Culture and Strategy in the Travel and Tourism Sector

Jerry Noonan, Global Consumer Practise Leader, SpencerStuart

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Organisational culture is a critical driver of transformation and business performance, but one that many leaders can find hard to define — or to change.

For hospitality, travel and tourism companies, which sell the dreams and experiences of travel, culture reinforces the guest service ethic and engages diverse and widely spread associates in the mission to create memorable experiences for guests. Whether people are travelling for business or for pleasure, people want to feel cared for, appreciated and welcome, so hospitality and travel companies by definition need to inspire and care for customers, more so than many other industries.

Ongoing advancements in technology and evolving customer expectations about how they want to interact with companies — online check-in, mobile boarding passes and keyless hotel rooms are just a few examples — require travel companies to find ways to still deliver high-touch, brand-building interactions balancing personal touch and technology. This is driving an additional cultural imperative: flexibility and learning. Increasingly, travel industry leaders are recognising the need to build cultures that are adaptable so they are better positioned to respond to changing market and competitive conditions and leverage data and technology to transform the customer experience at the point of customer contact.

But what is the best way to do this? We have identified a few questions that can help leaders begin thinking about the organisation’s culture and how the culture may need to evolve in a dynamic market.

What is the current culture of the organisation?

How well-aligned is our corporate culture with our go forward strategy?

What is the difference between our current and ideal corporate culture?

How well do our organisational structure and practices support our ideal culture?

How do we consider culture in our talent management programs?

This article was contributed by a WTTC Industry Partner and published in March 2017 as part of the annual update to the Economic Impact Research from WTTC. The full report can be found here.

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