This year, Amadeus celebrates 30 years in the travel technology industry. As a technology company at the heart of the global travel industry, we are proud of this significant milestone – and feel 30 years is just the beginning.
In today’s fast-moving world, however, marking three decades in business – especially for a technology company – might be considered an anomaly by many.
Thirty years ago Amadeus was a pioneer in travel technology, aggregating the reservations systems of airlines and bringing selling capabilities to the desktop of travel professionals. This ushered in a new era for travel. The decades that followed would see great advancements and innovation continue to come, with Amadeus there and leading the way for our travel industry customers. As an industry, we can certainly expect more of the same in the 30 years that lie ahead, but with change coming with more speed and disruption than ever.
The challenge for any business, but especially for the technology sector, is how to stay at the forefront, how to keep innovating, how to keep delivering value for customers and the marketplace. A 2016 study of corporate longevity reveals that in 1965, the average tenure of companies on the S&P 500 was 33 years. By 1990 it dwindled to 20 years. That number is forecast to shrink to 14 years by 2026.
So if the lifespan of established, successful companies continues to wither, how has Amadeus remained vital and growing? And how will we continue to stay relevant and deliver leading solutions and service for our customers in the years and decades to come? In my view, there are three “fundamentals” that will be key.
In 1987 Amadeus was founded as a partnership of four airlines – Air France, Iberia, Lufthansa and SAS. Since then our collaboration with the travel industry has expanded well beyond. Today it encompasses the entire travel ecosystem, from airlines and airports, to railways and cruise lines, to hospitality and ground transportation providers.
We put our travel industry customers at the center of everything we do so they can put the traveler at the center of everything they do.
To assure strong, collaborative partnerships, we continue to position our expert teams and resources closer to our customers and industry players, here in North America as well as across our 190 locations worldwide. That enables our regional team, working together with Amadeus colleagues around the world, to deliver the “best of the best” for our customers in the U.S. and Canada who range from emerging startups to some of the most established and successful companies in travel.
We also continue to grow as our customers grow. In North America, we’ve doubled our locations from five to 11. More than 15,000 Amadeus professionals comprise our global workforce, with 2,000 serving right here in the region. And when it comes to our commitment to R&D and innovation, in our state-of-the-art Waltham R&D Center near Boston we’ve seen a 100% increase in our overall “people count” since 2013.
Innovation and investment
For 30 years, Amadeus has grown to become a world-class technology company dedicated to serving the needs of the global travel industry. That’s because complacency is never an option at Amadeus.
Our company culture focuses on excellence and advancement through continued investment and innovation. Over the past 12 years alone, we have invested nearly $5 billion in R&D, an impressive 16.2% of 2016 global revenues. In fact, Amadeus was ranked the leading R&D investor in the travel and tourism industry in the 2016 EU Industrial R&D Investment Scoreboard.
Trailblazing is invigorating to us. More than 5,000 Amadeus people across 40+ worldwide locations are working on projects that will take our customers and our business into the next era for travel: cloud-based architecture, machine learning, massive data, real-time analytics, mobile and more. Last year we received the “Cloud Innovator of the Year award” by open source solutions provider Red Hat for our use of their OpenShift Enterprise technology. We were also the first to deliver IATA’s Electronic Miscellaneous Document (EMD), the new industry standard for travel agencies to issue documents for travel-related services. Open technology platforms are another great Amadeus first, and it’s exciting to think about the “next big things” that could emerge from the 2,600 ideas currently under development on the Amadeus drawing board.
For 30 years, Amadeus has kept the travel sector moving by helping our customers improve the travel experience for billions of people each year. We envision a bright future for travel. Whoever they are and wherever they’re going, tomorrow’s travelers will expect a very different kind of travel experience.
Our industry-leading Traveler Tribes research points to a future that will be much more personalized, connected and sustainable. New instant search technology is giving customers access to more fares in less time, offering more choice and a world of options. Our solutions are keeping business travelers safe and connected by overcoming the pain of travel disruption, reliably and efficiently.
Amadeus’ 30th Anniversary is a time of reflection that gives everyone a chance to look back and forward simultaneously. Our quest is to leverage 30 years of progress as a springboard to achieve our future goals. We are excited about our mission: to shape the future of travel by connecting the industry, harnessing new technologies, and finding new ways to make travel more rewarding and relevant for millennia to come.
As I see it, we are just getting started. I can’t wait to see what the next 30 years will bring.
What’s the most important thing travel industry players must do today to remain strong, vital and relevant for the future?