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2017 business challenges
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How can SMEs rise to meet 2017 business challenges?

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So with that in mind, I’ve used examples from my own experience as director of Travel Technology Europe for some thoughts on tackling 2017 business challenges, which include details on how to adapt and thrive.

Gain industry insight

It’s important to keep ahead of trends and abreast of what’s happening in your industry, so we always ask our attendees what is affecting them. One of the key indicators of a good year for the industry is budget size, so monitor your peers and competitors to understand how they are performing.

For example, our research showed 58 per cent of buyers in the travel industry said their technology budgets would be rising, which gives a great morale boost to the whole industry. This was also one per cent higher than the previous year.

Constantly monitoring performance of your industry to observe potential pitfalls and opportunities is a top tip for thriving in the year ahead.

As with almost all industries, Brexit uncertainty is a worry but don’t be too pessimistic, as even in the travel technology sector, the current feeling remains cautiously optimistic.

Only 13 per cent of buyers said it would damage their budgets whereas 87 per cent said it wouldn’t affect their budget, 37 per cent weren’t sure, and eight per cent said that it may even increase their budgets.

When it comes to investing in new technologies, 68 per cent of buyers in the travel industry invest at least once a year. This useful insight shows a rosy-looking landscape, so by monitoring how your industry is performing, you can then make educated predictions on how to adapt.

2017 business challenges are opportunities

Most of our research respondents identified that many of their challenges were also the things they were most excited about. The greatest 2017 business challenges and exciting prospects in for the travel technology industry cross over many other sectors.

Indeed, mobile was identified as both the most exciting subject and key of 2017 business challenges. Others were hailed as increased competition, fraud, social media, virtual reality (VR) and Europe. VR and social media reappeared in the list of opportunities alongside VR, artificial intelligence (AI), payments (Blockchain) and 3D.

This highlights how important it is to be aware of the 2017 business challenges, but also opportunities around you and, yes, to be cautious of them, but to also be open to embracing them, to change, to adapt and to evolve.

After all, evolution is the only way your business will continue to thrive and be successful.

For SMEs, investing in tech and adapting to new technologies is something that needs to be built into your business. Make sure you allow for this change in your budgeting and you give your workforce time to adjust.

Learn from others

It’s vital not to forget that research and networking remains important: you may be an expert but that doesn’t mean you stop learning.

Going along to industry talks, networking events and chatting to peers in your industry can be a valuable tool for benchmarking and strategy.

As part of the conference in February, we will have a session focusing on augmented reality (AR) and VR and how that can affect the travel industry. Elsewhere, we’ve seen how embracing platforms such as YouTube, blogs and innovative technologies, including VR, have created content marketing experts.

Whether you attend a two-day business event somewhere or sign up for some webinars, make it a new year’s resolution to take the time to take part in something that can develop your knowledge and contacts in your field.

Helping your industry

Most businesses become short-sighted looking at next quarter’s bottom line and no further, but be sure to take a step back and think about how you can help yourself and others in your industry long term.

No industry can evolve and survive without innovation, so it’s essential that we invest in new ideas.

These pieces of advice can help SMEs rise to the 2017 business challenges they face. By monitoring industry forecasts, embracing new technology, taking time to learn from others and helping drive industries forward, 2017 business challenges will become a year full of opportunities.

David Chapple, event director of Travel Technology Europe – free visitor passes are available now

Image: Shutterstock

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