Last week my family attended a funeral service for my father-in-law at Arlington National Cemetery. He had a great life, and passed peacefully at the age of 91. He was a highly decorated Navy pilot in WWII. To honor him, the Navy sent a jet squadron to fly over us during the burial service. There are a lot of heroes in our armed services. I’m proud to have known one of them.
My non-compete with TRX expired on Monday, five years after I sold Travel Analytics. This week I’ve been thinking about heroes in our industry. Who might I want to work with? Which firms are working hard to solve the worthy problems? By heroes, let’s talk about companies, not people. So – where are the heroes in corporate travel? Let me think for a while. Hmmm….
OK, that didn’t take long. My answer, like it or not, is that there aren’t many. Too critical? Ask yourself what major improvements – game-changers – we’ve seen in the last five years. I’m drawing a blank – other than my all-time favorite TripIt, but it didn’t begin as a corporate travel tool.
Think about the major segments of our industry – TMCs, OBTs, airlines, hotels, rental cars, GDSs, credit cards, expense reporting, data reporting, consultancies. What player, in any of these segments, has seized the high ground on the critical fronts of fundamental innovation, high growth and stellar customer satisfaction?
Not that it’s an easy hat trick, but heroes don’t do easy.
Where are the Apples, the Googles, the Amazons of the business travel industry?
More importantly, which firms have a chance to be our industry’s heroes five years from now?