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  • Writer's pictureNancy Arsenault

Adapt or Die

Updated: Jun 27, 2021

This phrase "adapt or die" is often used in articles, endless presentations and in fact is the name of a book! But it's true. I think back to retailers that are gone - big ones like Eatons, Seagrams, Target (in Canada), Zellers. I think of products that are past their due date - 8-tracks and records.

Yet some products stand the test of time and remain relevant. Think of the watch, I know many people who don't wear one, their watch is on their phone. But those understanding what a watch represents to those of us who like to wear one have evolved this wrist decoration to Fitbits, Apple watches, golf watches ... and the list goes on.

Today Brian Solis wrote about digital Darwinism "As customer behaviours evolve, they disrupt markets and businesses that emphasize scaling and monetizing business as usual. Even with investments in new technologies and talent, without understanding the human side of digital Darwinism, a gap between customer values and business values takes shape. The moment that gap grows into a chasm is when disruption becomes inevitable. Now more than ever, businesses must adopt a mantra of adapt or die or risk disruption or worse, obsolescence.The travel industry is not exempt."

I couldn't agree more. I am sometime amazed when I see websites without a clear call to action. When I'm teaching, to this day I hear tourism operators who don't want to incorporate online payments because 'they don't like to give their credit card online' - guess what - you're not your customer. I can appreciate some may not know which system to tap into, which payment types will be most acceptable to their customer and affordable to their business. It saddens me to think that they could work so hard to create travel experiences, invest in marketing but when the crunch comes - make it easy for me to purchase and pay - they fall short at this critical juncture.

Even at the Tourism Cafe, a training and development company, a service contract-based business our tech company RWNetworks showed us a way to add a download feature to our website which has an online sales function for our costing templates and training tools. Some will be free, others for a fee, but at a minimum it allows us to quickly and efficiently know who is interested in what we have available. A recent review of our web-metrics revealed our case studies are one of the most popular page - this is great news as a training company for we are in the process of updating some of our most popular ones, like Dining on the Ocean Floor, are currently creating two new ones for Travel Alberta's SHiFT Program, and we have a long list of others we'd like to write up.

The point is, we all must continually look at our business, the impact of technology, the changes in our customers, the new demands for products, services and experiences and make conscious decisions.

So what can you do right now!

1. Reflect on the changes in your customer - and write them down as they pertain to what you are selling and how you are selling.

2. Reflect on your products, services and experiences you offer and ask yourself "When was the last time I created an innovative experience for my guests?" "When did I take a risk to try doing things differently" If the answer was 2+ years ago, its time to be refreshing what you offer to travellers.

3. Reflect on where you want your business to be in 5-years. To achieve that goal, what will you stop doing so you can free up time and resources to invest in being relevant in the future?

4. Reflect on your marketing channels and ask yourselves, "Which are serving the greatest purpose" and focus your limited time and money there. 5. Decide to take action on a targeted number of activities that will keep your business relevant, modern, and appealing to future customers.

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