Established travel companies today need to be embrace constant change in order to remain relevant. Disruption is everywhere, with small startups and big tech companies reimagining the entire travel industry across every sector.
Accenture i works with brands such as Marriott and Carnival to help them evolve as “living businesses” that focus on both digital and cultural transformation. Technology innovation will only drive enterprise growth so far, unless employees understand and align around their company’s vision to be as agile as possible in a fluid marketplace.
To accomplish that, companies need to break down the silos separating their departments, according to John Spencer, managing director, global hospitality lead at Accenture. That way, each department can share data and insights more cohesively and collectively, so everyone has a more nuanced and holistic understanding of their customers’ behaviors and shifting priorities.
The industry generally calls that personalization or customer-centric strategy. Accenture calls it “hyper-relevance.”
“Any pivot in an organization is around that hyper-relevance: What does the customer want? Are we giving them products that they need? Are we creating experiences that they desire?” said Spencer. “If we’re not doing that — [even if] we have a brand that may fill a specific niche, may generate us revenue — ultimately it won’t keep us relevant.”
Getting everyone in a large enterprise corporation to understand and appreciate the many factors influencing their customer expectations is easier said than done. It requires an aspect of vitality within a company to foster internal change effectively.
The challenge is customers today expect customized products and on-demand services in the retail, fashion, automotive, and entertainment industries, but how does that translate inside a large legacy travel company?
“They are things an organization needs to do to basically reorient its workforce, so they have all of their attention focused on the customer,” said Spencer. “It’s about finding the balance between what drives core business and how you can think differently about creating experiences.”
As an example, Accenture worked with Marriott and the 1776 tech incubator in Washington, D.C. to source new ideas for how the hotel group could drive innovation. One of the results of that, Marriott moved into the room-sharing space by partnering with Hostmaker in London.
Also, Accenture collaborated with Carnival to roll out the new Ocean Medallion program in 2018. The wearable device connects with an extensive, artificial intelligence-powered Internet of Things network onboard to offer passengers an unprecedented level of personalized experiences.