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Innovation and flexibility must be on our Christmas lists, says Andy Freeth, managing director B2B UK of dnata 

The Christmas countdown is in full swing in the Freeth household. The kids are penning their lists to Santa, Michael Bublé is on repeat.

It’s been a very busy year in the office with developments here at dnata travel B2B in the UK. My new team continues to deliver fantastic results, reaffirming that Travel 2 and Gold Medal really do have the best teams in the business.

I’ll be asking St Nick for a few pairs of Marks & Spencer socks, but if the big man could also step in on the below travel industry essentials, I will make sure to keep myself on his ‘nice list’ for the next 12 months.

New talent

As we’ve seen in recent years, more and more travel businesses are looking to the next generation to lead the way with new ideas and approaches.

Lonely Planet’s chief executive Daniel Houghton is a great example of this and is making waves not only in his specialism but also enabling the travel community to learn from Lonely Planet’s innovative approaches. Welcoming young people with a passion for travel through apprenticeships and graduate schemes is key to the sector thriving.

Fresh approach

It’s key that in 2016 we continue to welcome those who are new to the travel sector. I have been in the industry for longer than I care to remember 
and while my days as a rep stand me 
in good stead for understanding the 
ins and outs of travel, it is important that we continue to welcome those who bring with them different approaches and new ways of working so that we continue to innovate.

Providing support

This year, we’ve seen the tragic events in Egypt, Turkey, Tunisia and other parts of the world have a profound effect on travel. In Egypt alone 1.3 million people directly depend on tourism. Here in the UK, travel businesses selling packages to these hugely popular destinations have struggled to adapt to these overnight changes.

Although we are unable to predict the future, as an industry we are great at rallying together to support those affected, both at home and in the resorts. While we cannot know what the year will bring, my wish for 2016 is that the industry will stay resilient, as it has in the past, and continue to adapt quickly. Most importantly, I hope we will continue to support those impacted by tragic world events.

Looking ahead

This year saw emojis in the dictionary and the first ever robot-staffed hotel in Japan. Who knows what 2016 will bring? Here at dnata, we’re working hard on developing our team and product offering to ensure that agents are prepared ahead of the turn of year period and look forward to a great year for the business as it grows.

So while a Daniel Craig six-pack and Leeds United winning the FA Cup might be slightly unachievable for me, I look forward to seeing the industry continue to rise to the challenge, adapt and grow.

Wishing you all a merry Christmas and here’s to 2016!