your organisation, but across your partner ecosystem – then innovation will stifle.”