The Trouble with Transparency

It is a constant buzzword. A trend that always lands on the latest top ten list. An unlimited source of conference fodder.


We know the word, but do we truly understand what it means? Beyond the RTs and virtual high-fives, who among us…destinations, hotels, restaurants…is truly transparent?

Not in terms of annual salaries or budget spending…few of our consumers care…rather, in terms of communication, marketing and our presentation of the destination, hotel or attraction.

While many of us assume that listing an employees name on our Twitter profile is a show of transparency, it falls short of being truly transparent to the consumer.

And frankly, few even go that far.

Yet when the topic is discussed, our peers gleefully nod in agreement that they are transparent. Smiling away any sense of true transparency. Frankly, this attitude, this lack of understanding, is hurting us. If you are fighting for relevancy, then transparency should be your mission statement.

We are an industry that moves mountains to present a better photographic impression, assuming we don’t screw it up. Our acceptance of pay-to-play is well-known within the vertical, but a mystery to our consumers.

We have even given birth to other verticals to correct the issues, errors and omissions from our own.

Transparency is not our strongest trait.

Yet it is one of the keys to move our industry forward. And one of the requirements that the new consumer is demanding from us. The sooner we accept the reality brought on by word-of-mouth and the rapid release of social media, the sooner we can modify our approach.

Not just saying we are transparent.

But showing it, too.

Comment? @travel2dot0 or email.