As a first timer at WTM, I thought I was prepared for the dazzling paraphernalia that travel fraternity puts up every year. I was wrong. The pomp and grandeur was fun of course but what impressed me the most was the diversity of business models, new ventures and ideas from across the travel domain. Those who say that innovation in travel domain is dead really don’t know what they are talking about. I met hundreds of people who are passionate about the industry and are rising above economic uncertainties to create innovative offerings that bring value to customers.
From suppliers to tour companies, from OTA’s to business travel and from niche tourism to responsible tourism, travel fraternity has never been as diverse as this.
As a travel technology exhibitor, I was amazed to know that the expectation of these new businesses from technology was more fundamental than I thought. Great ideas in travel do not require an elaborate technology platform that is powered by “rocket science”. What is needed is a platform that is reliable, simple and relevant to doing everyday business. It needs to have fundamental building blocks which can be rearranged to support an innovative travel business idea.
This brings to mind the elegant simplicity of a Rubik’s cube. I realized that whether the need was to sell corporate sailing charters or to sell travel around an event, the technology platform needs to have the simple flexibility of changing gears to implement this great new idea that is selling travel online.
Back home the first thing that I did was to build this fundamental flexibility in my technology product so that the same travel technology enables launching and running diverse innovative travel businesses.
WTM 2012? I do remember the fabulous parties, but the real take home was this- there is never before innovation in the travel domain, and the technology that succeeds needs to be simple and flexible.
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