On October 21, 2017, Amadeus will celebrate an important milestone in our company’s history: our 30th anniversary. This year I will also commemorate an important personal and professional milestone: 45 years of service in travel technology. To put this timeframe in perspective, when I first started working in reservations at Eastern Airlines in 1972, “travel technology” did not formally exist as an industry; it was called the “airline” or “travel” industry back then!
In 1984, I moved to our marketing automation department, which later became the System One computer reservation system (CRS). In 1997, that company became Amadeus, which has grown to become the world’s leading Global Distribution System (GDS). Three decades later, the Amadeus platform continues to evolve, connecting the entire travel ecosystem – travel providers, travel sellers and end- travelers – at every stage of the journey.
Watching Amadeus grow to industry star status has been an amazing journey. We started by connecting airlines with travel agencies, delivering functionality to book reservations and check fares from the agent’s desktop. Back then, who would’ve predicted you could book a flight or hotel from a smartphone, anytime or anywhere? Today, Amadeus facilitates that – and so much more. From leading the creation of a common travel platform and promoting the adoption of e-commerce, to bringing big data, cloud and mobile technologies to the travel industry, Amadeus remains a consistent innovator.
A global travel evolution
I’ve been fortunate to spend my Amadeus career working in many areas of the business alongside some of the industry’s best and brightest professionals. Around the world, Amadeus has 14,200 employees representing 118 nationalities, in 195 countries, with global headquarters in Spain, France and Germany. In North America, we’ve grown from one location (Miami) to eleven across the US and Canada, including our cutting-edge Research and Development Center in Waltham, MA.
Like most Amadeus employees, in the early years I worked primarily in one office location. Today, international videoconferencing is the norm and cross-country collaboration commonplace. For me, the multicultural aspect of my job has been one of the best parts. The diversity of the Amadeus family gives everyone a fresh perspective on how to do business in a globally connected world. In fact, it’s a key differentiator that sets Amadeus apart from our competitors.
An anniversary to remember
In the late 1980s, Amadeus was like the little guy on a bicycle who had to pedal hard to keep up. Today, our global distribution position is now at nearly 43 percent. In North America, we doubled our market presence between 2012 and 2016, increasing travel agency bookings every year. We are proud of our global IT accomplishments, as evidenced by Forbes’ recent ranking of Amadeus as the world’s tenth largest software company.
Anniversaries are special. They remind us to reflect on how far we’ve come, as well as where we are headed. In this anniversary year, Amadeus remains committed to our mission: to shape the future of travel. After more than a quarter-century of service to the travel industry, we are more excited than ever about our future. We know that innovation and curiosity drive our success, along with an unwavering commitment to help our customers and partners thrive in a rapidly changing world. As for me, I’m already looking five years ahead. When Amadeus celebrates its 35th anniversary in 2022, my eye is on that coveted gold watch for 50 years of service!
What innovations have changed the travel technology industry the most over the past 30 years?