Here's How Travel Brands Can Boost Business with Better Interdepartmental Cooperation
You might think that, in the 21st century, cooperation would be at an all-time high. With social media, email, and dozens of professional collaborative tools such as Trello or Slack at our fingertips, we should be all communicating and working together effectively. However, it's astonishing how regularly people forget the basics.
Whether in digital travel, or any other industry, ineffective communication between departments can lead to crossed wires, damaged morale, and, perhaps most importantly, missed revenue opportunities and a negatively impacted bottom line.
Barriers need to be removed and processes put in place which will allow your teams to better meet their own goals, while simultaneously achieving the objectives of the organization as a whole.
Tearing Down Boundaries
One great way to facilitate better communication between departments is to create what is known as a boundaryless organization.
This kind of organization involves a series of structured and facilitated forums in which employees from across departments, levels, and geographies, are brought together to help solve business problems and make decisions in real time. This kind of business philosophy allows for shorter decision cycles, increased employee engagement, and stronger collaboration than would be possible without it.
The strategy goes beyond standard collaborative tools such as Trello. While these platforms certainly help with collaboration, they do little for rapid decision making and priority aligning. Regular meetings are arranged which brings together all the people working on a single customer program, and who are then given a time limit in which to jointly come up with the solution. Ideally, these meetings have everyone in the same physical space, but for situations where this isn't possible or practical due to geographical location (particularly likely in the travel industry), video conferencing tools can be employed.
Not only does this strategy get problems resolved faster and more effectively, but it also gets different departments communicating and bonding with one another, which helps create a happier workplace for all.
One-on-One Relationship Building
People who work together need to be able to trust and rely on one another. Strained or insecure relationships between collaborators can lead to a lack of productivity and mistakes being made.
Therefore, when interdepartmental teams or partnerships are formed to work on a project, they should be encouraged to take the initiative and get to know one another. This happens naturally with people who work in the same department as one another but will take more effort when it comes to those who don't. Encouraging them to spend time together during coffee or lunch breaks, or even getting them to collaborate on other projects can all help forge stronger professional bonds, while also building friendships.
Where possible, the business can also help by arranging social or team-building activities in which everyone gets together, interacting socially and working to complete tasks and challenges.
We've already touched on collaborative platforms such as Slack and Trello, but there are loads of options when it comes to using technology to break down barriers between departments.
From the humble email to social media and the aforementioned collaborative platforms, each, when used effectively, can offer a lifeline to collaboration. It's the term "effectively" which should resonate the most here, as ineffective tool deployment can cause more problems than it solves. If one team uses Dropbox but another favors Google Drive, a consensus needs to be reached as to which cloud storage provider will be used for collaboration. People tend to defend the brands they've chosen rather passionately, so it can be challenging to get them to compromise.
However, once everyone is singing from the same cloud-hosted song sheet, you will see these tools and platforms help build collaboration like never before.
"Multiple firms in the travel, tourism and hospitality industry have talked to us about this kind of a problem," writes Absolut Data. "In general, collaboration as a concept seems arcane, especially when it comes to the different departments dealing with customers (marketing/promotions/front-desk/revenue management/etc.) sharing information seems to be a big taboo. Motley Fool seems to be the only firm with a Chief Collaboration officer, while Jack Welch initiated a 'Theft Award' to promote learning and re-using best practices across business units. But apart from a handful of such cases, collaboration doesn't seem to be as prevalent as one would like."
Better collaboration between departments is set to be a hot topic at Digital Travel 2019, taking place in April at the Hyatt Regency Indian Wells, CA.
Download the agenda today for more information and insights.