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Innovation and change have always been driving factors in the evolution of travel, but now it’s happening at a much more accelerated pace. It seems we no longer track industry changes by looking at the calendar, but instead by looking at our watches.

The travel industry continues to face mounting pressures to improve productivity, reduce costs and increase the bottom line, all while delivering superior service and the optimal traveler experience. So now more than ever there is a sense that the industry must continue to innovate and transform how it does business and serve travelers.

Across many industries the word “innovation” is being tagged alongside terms such as velocity, agility, enablement, ecosystem, leadership, opportunity, return on investment and others. Discussions and initiatives abound about innovation – how to master it, how to leverage it, how to achieve business growth because of it, and all while doing it ahead of consumer demands and faster and better than the competition.

For travel brands looking to innovate, here are the key concepts to embrace:

Innovate to serve your customer’s needs
Innovation must be about delivering new, creative ways to add value for customers. Determining and offering the right travel experience first starts with understanding the traveler and then ultimately delivering on their expectations. And keeping customers happy and fulfilling their expectations will be more difficult but more important than ever moving forward.

Don’t fight new technology
“Historically travel has been slower to adopt technology and I think what’s been fantastic over the last few years is that that pace has increased and changed,“ says to James Filsinger, CEO of Yapta (in a video interview below).

New technology is playing a key role in helping discover, define and differentiate value that is delivered to customers. Technology solutions should enable business goals to be easily, efficiently and economically achieved while helping deliver outstanding customer outcomes. More than simply delivering a trip itinerary, innovative technology will be about enabling a true travel experience.

Balance today’s needs with tomorrow’s promise

Innovation doesn’t just happen. It requires sustained focus, commitment, time and resources. The ongoing dilemma will be how to optimally run a business today while planning for what is needed tomorrow. Companies will need to find the balance between the stable operations, processes, customer service involved in running their business today and carving out the time resources energy and investment to pursue the next horizon. To achieve success, innovation will need to be part of a company’s culture and change an anticipated and accepted part of the landscape.

Hervé Couturier, head of R&D for Amadeus, sums up the significance of true innovation: “The word innovation is used liberally these days. It seems there is always a new company, product or individual which is today’s (often self-celebrated) latest and greatest innovator – someone, or something, that is seemingly “breaking the mold.” But it is entirely different altogether to genuinely ‘innovate.’ But when it’s done properly, the results can be extraordinary. Personally, I actually believe very strongly that genuine innovation is key to survival; there is simply no other way.”

This content is created collaboratively in partnership with our sponsor Amadeus.