As we prepare to close the door on yet another successful year here at DHISCO, I wish the happiest of holidays to all of our partners and colleagues around the globe.

This has been a year of accomplishment, growth, challenge and change. And 2017 promises more of the same as we in the hospitality and technology industries work to advance everything from artificial intelligence to big data and natural language translation to personalization and mobile-friendly technologies.

The challenges are exciting, but daunting. That’s why I am so proud to be part of the team here at DHISCO, which is dedicated to meeting the ever-evolving and fast-growing challenges that will continue to reshape the future of hospitality distribution, travel and our lives in general.

According to the World Travel & Tourism Council’s 2016 global economic impact report, the travel sector now supports 284 million jobs – one of every 11 jobs in the world. Technology sector employment is growing, too. In the United States alone, the IT sector employs an estimated 6.7 million workers and added 200,000 new jobs in 2015, according to Computing Technology Industry Association.

As the world’s leading hospitality distribution company, we are at the epicenter of these two key global industries, and we are committed to helping both reach their full potential.

As you have heard me say many times, our mission here at DHISCO is to connect the world, and this year we made great strides in achieving that goal.

We announced a host of new partners, from innovative startups in the West to travel companies old and new in emerging markets like the Middle East and Africa.

We also inked a partnership with Zumata, a Singapore-based hotel distribution and technology company working with IBM’s Watson project to advance artificial intelligence for personalized travel search and booking.

That partnership not only will help both of our companies – and our partners – expand their reach, but also sets the stage for future collaboration in developing next-generation technologies for the travel industry.

Additionally, in a year marked by big mergers in the hospitality industry, from Marriott’s acquisition of Starwood to Accor’s acquisition of the sharing economy service Onefinestay, we have been working to ease the growing need for travel supplier inventory by travel sellers around the globe.

As the number of players seeking to connect with hospitality companies grows, we are seeing increased demand for our one-to-many DHISCO Switch, which is helping suppliers ease what we call “direct-connect” fatigue. With the DHISCO Switch, we have been able to reduce the need for hotel companies to establish and maintain multiple connections to partners around the world by supplying online travel agencies and other travel sellers access to both cached and real-time rates and availability information with one simple connection.

These are just some of our contributions to meeting the needs of the fast-changing world of hospitality distribution. In the year ahead, we look forward to many more alliances and technological advances to keep you all connected to the world.

– Toni Portmann