Sooho Choi, Publicis Sapient
"The demise of Thomas Cook should serve as a warning that the travel sector is not immune to digital disruption."
Quote from Sooho Choi, executive vice president and global head of travel and hospitality at Publicis Sapient, in an article on PhocusWire this week on what the industry can learn from Thomas Cook's collapse.
Each Friday, PhocusWire dissects and debates an industry trend or new development covered on our site that week.
There are many factors behind the failure of Thomas Cook - financial, obviously being the one that ultimately led to its disastrous collapse earlier this week.
Job losses will inevitably be in the thousands. Official investigations will be held as to why, perhaps, it was allowed to continue selling trips for so long with that much debt hanging around its neck.
And, of course, how senior management were able to remunerate to the degree that they did.
No official probe will dive into the strategic errors that Thomas Cook made, beginning in 2007 with the MyTravel deal and then the disastrous vanity project to become the biggest online travel agency in Europe.
Putting Thomas Cook to one side, attention in board rooms across the travel industry must now surely focus on understanding how no brand is safe from being unseated, whether its as slowly as this week's tour operating giant or within just a few years like many others.
As the industry approaches what is likely to be the next wave of massive tech-led "disruption" (that dreaded word), perhaps recent events will sharpen the minds of executives.
Airlines, hotels, car rental suppliers, even online travel agencies and other web-based travel businesses - at some point in the near future, business processes, customer expectations, environment-led issues and/or digital improvements will have an impact on the way a company is run or performs.
It seems bizarre now that, half a decade or so on, executives at Thomas Cook didn't fully understand the changes in consumer behavior that were going to impact on the business so much.
It's that arrogance of believing in your own immunity from disruption that has led to so many brands heading in the same direction as Thomas Cook. Sadly, for its workforce, it's just one of the biggest of all time.
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