In an age where nimble industry disruptors such as Airbnb and Uber reign supreme, how does a veteran travel tech firm like Travelport keep up?
Jason Nash, Global Vice President of Marketing and Product Incubation, admits that it’s a challenge. But it’s one which the firm is tackling head on with its Labs start-up incubation program.
“For us, the whole incubation thing is about finding a way to disrupt your own business but still have control,” Nash told Traveltalk.
The program is run not as a separate organisation, but on the side of Travelport’s day to day business.
“That allows it to evolve in a slightly more dynamic way where we’re allowed to break some of the rules,” Nash explains. “It’s a great example of how, by carving this away from the mothership and giving it space, we can create a new way of working and change up the standard way of thinking within the organisation.”
The decision to open the program to external bright sparks as well as those within the company made sense in order to create a vibrant environment for the exchange of ideas.
So far, the program has delivered some great new innovations for Travelport such as a social tool in its ViewTrip product called UserVoice which enables agents and travellers to make recommendations for features and vote on features as well. In fact, Viewtrip is now putting out a new release around every two weeks.
“That’s as good as any agile development going on anywhere. For a traditional business, that used to define as a GDS but is now obviously more of a travel commerce platform, we’re actually doing truly agile development with those teams.”