Destination Digitalization

The travel and hospitality industry is almost entirely focused on delivering stellar customer experiences (CX). This underpins existing progress around digital transformation in sales and marketing. Overall, this means the hospitality industry is vision-driven with its approach to digital transformation.

For hospitality firms who reside outside the vision-driven quadrant, our data highlights critical vulnerabilities. These areas of weakness mainly concern companies failing to digitally transform the operational value chain.

For travel and hospitality firms who do invest in digitalization, the potential benefits are immense. Those who are yet to digitalize their wider operations can replicate existing digitalization in sales and marketing to fast-track their approach. This will be necessary considering the immense pressure on hospitality firms around top CX delivery. In summary, digitalization can unlock higher profits and help travel and hospitality firms to retain customers, namely through automation and subsequent increases in service delivery velocity.

>Digital Transformation in a Highly Competitive Market

Top Concerns for CEOs in the Travel and Hospitality Industry

Here are the top six concerns CEOs in the travel and hospitality industry must contend with and adapt to in the digital era:

Connecting Target Audiences

Connecting Target Audiences

Consumers are adopting digital lifestyles, and this means they expect the capability for digital bookings in addition to other digital enhancements to the customer experience (CX).

Digital Disruptors

Digital Disruptors

New competition from disruptors like DoorDash, GrubHub, and other digital-first companies is breaking the status quo and forcing incumbents to adapt. This follows an increase in online hospitality sales such as with food and make-at-home experiences, leading to change in distribution chains.

Interconnected Experiences

Interconnected Experiences

Integrable application programming interfaces (APIs) are in high demand as customers prefer to manage their digital lifestyles with minimal fuss. Hospitality customers in particular desire interconnected experiences, such as booking tables, tickets to events, or access to public transit through a single centralized gateway — or preferably as a configured package.

Data Protection

Data Protection

Consumers across all industries are increasingly concerned about cybersecurity and data protection. For businesses, they must learn to leverage this data while upholding and respecting the privacy of their customers. A better CX cannot come at the expense of exposing personally identifiable information (PII) or data security breaches.

Fluctuating Prices

Fluctuating Prices

Prices can vary widely depending on locality and the time of year. This leads to different customers in different locations getting a different deal through data-driven demographic analysis. Hospitality is more immune to price increases than most industries, however, as the CX takes center stage. If the CX falters, the hospitality firm is at risk regardless of the price it charges customers.

Interative Experiences

Interative Experiences

Digital leaders have begun delivering quality-driven, digitalized, and interactive hospitality experiences which legacy competitors are struggling to match. This highlights a critical need for incumbents to begin thinking about and implementing a digital transformation roadmap.

The Most Successful Digital Transformations Are Powered by Analytics Capabilities

Our benchmarking services are powered by over 1.5 million data points in addition to our primary research and data collection capabilities. With access to leaders across more than 40,000 companies in various size segments, industries, and geographic locations, we can quickly gather additional data to address how your business is performing against the competition.

A graph showing which industries are investing the most in digitalization.

Source: Trasers

Data analyzed in this report comes from 4,000+ responses. For the travel and hospitality industry, data from 269 companies have been used.

Our travel and hospitality industry experts can offer insights into the following sectors:

  • Tourism

  • Lodging and Boarding

  • Catering and Restaurant Management

  • Airlines and Cruises

  • Gambling

  • And More


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Changing Consumer Lifestyles in Travel and Hospitality

The hospitality industry is sensitive to shifts in consumer lifestyles. Seafood restaurants are at the mercy of wider social discussions around sustainable agriculture, such as with the recent Seaspiracy documentary that prompted many consumers to stop eating fish.

Hotels and other accommodation types are reliant on painting a “perfect picture” in their online adverts, but this perfect picture can transform in a flash for consumers. Hotels will see more sustained impact through influencer coverage, where trust among follower bases can drive a sudden and unexpected influx of business, or an exodus if the coverage is bad.

Recreational hospitality is also reliant on current consumer sentiment, with the COVID-19 pandemic leaving a lasting impact on trust and safety perceptions. Movie theaters are struggling to get people through the doors, partially due to safety concerns, but more worryingly due to large partnerships between streaming services and Hollywood creative companies. This means consumers can get similar experiences at home, with most choosing to follow “the path of least resistance” rather than travel outside of their homes for an experience. Sports venues, zoos, museums, and amusement parks are also heavily impacted.

Only 7% of Companies Are Delivering on Their Transformational Initiatives

Our research has shown that 30% of companies will fail to survive this decade due to an inability to evolve digitally. To address this negative trend, we have developed the Digital Enterprise Evolution Model™ (DEEM).

Digital Enterprise Evolution Model™

An image showing the stages of analytics capability evolution.

Copyright © 2021 Trianz

DEEM allows our clients to recognize digital evolution patterns, implement benchmarking and prioritization strategies, and initiate application management protocols to satisfy stakeholder and market requirements.

Cutting Out the Middleperson in Travel and Hospitality

The travel and hospitality industry is an excellent example of middlepersons sitting in the middle of the value chain. These middlepersons manage transactions and relationships, providing systems and services to offload work from hospitality firms. Commission does mean that the use of these intermediaries will eat into the profit margins of hospitality businesses — unless they invest in creating and managing their own self-hosted digital solutions. This presents an opportunity to adopt a direct-to-consumer (D2C) business model, eliminating the intermediary, and constructing a digitalized platform to deliver the hospitality product-service portfolio.

The cloud will play a large part in this, enabling data collection and analysis on a large scale. Hospitality firms can use this data during the acquisition phase to perform real-time analytics, generating insights that will improve customer experiences (CX). Digitalized competition through dynamic pricing and “flash sales” is increasingly widespread, and functions to convince “on the fence” customers to follow through on a sale by adjusting the value proposition in real time. The next wave of digitalization will extend visibility and increase customer engagement during the acquisition phase, leading to greater trust and confidence among consumers.

Leveraging Technology Across the Entire Hospitality Service Value Chain

Technological advancement presents a huge opportunity to overhaul and digitalize the entire service value chain for hospitality businesses. Industry players should look to introduce applications and services that seamlessly integrate with their customers’ digital lifestyles.

Take restaurants as an example. After reserving a table using digital platforms, upon arrival customers fall back into non-digitalized, manual processes. Businesses must seek to digitally transform these processes, enabling low-contact or zero-contact service provision through interconnected consumer-business app ecosystems. This will improve efficiency and reduce costs across the entire product-service portfolio.

Digital-first hospitality businesses are free from the dead weight of aging technologies and processes, enabling data-driven and digitalized service provisions that focus heavily on a great customer experience (CX). Hospitality incumbents must catch up and innovate to maintain pace, or else risk falling behind the pack.

Vision-Driven Hospitality is the Future of the Industry

Despite ranking highly overall for digitalization, many companies in the travel and hospitality industry are still outside the vision-driven quadrant when it comes to digital transformation. This lack of urgency is creating a digital faultline, which separates the leaders from the laggards.

Travel and hospitality firms must engage and begin transforming their product-service portfolios and business operations for the digital era. This will involve an end-to-end digitalization plan in addition to a standard of excellence in execution.

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Trianz enables digital transformations through effective strategies and excellence in execution. Collaborating with business and technology leaders, we help formulate and execute operational strategies to achieve intended business outcomes by bringing the best of consulting, technology experiences and execution models.

Powered by knowledge, research, and perspectives, we enable clients to transform their business ecosystems and achieve superior performance by leveraging infrastructure, cloud, analytics, digital and security paradigms. Reach out to get in touch or learn more.


State of Digital Transformation
Worldwide 2020 Report

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