In September, we won the Trailblazer Sponsor Award for our Innovation pitch about our travel technology platform, Extrali, at the Travel Tech Show 2021.
After our win, we were asked about the biggest challenges that we’ve faced over the past 18-months, the challenges we expect to face over the next 18-months, and the lessons that we’ve learned.
Following the announcement on Wednesday that England is moving to Plan B, we thought it would be a good time to look back at our reflections from September.
Biggest challenges over the past 18-months
The COVID-19 pandemic fundamentally changed travel consumer expectations concerning automation and self-service. Overnight, restrictions forced all travel businesses to make significant changes to working practices whilst managing risk, uncertainty, and unprecedented demand.
As a B2B software and services company, we helped our customers to implement new application features into our travel reservation platform, Extrali, allowing customers to move, cancel, and refund bookings on a scale never required before. Furthermore, we needed to develop, test, and deploy these enhancements in very tight timescales to meet the changing needs of consumers and regulators.
Over the past 20+ years’, we’ve been primarily office-based, helping us to focus on collaboration, mentoring, and training. Although we had the systems and infrastructure in place to allow us to switch to fully remote working overnight, this represented a significant culture shift for the company. We carefully managed the rapid transition to remote working and implemented clear and transparent communication channels for our colleagues.
More recently, we needed to manage the transition back to the office, implementing a hybrid working model and supporting our colleagues’ diverse needs when returning to work. We also needed to implement and iterate new policies and procedures that meet the changing needs of our employees and the company, offering even more flexibility to promote a healthy work-life balance for our colleagues.
Fundamentally, as a B2B technology supplier, our current and future challenges remain to focus on growth by expanding our network and diversifying into new markets whilst supporting our existing customers. We also must continue to drive innovation and new product development, including our new SaaS test management platform, Qucate.
Biggest challenges over the next 18-months
Over the next 18-months, we’ll need to find the balance between serving the bespoke needs of our existing customers, with an increased focus on automation, self-service, and contactless customer interactions, and continuing to drive innovation in our technology platforms. The tech industry is constantly evolving, and as such, we need to ensure that we adapt and continue to support our customers.
We also need to continue to drive efficiency in our business, ensuring that we adapt to the changing needs of our colleagues and support our new and existing customers.
We will continue to strengthen our culture, increasing autonomy and accountability and further empowering our colleagues by continuing to promote our values of trustworthiness, work ethic, ambition, and morals.
Shortly, we’ll be launching our new B2B test management platform, Qucate. This is new ground for us, and we’ll need to adapt as a company as we diversify into a new market, drive product innovation, and expand our service offering to our existing customers. Qucate will be ready to be trialled in Beta in January, and we’re excited for the launch in 2022.
Lessons we've learned
During unprecedented and challenging times, businesses must continue to support their communities and treat colleagues and customers how they would expect to be treated themselves. More so than ever, we’re committed to maintaining a positive culture and ensuring that we don’t compromise our core values, which continue to underpin our relationships with our community and customers.
We’ve also learnt that significant changes can occur overnight, and to remain relevant companies must continue to innovate and build for the future by investing in training and development. We’ve taken some time to reflect and refocus, and we’re excited to see where the future takes us.