The ACTE Column: Keep on running

The business travel world can take plenty of inspiration from Team GB.

2012 - WHAT A FANTASTIC YEAR to be British. A great year to truly stand tall on the world stage. The Queen's Diamond Jubilee shone a brilliant spotlight on the tradition and history that defines us, displaying glittering pageantry and uniting diverse communities across the country with street celebrations. We had a British Wimbledon finalist to showcase our growing sporting brilliance and, just weeks later, London's enthralling Olympic Games was showered with international praise as a tremendous success on many levels.

At last we could forget the media's carping about cost, politics and congestion and simply celebrate Team GB's creative achievements and sporting prowess. While the tabloids constantly feed us negative images of our culture and tell us of our nation's failures, millions of people all around the world watched a spectacular opening ceremony where Danny Boyle took the opportunity to remind us all just of how much we have to be proud of.

We are recognised globally for our humour and artistic creativity though music, popular culture and architecture. We created the industrial revolution and social reform. Even the man who has fundamentally changed the world as we know it over the past few decades by inventing the world wide web, Tim Berners-Lee, is a Brit.

John Major's government launched the National Lottery in the 1990s and, as a result of the investment in sport funding through lottery grants, we now have a legion of world-class athletes whose talents have been discovered and nurtured, many of whom delivered extraordinary sporting achievements.

With a phenomenal haul of medals in relation to the size of our tiny country, several generations have been inspired by so many positive new role models. Many of our medal winners are just normal people from humble origins who simply believed that success was possible through sheer grit, hard work, commitment, focus, teamwork and determination.

And it doesn't end there. The Games' legacy has created world-class training facilities and built lasting infrastructure improvements, including a new rail connection - it really does now only take seven minutes to travel from King's Cross to Stratford on the Javelin train.

These are all timely reminders to take back to the business travel industry. As we continue to work through the minefield of challenges we face due to the fall-out of financial turmoil, we should remember that our creativity knows no bounds, and our tactics should change with the race conditions around us.

We must continue to invest in the next generation of new talent. Frequently companies play for short-term quarterly-gains, but investment in business strategy and development requires us to look further forward and play a tactical long game.

The business travel elite will constantly evaluate market conditions and share tactics with peers, and ACTE has several upcoming opportunities to share and learn about business travel strategies. There are educational events in London on September 18, at the Grange City Hotel, and on November 8 at the London Grange Tower Bridge; and the ACTE Global Education Conference will take place in Rome, October 14-16. Be in good company - join us!

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