Kuoni: Missing the Digital Boat - The Downfall of an Icon in the Travel Industry

Published 21 Feb 2019
Reference 6427
Topic Marketing
Length 16 page(s)
Language English

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This case illustrates the challenges for a non-digital player adjusting to digital disruption in the travel and tourism industry. The rise and fall of Kuoni illustrates the ‘boiling frog’ syndrome – i.e., while threats to its business multiplied, there was no ‘wake up’ moment where managers made decisive changes before it was too late.
More generally, the case considers the challenges of digital disruption: leading transformation and change-management skillsets, and the mindset/culture required to embrace new technology. By identifying what Kuoni did and did not do, students understand what it takes to transform into an agile organisation by leveraging digital trends and technologies.

Teaching objectives

. Understand the growth opportunities and threats of digitalisation for industries and individual companies
. Compare the merits of the incumbent business model (exemplified by Kuoni) with that of digital disruptors (exemplified by Expedia, TripAdvisor, Booking.com, priceline.com)
. Discuss business model adaptation and strategic partnership opportunities in industries facing digital transformation (from an incumbent’s perspective)
. Analyse the factors and parties (internal and external) in Kuoni’s failure to digitalize - and implications for the students’ own industry
. Understand the importance of leadership and culture in an organization’s transformation
. Hindsight teaches us that by insisting on ‘business as usual’ we may fail to heed catalysts for change

  • Digital Disruption
  • Digital Transformation
  • Business Model Innovation
  • Digital Strategy
  • Digital Transformation Failure
  • Customer Centricity
  • Marketing Strategy
  • Leadership in an agile world
  • Change management
  • Culture change
  • Ecosystems
  • Travel
  • Q21819