Skift Take

Most startups fail, as Anand Sanwal of CB Insights points out, and sounding pessimistic can sometimes sound smart. But big companies should ignore them at their peril because, as he says, "They're not coming for your basis points, they're coming for your commas."

The travel industry will change more in the next five years than it has in the past 50.

That’s the view of Anand Sanwal, co-Founder and CEO of CB Insights, a New York City-based venture capital and investment data firm. Sanwal spoke at the Skift Global Forum in September in New York City.

Sanwal showed attendees a quote from Hilton Worldwide CEO Chris Nassetta, who had said he “doesn’t buy” that travelers want guest experiences from platforms like Airbnb, or  that “Airbnb is serving a different kind of need. It’s a different business segment onto itself.”

Sanwal believes Nassetta and other travel companies shun disruption at their own peril. Airbnb’s valuation, after all, is currently at $30 billion and is greater than Hyatt and Marriott-Starwood combined.

“The big challenge for big companies is that they spend inordinate amounts of time worried about basis points amongst their other giant competitors,” said Sanwal. “What they start to miss is startups and other emerging business models. They’re not coming for your basis points, they’re coming for your commas.”

While there are plenty of examples of travel startups that have shaken the industry, many startups fizzle. “The end state for most startups is death,” said Sanwal. “Being pessimistic and finding all the reasons they’ll fail is 1) intellectually lazy but it does sound smart. Pessimism does sound smart.”

Watch Sanwal’s complete presentation of what the future of travel tech looks like in the following video.

Read more coverage of Skift Global Forum 2016

A PDF of the presentation is available here.

At this year’s Skift Global Forum in New York City, travel leaders from around the world gathered for two days of inspiration, information, and conversation for panels such as this as well as solo TED-like talks on the future of travel.

Visit our Skift Global Forum site for more details about 2017 events, including our London event in April of 2017.

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Tags: sgf2016, skift global forum, startups

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