I would be remiss not to draw attention to Fast Company’s recent release of The World’s Most Innovative Companies 2010. These are the movers and shakers, the companies out there doing things differently, attracting attention and making money in what has been deemed an economic crisis. The top four were fairly predictable, in order: Facebook, Amazon, Apple and Google. The article indicates that Facebook added 200 million users last year, blowing all competition out of the water, and is looking at another year of innovation. Amazon is continuously growing and expanding into new markets. Apple has launched new products galore and created a ridiculous library of apps. Google, too, has launched into additional markets like phones, social networking and more.
Reading through the various companies in the top 50 is particularly interesting this year as it primarily demonstrates how positive growth was possible during the economic downturn. What I found particularly interesting, though, is that amidst tech, R&D, marketing, healthcare, retail companies and more, not one of the companies are in the hospitality industry except Disney. While hospitality companies utilize some of these innovative companies, and there are certainly innovative hospitality companies and hospitality professionals, our industry just doesn’t seem to come up with the ‘next big thing’.
Is it just that the hospitality industry will always revert back to the basics: creating positive guest experiences, and too much innovation or change will not support that? In order to keep up with these fast moving companies and to continue creating great guest experiences, I think hospitality companies may not just utilize the innovators (Google, Apple, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) but may come up with some innovations of our own. Disney follows this model of innovating the products and services they have while also venturing into new avenues. I am eager to see who is next to follow suit in their own unique way.