@ IE Business School

Disruption in the Travel Industry - Europe Invented it, but is America is Making all the Money?

By IE Professor Joe Haslam

Writing in Wired Magazine about what he saw as a tech incubator boom, James Silver wrote that Europe now has about 50 programmes vying for entrepreneurs. Whether they use the name bootcamp, incubator, accelerator, venture lab or academy, the model is largely the same. Each startup is assigned a mentor and at the end of the programme, there is a Demo Day where investors are invited to hear the companies pitch for investment. VCs like them as they act as a filter and entrepreneurs participate as working in the company of other entrepreneurs is generally beneficial. But what of mentors, what do they get? Some mentors give their time for altruistic reasons. People helped them in the early stage of their startup, which they want to pay back to the ecosystem. Other mentors are in for the money, either as an angel investor or to join the team if the company looks like it could go somewhere. In my own experience, I´ve found that mentoring is great way to spot a trend before it becomes mainsteam.

The first travel company that came on my radar was Tralopia in the IE Venture Lab. Following this came Tripku and now Hot Hotels, a company where I´m currently the Chairman and a shareholder. Starting in mid 2010, every Business Plan competition and incubator intake seemed to have one or many companies looking to do something in the Travel/Social Media space. Not all have been successful but incumbents in any industry should be very worried if there are many people who see an opportunity to eat their lunch. Take American Express) who announced in January that they planned to layoff 8.5% of their workforce. Most jobs would go in their Global Travel, a business which is being “fundamentally reinvented as a result of a digital revolution”. We have been here many times before when legacy businesses go out of their way to try to communicate that “we get it!” but as the sad demise of HMV shows, survival is not just understanding that changes are afoot but understand that as the incumbent, you are at a competitive disadvantage. History tells us that it´s more likely that you will not survive than that you will... read on

Joe Haslam in the Digital Tourism Business

Professor Joe Haslam will be among many other tourism experts taking part in IE Executive Education's brand new The Digital Tourism Business Program this coming May.


IE Business School #1 in Europe offers short international programs in English for international executives searching to enhance their competitive edge to further their career success.

The Digital Tourism Business will acclimate students to the 2014 digital travel landscape through exposure to dynamic case studies and thought leadership, as well as practical experience to digital business strategies, techniques, tools, platforms, KPI’s that are driving the digital travel revolution, helping the business manager to identify and embrace current and future opportunities to reach, engage with, and learn from customers. The program will be delivered over 4 days by expert professors & guest speakers in the industry.

Program Objectives

The program aims to:

  • Understand the “digital tourist” and how to market effectively when developing new marketing strategies.
  • Understand the main digital techniques (paid media, mobile, social media, content, listening …) and “best practices” in the tourism sector
  • Understand the drivers of digital strategic plan and identify opportunities in a tourism company.
  • Define a digital tourism business scorecard, realistic objectives and expected results; as well prioritize the KPIs for the strategy.

Date: 26-29 May, 2014

Price: €4.500

Register Online