Innovation right now, unfortunately, and customer experience, are looked upon as cost centers when in fact they are investments in the future.
Quote from Brian Solis, principal analyst and futurist at Altimeter, in an article on PhocusWire this week.
Reimagining customer experience, part 2: Brian Solis on iteration vs. innovation
Solis trades on his ability to inspire ideas and identify where and when brands or, indeed, entire industries need to think about the future.
He's good at it, too.
His remarks this week about the travel, tourism and hospitality sector make a lot of sense - in fact, it's hard to argue against any of his observations or recommendations.
This is, lest the industry forgets, an industry that is based on providing excellent (well, at least not poor) experiences - leisure or business. In fact, some would argue that travel it is the most experiential thing that people on a fairly regular basis.
Solis's assertion that innovation and customer experience are considered mostly as items to have on a corporate strategy document does carry some weight.
Many would argue that most claims of "innovation" are actually just descriptions of projects or ideas that are far from being "innovative" and simply good development work, or new features.
Innovation is a useful catch-all term for thinking outside of the usual parameters of day-to-day operations, rather than completely "out of the box".
But it is those small elements that, over time, do often contribute to improvements in the overall customer experience provided by travel brands.
Perhaps, in fact, as a society and as travelers, we are too demanding and impatient with those we charge with ensuring we have an excellent trip.
It's a rhetorical question, as no-one really knows the answer.
What the industry must continue to try doing (and its customers try to accept that progress is being made, perhaps slowly), is push the boundaries of what technology can do to improve the customer experience... not technology for the technology's sake, but for genuinely useful reasons.