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The Travel Innovation Summit Workshops Center Stage at The PhoCusWright Conference Center Stage at The PhoCusWright Conference

The 2012 PhoCusWright Conference takes place at:
The Westin Kierland
Scottsdale/Phoenix, Arizona USA


Join us November 19 - 21, 2013 at The Westin Diplomat, Ft. Lauderdale/Miami, Florida USA.

Pivot Point

To pivot, or not to pivot, that is the question

The theme for the 2012 PhoCusWright Conference recognizes the extraordinary transformation that has gripped the travel, tourism and hospitality industry. Now at the "Pivot Point," travel companies must position themselves wisely for the future. Is a tweak sufficient, or is it time to pivot a piece of your business?

When technological change in the marketplace causes the pot to boil over (or at least bubble at the brim), organizations are compelled to consider all options, including major strategic shifts. In the face of dramatic developments, companies need to evaluate whether their current skills and assets can adequately deliver what their customers want. Do they still provide the products and services that matter most? No excuses or denial; it's time for a cold hard look in the mirror, warts and all.

Pivoting is such sweet sorrow

The call to pivot knows no boundaries, and applies equally to daring upstarts and media darlings, local players and global powerhouses. Today's climate demands that all travel companies boldly answer, and acknowledge that the right answer may mean trading short-term predictability for down-the-road potential. Recent PhoCusWright Conference themes – Braving the Long Tail, Chaos Calls and Travel Unleashed – have accurately charted the treacherous path along which the world's largest industry has traveled. From hype to hope to happen, the travel industry has been jolted by dizzying advances in technology, voracious appetites for mobile and social, bold new business models, and threats around every corner. In the context of this transformed marketplace, the pain of embarking on a major strategy shift may pale in comparison to the cost of not pivoting.

The forces that precipitated Pivot Point are intertwined and unavoidable. Travelers are moving beyond the device and platform, and increasingly seek a seamless experience in which their information and preferences find them wherever they are and however they choose to connect. For travel companies, the obvious areas of growth are gone, and what's left is being fiercely contested by a new crop of competitors, both from within and outside the industry. Still, great pockets of opportunity remain, for those properly positioned to tap them.

Cowards die many times before their deaths

Kodak, a name synonymous with film in the 1970s, was so confident in its brand and marketing that it failed to make the big next bet when digital photography came along. Unlike its rival Fujifilm (which pivoted nimbly by establishing new lines of business), Kodak chose to ignore the warning signs. Is it too late for RIM (makers of BlackBerry smartphones) to pivot? Did Netflix pivot too soon?

The call for realignment grows increasingly urgent. Will staying the course suffice, provided it's done with forethought and renewed vigor? Or perhaps nothing short of a full pivot will do? Whatever the path, hang on; Pivot Point is now, and it's going to be a wild ride.

Check out the Fast Company Pivot Series for articles and videos of current pivots.

Need to make a pivot now? Check out our travel research and know where change is going to happen next.