A three-way battle of wills between those who refuse to believe change is taking place, those who are evolving somewhat reluctantly and those who want to overturn those who control the market.
Quote from Bill Carroll, independent analyst for Phocuswright and PhD, in an article on PhocusWire this week.
Microsoft’s manifesto on corporate travel – a not so fast revolution
Business travel has more complexities to it as a sector than probably any other line of business in the travel, tourism and hospitality industry.
This is due to a number of factors, not least because it involves so many of the other elements from the industry within it - flights, hotels, airports and ground transportation - coupled with duty of care issues and distribution.
Bill Carroll's analysis of the recent, grandly titled "manifesto" from Microsoft illustrates both the ambition of what many believe should take place in corporate travel and the challenges that will continue to hinder such progress.
The three-way battle taking place in that sector is like many others that are being fought elsewhere in the industry: those holding the reins of the status quo; those seeing that progress is required but are torn between the old and the new; and those often blindly (but credibly) forging ahead with their own agenda and hoping everyone else will come along for the ride.
But what is often missing from this trifecta of strategies and motivations is a fourth element - a part that is often overlooked and turns this triangle into a square.
The fourth corner contains travelers themselves, whether they are execs or leisure trippers, or some of the many other genres of customer.
Sure, plenty of the initiatives or wider shifts in the models taking place in the industry would claim to have the backing of customers - but these, one suspects, would often be based on a series of assumptions.
This, therefore, does beg the obvious question around whether the industry is often pushing forward (or backward, or in a side-way fashion) without truly understanding what customers want.
Such tunnel-visioned approaches to change could actually yield far better results or the implementation strategies if more care and attention was genuinely paid to what the end-user really requires to help them travel from A to B, or improve their hotel stay.
Such research and subsequent analysis of market could save a lot of time and effort (and, ultimately, money) by travel brands big or small, established or nascent.
Perhaps then the three-way battles noted above would then evolve into a two-way collaboration, rather than internal industry conflict, simply between users and providers of services.