Posted By Diane Bouzebiba, Managing Director of Amadeus UK and Ireland
Was 2012 as action-packed for you as it was for me? It feels like my feet have hardly touched the ground. But despite how busy we get, I feel it is worth making time to reflect on what we have achieved over the past 12 months, both individually and as a business. 2012 highlights for me were numerous. The biggest would have to be moving to the UK after 17 years in the South of France, near where Amadeus’ largest software development centre is located. Although I wasn’t expecting Côte d’Azur weather in the UK, I’m not sure anything could have prepared me for the 2nd wettest year in over a century!
What I love about my new role is my proximity to customers. It’s true that I was working directly with travel providers previously, but I love getting out of the office and talking to a wide variety of travel professionals – in the corporate, leisure, online and specialist areas. (Just between us, sometimes it felt like I was on a Michael McIntyre national roadshow.) When we tallied up the number of customer visits, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that I met with more than 175 customers throughout England, Scotland and Ireland. I have no regrets despite the gruelling schedule because it was time well spent.
Another highlight for me was launching our Executive Forums, the first in London in September and the second in Glasgow in December. It really enabled us to demonstrate how Amadeus customers are better connected. This is not just in terms of content and providers through the Amadeus system, excellent though that is. Our customers are also better connected in terms of thought leadership and debate about where the industry is heading and the kind of fresh thinking that we need to engage in, such as the Open for Business industry paper we launched in September. It is this drive for a better future for the industry that underpins our exclusive technology partnership with the Institute of Travel and Tourism.
I am also immensely proud of the work the IT Consulting work we have undertaken with more and more customers – new and old. It helped us to win a significant proportion of the 75 new accounts including Virgin Holidays and Lowcosttravelgroup.com.
I have also enjoyed getting to know my new team better. I was already acquainted with some of my UK & Ireland colleagues from my work in the Amadeus Rail business unit. What I have subsequently discovered is a genuine passion for superior service. The UK Customer Service Centre won an Amadeus Excellence award in June, beating fierce competition from other Amadeus offices throughout the region. We also won Best Technology Provider at the beginning of the year in both the Ireland and the UK and again in Ireland just last month. This is no doubt a contributory factor that helps explain why we have managed to retain more than 99 per cent of our customers in 2012.
Well, I think that is about all I have time for right now, so let me sign off here and I’ll be back with some thoughts on 2013 shortly. As always, I’d love to hear about your experiences of 2012 and expectations for the year ahead.