In brief

In brief

  • Operations transformation is on the move in travel, but there is a large gap between the current state and aspirations for future-readiness.
  • Today, 6% of travel organizations call their operations future-ready, while 58% believe that they have some predictive operations capabilities today.
  • To achieve aggressive ambitions and get back to growth, travel companies must break the mold of “how operations are done” with creative pragmatism.
  • There are three fundamentals that travel organizations must know to accelerate the change and become future-ready operations.

What does it take to be future-ready for travel?

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

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Big advantages to being future-ready

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:

Chart showing percentage of travel organizations reaching each operational maturity level 3 years ago, today and 3 years in the future (expected)..

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.

Knowledge is power

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.

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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.

Scott Davidson

Managing Director – Accenture Strategy & Consulting, Travel

Roshan Patel

Managing Director – Intelligent Operations Lead, Travel


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