AWEISSMANN100x135At the recent Travel Weekly Leadership Forum in Las Vegas, technology guru Scott Klososky introduced the audience to the Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies. It's a chart that shows the somewhat predictable path that new technologies tend to tread, beginning with a steep climb up the Peak of Inflated Expectations, a near free fall into the Trough of Disillusionment, a gentle resurrection onto the Slope of Enlightenment and then a comfortable life on the Plateau of Productivity.

The Hype Cycle was created by Gartner, an information technology research and consulting group in Stamford, Conn. Gartner has taken the concept beyond general emerging technologies and offers more than 100 subcategories, ranging from cyber threats to telecommunications to life insurance.

But none for travel and tourism.

Permit me to remedy this oversight. But first, a few words about the chart.

If something is on the Peak of Inflated Expectations, it does not mean that it is an empty promise or mere puffery. Example: In 1996, a Microsoft executive told me that, due to his company's superior understanding of the Internet, it would soon dominate travel and any other industry it chose to enter. Microsoft didn't do badly with its (later divested) travel initiative, Expedia -- it's No. 3 on the Travel Weekly Power List -- but its founders could not see how other forces (competition, thorny supplier relationships, and inherent limitations in the medium) would ultimately temper its ambitions.

Likewise, the Trough of Disillusionment is not a grave. It's just the period when the spotlight has moved on to those climbing the Peak of Inflated Expectations. Those in the Trough tend to be judged more on current performance rather than potential.

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So, with all that in mind, I present my Hype Cycle of Travel and Tourism (click image at right for larger chart). And please write and tell me how your version might differ.

Contact Arnie Weissmann at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter. 

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