Only 16% of travel and hospitality companies lack a team responsible for digital transformation.

That's according to data from a survey of more than 170 senior digital marketing and ecommerce executives, part of our Digital Trends in the Travel and Hospitality Sector Report, published in partnership with Adobe.

The respondents were a mix of travel agents, airlines, hotel groups and more, and gave their views on trends in customer experience, data, mobile and personalization.

But it's perhaps the insight into disruption in the industry that reveals the most.

Almost half of travel companies are 'fast followers' 

The spectres of Expedia and Airbnb hang over a travel industry that has seen a huge amount of disruption, faster than many other industries.

Online-only services have proliferated, travelers and tourists are newly empowered and mobile experiences are an expectation.

The pace of change of an industry can be judged by how companies view their own efforts to innovate.

When asked to identify with a statement about disruption, 35% of senior travel marketers saw their companies as 'leading the way' and almost half (48%) as 'fast followers'.

It's clear within the travel sector that companies understand the threat of under investment in technology.

This doesn't always mean radical reinvention of experiences (such as mobile booking and ticketing), but also extends to areas such as customer service, which is vital to sentiment and popularity in the sector.

how do travel businesses describe themselves - disruptors, fast followers or threatened

80% have a digital transformation team embedded within the company 

The chart below is quite astonishing, given that the 16% of those without a digital transformation function are not necessarily digital laggards.

Digital transformation is a fairly nebulous term, and the task of transforming a company is not a quick one.

This means that simply having a transformation team does not mean that 80% of respondents have equivalent digital capability. They will likely be at different stages of their respective projects and, of course, have different objectives and starting points.

84% of travel businesses have a digital transformation function

Given the publicity around projects such as Ryanair Labs, it is perhaps surprising that only 4% stated they had a 'separate innovation hub'.

Though this can be a great way to insulate an innovative team and slowly introduce a different culture to the business, it may be best suited for larger companies where significant investment can be dedicated to creating new products within a new working culture and office.

For much more on trends within travel, download the report here

Video by LondonVideoStories

Ben Davis

Published 8 December, 2015 by Ben Davis @ Econsultancy

Ben Davis is Deputy Editor at Econsultancy. He lives in Manchester, England. You can contact him at ben.davis@econsultancy.com, follow at @herrhuld or connect via LinkedIn.

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