I was at a meeting recently and we were discussing the year from a business perspective and the other person, talking about the performance of his business said "I am going to forget 2010 as a year, business was so poor". After the meeting I set to considering whether this applied to RDO, as we all know that economically across the Northern Hemisphere we have all been struggling out of the banking crisis, shoring up the euro and preparing ourselves for some years of austerity – no wonder that in Asia where things are considerably better, they refer to it as the" North Atlantic Disease!"
I digress, was 2010" a year to forget" for RDO? I think not and I hear you ask why is this, (apart from the obvious – ie if it was a year to forget should I still be Chief Executive?!).
I think the reasons are fairly apparent if you are an RDO member.
Firstly we have agreed to widen the activity of RDO to encompass brand awareness and the need to emphasise the security that can be obtained for the consumer in buying/dealing with an RDO member. Next year will see the start of UK TV advertising to back this up.
Secondly, we have managed to get the industry round the table so that developers are sitting down with the owners’ organisation (TATOC) to look at key issues facing the industry and ways of resolving them for the long-term .
Third, we have so far, overseen the implementation of the new Directive in the individual member states and where necessary managed to successfully put RDO’s case across in countries where governments have sought to deviate from the Directive. This task is not yet over but we remain reasonably confident that the legislation is well on track for 2011. All this despite a change internally in the way we handle lobbying.
Fourthly, with 5 websites running on the internet and various twitter accounts and blogs, we are starting to see the implementation of the strategy of using the internet to get our message across to the wider public and media. The need to bring this all under one clear management team has become apparent and this has been outsourced to an experienced and innovative IT group who will handle all of this in 2011.
Our policy of trying to use local national chapters such as Finland, Spain and UK to implement national policy will be further expanded 2011 in line with our declared policy and the UK brand awareness project agreed this year, is a manifestation of this.
We are starting to look at national alliances with other trade bodies as a way of enhancing RDO’s local standing. We do this in Germany already through the BTW and in Spain through the employer’s organisation CEOE. We intend to join the Tourism Alliance UK in 2011 and are looking at various other such opportunities across the EU.
No round -up of 2010 would be complete without mention of RDO1 in Marbella in October. Deemed by a vast majority of the delegates to be a success, with numbers exceeding our projections, this was a very positive barometer of the state of the industry despite the on-going financial crisis and I have lost count of those who have since come up to me to say they were sorry they missed the conference as they had heard how good it was! How very true!
Finally we always said 2010 would be a transitional year with various re-structuring costs and a static income and therefore would be a difficult financial year. I am glad to say that with some 2 weeks or so left to the year-end, it does look as though we have weathered this storm and have some exciting developments to look forward to next year.
That done, it just remains for me to wish all members a very happy Christmas and an exceptionally prosperous New Year!