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Blog: Duncan Osborn

2020 – What I’ve Learnt

What a year. As I look around my home, eyeing up the next door on my daughter’s advent calendar, and the Christmas tree in the distance, I almost forget – just for a second – that this has been a year to remember. Or is it one to forget?

Working in travel was never going to be easy. It’s a tumultuous industry, with changes occurring every day, from mergers, acquisitions, new players, and everything in between. But it’s also one that’s full of excitement. We’re all responsible for helping people to create new memories, transporting them away from the everyday to something more extraordinary. That’s why, seeing and living the challenges we’ve all gone through this year, has been difficult to swallow.

But now it’s time to look forward. As I write this, the UK just announced approval of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, so it feels that we can officially breathe, just a little, and start to look out for that light at the end of the tunnel. We all thought 2020 was going to be our year. Whilst I don’t think anyone dares make a similar declaration, it is time to look forward. Bring on 2021.

But before we do, despite everything, I think many of us can say that we’ve experienced growth and learning this year, in one form or another. Beyond figuring out the maximum time one can leave it between shaves and haircuts, and nailing the ultimate banana bread recipe, that is.

Here are my top takeaways from 2020:

1. Misinformation is our Achilles heel

As if COVID-19 wasn’t enough, this year we’ve all seen the potential impact fake news can have on businesses, relationships, emotions and more. In a year that’s been described as unprecedented more times than any of us can count, I’ve learnt the importance of sourcing out reliable information, and applying it when making decisions. This is one of the reasons we’ve shared more of our Business Intelligence data this year, focusing on historic and forward-looking hotel and flight data. We only look at on-the-books bookings, so hoteliers can take informed decisions based on what is actually happening in the market. With this, it becomes easier to attract available and profitable demand.

2. The importance of “me time” and “we time”

Anyone with kids at home can appreciate that home schooling and “me time” is a luxury, not a reward. 2020 was the year that we were allowed to do less, yet there never seemed to be enough hours in the day. But I’ve learnt that with the right support network, it is possible to manage responsibilities and still get some well-deserved time to myself. I’m proud to lead the UK & Ireland team, and be part of a wider team that has enabled us to manage our work-life balance, when the two lines are more blurred than ever before. To that end, I want to reinforce that at Amadeus, we want our customers to see us a partner to them. Instead of Business to Business (B2B), let’s think People to People (P2P). As you think of your strategies for 2021, know that Amadeus is here to support you, with solutions that span every stage of the traveller journey, so that you can focus on creating memorable experiences for your guest.

3. Technology can surprise us  

We’ve had some tough months in our team, and like many other companies, had to undergo changes. In the UK & Ireland sales team, we’re fortunate in that – as we all already worked remote – the home office wasn’t the biggest change we had to face this year. However, for any of you that work or know sales, you’ll appreciate how much emphasis we place on in- person interaction. But I think we all surprised ourselves at how technology could increase efficiency and aid collaboration through the different tools at our disposal. That’s not to say I will be trading in a pint at the pub for virtual happy hours forever, but it just shows how capable we all are of adopting the unknown. At Amadeus, this is an integral part of our strategy as we look ahead. How can our solutions be the answer to your problems? We’re focused on providing the technology to help any Hospitality professional, large or small, to benefit from increased efficiencies.


On behalf of everyone at Amadeus and in the Hospitality team, we wish you all a merry festive season. I look forward to working closely with each of you next year. If you want to find out more about how Amadeus can help you drive profitable demand, deliver memorable guest experiences and improve operational efficiencies, please contact us.  

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