Travel is moving closer to the light at the end of the tunnel as parts of the world begin to emerge from the pandemic. Travelers are coming back. But their behaviors, expectations, and values are very different. How can travel companies meet travelers where they are to start getting back to growth?
They need to evolve their operations to power the business by combining leading digital technologies, processes and people in a data-driven operating model. They need to drive improvements in the travel experience without increasing costs—delivering more with less. It’s a new level of insight and flexibility that transforms the cost structure and makes the best use of a leaner workforce.
Organizations at the highest level of the journey to intelligent operations maturity have the data, tools, organization structure, and agility to quickly implement transformational initiatives now and into the future. They are called future-ready. However, just 7% of companies across industries that we surveyed describe this as their current state.
Travel companies have made progress in their transformation, but there’s still a long way to go. To make bold moves to meet new travelers’ expectations —and outwit still-uncertain market climates, travel players need to improve their operations to become future-ready.
Our conversations with industry experts signal that travel companies are ready to make bold moves.
It’s time to reinvent the way travel does business
Watch this brief video to get an overview of the journey to intelligent travel operations, and learn what bold digital transformation can mean for your business.
Fast-Track to Travel Intelligent Operations | Accenture
Our analysis shows that organizations with future-ready operations are leaders in efficiency, profitability, resilience and agility. They also benefit from an improved talent mix, reskilling, customer experience and ecosystem relationships.
Future-ready businesses have higher corporate profitability than other organizations.
Future-ready enterprises benefit from higher efficiency.
Aspiration is not actuality...yet
Despite past and present challenges, there is optimism in the travel industry that solid progress in operational maturity will match high ambitions for becoming future-ready.
Three years ago, no travel organization described itself as future-ready. Just 20% were predictive, and the majority (64%) say they had efficient operating models.
Today, 6% of travel organizations call their operations future-ready, and most (58%) now believe that they have predictive operations.
What’s compelling is that ambitions are high in the travel business. By 2023, a full 30% of travel industry organizations expect to be future-ready.
This optimism exists despite the fact that we conducted this survey in 2020 when the industry was in pure survival mode. Responses to our interviews with industry experts make it clear how much of a wake-up call the pandemic was for profound operational transformation in travel. Moving forward, traditional travel companies will need to evolve their operations by taking a categorically different approach.
Operations transformation is on the move in travel, but there is a large gap between the current state and aspirations for future-readiness:
The journey back to growth
As the industry opens back up, experience is a touchstone. Operations must accommodate post-pandemic travelers and the ways they have changed—from their concern for health and safety to the blurring of leisure and business travel. In fact, 7 in 10 consumers believe that their ways of travel will experience permanent change post pandemic.
Building a strategy in rapidly changing environment is not easy. It means that travel companies will need to be able to react quickly with their products and operations as the market continues to evolve. But, by making bold moves to make the most of intelligent operations, travel players will be ready for anything that comes next.
Our research reveals the strengths that travel companies can build on and the weaknesses that they have to address to make the most of intelligent operations. The research also points to three fundamentals that travel organizations must know to accelerate the move towards a future-ready state:
01. Know the ultimate goal
Leaders must be bold and commit to making data-driven decisions with better data, and to automating decisions and tasks as algorithms prove accurate.
02. Build an actionable plan
Collaborate across business and technology, automate at scale to augment human talent, invest in AI, and scale cloud investments.
03. Leapfrog maturity levels
Build technology ecosystem relationships with proven partners to help accelerate and streamline digital transformation.
Now it’s time for creative pragmatism
Travel companies have aggressive ambitions to evolve their operations to deliver the kind of experiences that can lead them back to growth—at the right cost. They should lay out specific ground rules, avoiding getting stuck on what can’t be done and doubling down on what can be done, and move through key actions from there:
Think big—and be bold
Commit to making data-driven decisions with better data
Collaborate across business and technology
Automate at scale to augment human talent
Invest in AI to get ahead of change
Scale cloud investments
Build technology ecosystem relationships
By being creative and pragmatic, travel players are up for the challenges ahead. Because after all, travel isn’t only about the destination. It’s about the journey.
As demand returns post-pandemic, travel companies must scale for more guests and passengers. Get the tools and insights you need to deliver a better customer and employee experience, and do it all while minimizing the return of cost.
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