Today is a momentous day: it is my 30th anniversary with Amadeus. Thirty years ago – to the day – on June 15, 1987, Amadeus hired me for the unique blend of talent, knowledge and experience I would bring to the table as an American Airlines flight crew member, Sabre travel agent and Apollo travel school instructor. Passion – for my work, my customers, my colleagues and the travel industry – was my driving force back then. Amazing as it sounds, this same passion drives my career today.
Over three decades, I have seen a whole lot of change in the travel technology industry. Here are five that come to mind:
- Paper vs. electronic ticketing.
Back in the day, we printed out paper airline tickets using old-fashioned teletype machines. Today, we carry our tickets on our mobile phones. Bar code readers check flight status at the gate, replacing paper boarding passes. E-ticketing is the new norm.
- DOS computers vs. cloud-based computing.
Who can’t forget those make-you-squint “green screens” on DOS computers – and those early cryptic commands? Over the years, desk-bound travel agents have morphed into mobile, independent power bookers who today arrange travel anywhere, anytime, from any device. New, graphically intuitive interfaces make travel booking fast and easy from mobile phones and tablets. Clunky software updates are ancient relics; today, cloud-based computing enables travel professionals to book customized travel in a matter of seconds.
- Brick-and-mortar vs. virtual.
As an instructor in a real travel school building, I remember when trainees would fly in from cities across the country for in-person training sessions. While the camaraderie was definitely a highlight, today’s virtual classrooms and webinars make learning faster, easier and more cost-effective.
- Working in an office vs. telecommuting.
In my early career, working from home was practically unheard of. I lived in Orange County, California, and commuted back and forth to our Los Angeles office. Over time, the company discovered employees could get more done working from home. Telecommuting gained momentum, and eventually we closed regional offices and demo sites in favor of more cost-efficient home-based setups.
- Local vs. global.
When Amadeus purchased System One in 1995, our company had less than ten percent market presence. The U.S. travel marketplace viewed us as “an American company owned by Europeans.” Over the years, this view shifted with the rise of multinational expansion and globalization. Today, Amadeus is present in more countries than the United Nations. Being a global player means so much more, and we have grown to become the dominant player in a global industry.
As I reflect on my 30-year Amadeus career, it has truly been an amazing journey. Amadeus has enabled me to travel internationally, support humanitarian efforts at an orphanage project in Haiti, continually improve my skills and knowledge, and grow our company alongside some of the best and brightest professionals (colleagues and customers) in this business.
Looking ahead, the future of Amadeus shines brightly as we continue to grow stronger financially, invest in R&D, and lead the industry to higher heights through innovation and collaboration. As Benjamin Franklin said, “When you’re finished changing, you’re finished.” At Amadeus, we will never be finished! Our undying passion is the fuel that will keep us going – and growing – for decades to come.
What are you most passionate about as a travel professional?