The travel industry is a great place be in as an employee, a business leader or as an entrepreneur.
But on the flip-side there are a few aspects that get under my skin and agitate me sufficiently to want to write about them. Think of this as counselling but on a web scale.
1. National travel industry awards make no sense for travel technology companies.
In the UK we have industry awards nearly every month. Not only does this devalue them but I don't actually know what any of them stand for anymore. Which ones are worth winning?
Then there is the country issue. Take our reservation and distribution system for example.
We are based in UK, have a tour operator client in country B, selling country C, mainly targeting travellers from country D. Which national awards are going to care about that?
For us and many others trading online this industry is now so global that national awards (that mainly exclude global players) don't cut the mustard.
Perhaps I am just bitter having not won anything for a while :)
2. Social media - yes but no.
I love social media but, travel industry conference organisers and consultants, please leave some space in the programme for other topics. I know from first hand experience that the emphasis on social media is causing issues at the coal face.
There are so many aspects that must be completed BEFORE you become active on social media yet no one talks about that any more. No point learning how to speak if you have got nothing to talk about.
For example there is still so much opportunity and lack of wide understanding around product description usability, image choice etc.
These are skills that should be taught and presented at travel industry conferences alongside other fundamental topics. When was the last time you saw a picture editor speak at a travel industry conference?
3. Tribal events
There are *so* many travel industry events that there is even a website that tries to keep track of them all. Good luck with that!
However they are all so tribal. One problem with tribal events is that people end up reinforcing previously held views.
As an example take a newspaper (printed version) - you read it sequentially and are therefore exposed to stories and insight you wouldn't have previously thought about reading.
With online news you see a headline and click to read that story. Presumably you are interested in that news. You won't click on news stories you are not interested in.
Over time this narrows your interest and reinforces your existing views. Just like going to the same old tribal travel industry events all the time.
The other issue, as a delegate, is if you go to events you know and listen to speakers you have heard before, you come away having learnt very little. Go to something fresh and completely different and you will be surprised what you can learn.
4. People who scoff at Twitter.
It agitates me when people say that Twitter is trivial, banal etc. In my view Twitter is the Number One networking opportunity open to the entire, globally distributed and extremely diverse, travel industry.
Play by the right rules (ha, you have to learn them!) and you can be networking and engaging with travel CEOs, journalists, travel guide writers, startup founders, lawyers etc.
Okay, maybe everyone active on twitter is selling "something" but pick who you follow carefully and you can learn a great deal about a whole bunch of topics.
Take responsibility for your own learning. Yes you.
5. PCI compliance.
Redshift Research did a survey back in March that indicated that only 11% of UK businesses are PCI compliant.
What agitates me about PCI compliance (the safe storage of credit card details) is that some travel businesses (very large ones) are openly flouting PCI compliance rules. Examples include:
- Card details being faxed all over the place within the hotel industry (it is money that should flow, not the card details)
- Details collected online for offline processing (confusing bank risk models in the process).
Who is policing these issues? Mainly it is reservation system companies like ourselves. Problem then is that in the customers eyes when we tell them they can't do something it then becomes OUR problem not THEIR problem. Grrr... this agitates me!
So there you have it. Perhaps not my top five travel industry rants but certainly five Tnooz can publish!