By Johnny Campbell
In a world that is constantly being reshaped by rapid advances in technology, business owners are required to incorporate these new technologies into their practices, as well as compete with new technology-centered businesses.
Changes Facing the Motorcoach Travel and Tourism Industry
The travel industry has been greatly affected by the technology boom of the last few decades. A few of these changes include on-demand vehicle services such as Uber and Lyft, ride-sharing apps such as Skedaddle, and driverless buses.
One of the most disruptive advances in the travel industry has been the creation and subsequent popularity of Uber and Lyft. These services are attractive to customers because they provide the customer with a certain level of control and convenience. Both the Uber and Lyft apps allow users to choose their pickup locations, learn about their drivers, and track the movement of the car they have hired.
This consumer need for knowledge and control over their travel choices also leads people to crowdsource trips—something that Skedaddle offers to those seeking long-distance rides by bus that are not offered by established bus companies.
In addition to these social travel options, the concept of driverless buses has also become a very real possibility. It is believed that driverless transportation systems could potentially decrease accidents due to driver error and also may reduce the cost of rides by eliminating driving jobs.
Facing Change Head On
With all of these changes in the travel industry, it can seem daunting for businesses to come up with ways to compete. One way that established taxi and limousine companies can compete with ride-sharing apps is by creating user-friendly and easily accessible mobile platforms. The main appeal of Uber and Lyft is the accessibility and immediacy of their services, but Uber does not offer the peace of mind and knowledge that trained taxi and limo drivers possess. If a taxi or limo company were to create an app similar to Uber and Lyft, the taxi and limo companies would be able to directly compete with Uber and Lyft. For established bus companies, the same would be true, and, in addition, revamping bus routes and options would be equally as important to compete with ride-sharing bus apps like Skedaddle.
Competing with driverless transportation systems is more about building upon what driverless vehicles lack, rather than catching up with their advances. Unlike an automated vehicle, human drivers are available to respond to customer questions, protect passengers from danger, and interact with police if need be. These advantages should be presented to customers as a more user-friendly alternative to driverless transportation.
Change is inevitable; how you embrace and take advantage of it is up to you. I encourage you to look at the changes in the marketplace not as disruptions, but as opportunities for you to create more personalized services or experiences for your customers—and as a way to discover new and underserved market segments. The marketplace is changing. Embrace it, and you will win more business.
Johnny Campbell, DTM, is a business growth strategist and has been a speaker at ABA’s Annual Meeting & Marketplace.