Great points in this article from Padraic Gilligan.
As I reflect on it… In the digital age, “human” is more important than ever. Companies that understand technology but do not lose sight of human connection and experience will win.
If we look to other markets that have been disrupted by digital evolution. We can get some clarity and perhaps an inspiration for change.
I like the example of tv streaming services. Many in broadcast saw them as upstarts ruining their paradigm. Slowly broadcasters were forced to capitulate and then the entire television market slowly shifted away from traditional transmission methods towards the digital streaming system. In time we will all recognise that it was the delivery of the broadcasting that changed not the concept of broadcasting television. The shift that is occurring is away from traditional RF and cable transmission, to 1s and 0s down fibre optics.
For traditional broadcasters to compete with the “upstarts”, they are forced to adapt their transmission methods and then provide better content. In the words of Scott and Alison Stratton “Everything has changed and nothing is different”.
Similarly, DMCs need to acknowledge that their traditional role as booking agents and logistics managers has been disrupted. Those who are dependant on that role for income need to adapt. Evolving both their activities and financial models. They need to focus more on designing the human experience. A task that an internet search engine and aggregation system are not good at, at this time. Computers struggle to understand how to affect change in human emotion. Sure, it can make a restaurant reservation or book a hotel room. But, a computer has no idea how to design an experience that can change a person’s state of mind. It can analyse data on why people quit their jobs. But, it struggles to tailor an experience that steers someone disgruntled towards being inspired and an advocate for their organisation.
DMCs need to accept that their revenues from managing logistics and payment methods will continue to be eroded. The good news is technology will allow them to become more efficient at managing those functions. Helping them to keep some margin in those revenue streams. But that won’t be enough. All DMCs must invest more in their systems and people. Empowering them to become experience designers and instigator of behaviour change. They need to understand human behaviour as much, or more, than how much it costs to take 200 people from an airport to a resort. Instead of being the holders of the clipboard and wallet as a primary value proposition, clients will ask them “how much can we motivate our attendees on the bus ride?” Or “how will this bus ride set up the experience for the rest of the weekend?”
Similarly, DMOs will be forced to find new metrics to represent their success. The ol’ winning because of number of room nights will shift to “top 5 Fortune 500 companies stated a 150% increase in employee engagement after their incentive trip to our city” or “our city featured incentive trips and conference by the top ‘5 best companies to work for’ list organisations”
If everything has changed and nothing is different. The only option DMCs and DMOs have is to look inwards and onwards. They need to find the next evolution in their market. How will they represent value to their client base? How will they find a new client base with human-centric goals? How will they articulate their contribution and measure their success? It’s not their customer’s job to lead them into the new future. DMCs and DMOs must be bold, vulnerable and ready to embrace change. Leading themselves and their industry towards a brighter human-centric future.
Take some time and let me know what your reflection on this topic is…?