Innovate or Perish

This issue’s cover story, “15 Things to Watch in the Caribbean,” is a celebration of innovation By: Kenneth Shapiro
Kenneth Shapiro
Kenneth Shapiro

This issue’s cover story, “15 Things to Watch in the Caribbean,” is a celebration of innovation. The companies and resorts profiled in the story started out with a great product, the natural beauty of a Caribbean island. However, each of these companies understand that it must change with the times — adding new amenities and updating and refining its tourism offerings — in order to compete with other destinations. (Check out the story to see exactly what new developments are on tap for clients.)

This innovation provides a lesson that many of us can use in our own businesses. Just the other day, I was at a media dinner with other writers. One woman, who is a publisher of what was once a successful publication, told me that she refuses to even update her website.

“I still miss the days of my IBM Selectric,” she admitted. “It’s just so much less satisfying for me to have to do all this online digital stuff.”

Basically, she was giving up. She picked a time in history — some time in the 1970s, I suppose — and she was resisting any innovation that came after that time.

Needless to say, I don’t think any of us would want to be a shareholder in her business.

At TravelAge West, we spend a lot of time working on projects beyond the print publication you might be holding in your hand. Some days, our staff editors are more like event planners, video producers,  web designers, Internet radio hosts or search engine experts — fields that we have had to adapt to over time. The key is that we understand that the world continues to change and, whether we personally like the changes or not, success relies on the continued evolution of our thinking.

Destinations, resorts, cruise lines and, yes, travel agencies face the same challenges. It’s imperative for travel agents to embrace changes in the industry. The choice is ultimately not a choice at all. Evolve or cease to exist. You know we’ll be here to help you along the way.

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