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Hospitality Insights

A very merry Christmas from Harry and the Umi team

20 December 2021


If you know our Managing Director Harry, you probably know that he loves to talk. But he’s also great at writing inspiring words, so get ready for a long but lovely message from Harry:

Well, there we are. Another bananas year.

If I had to sum it up, I’d probably go with ‘cautious defrosting’.

Throughout 2021, we oiled our chain and started, cautiously, to peddle again. The momentum was building beautifully and we hadn’t experienced growth like it since Covid and, while slightly hampered by the rise in prevalence of Omicron, I am still incredibly optimistic and excited for 2022.

We find ourselves closing out the year at full-tilt as an agency. All that peddling has now got the wind rushing through our hair again as we push through the gears of hiring, taking on new projects and some fantastic internal innovation.

We are very lucky to have kept the headcount at Umi and have two recent development hires with a new designer and marketing person joining soon.

When I reflect on the year, the standout memories for me are those first international guests making bookings, the steady introduction of welcome-back marketing spend, the at-home food boxes selling from hotel kitchens, winning innovation awards, and the amazing new hotel concepts being launched to shine a light on how hopeful the industry still is.

I also think of training new developers and interviewing amazing people that used lockdown in creative ways. I have enjoyed getting back in the office with an end to furlough and cautiously travelling to amazing hotels for meetings.

On the flip side, I’m also reminded of the fact that coming down a mountain is often as treacherous as going up. For many in our industry, the staffing issues and the looming variants pose a very real scare and it’s important we all still remain grounded.

Business rollercoasters aside, I am just so lucky to have spent a year with the most amazing team that I can call my friends as well as colleagues.

I’m grateful for everyone’s empathy in difficult times and shared enthusiasm in exciting times.

Finally, this year has thrown into sharp relief the huge importance of being kind – and not being a dick. The tougher things become, the more we need to use our empathy to get through. There are those that haul each other over the coals and those that see the bigger picture. The relationships we have now are with the latter and long may that continue.

Life and work is a marathon and not a sprint. This year my Christmas glow will come from the pride I have in our relationships and the team I’m blessed to work with. Umi has never been about being a flash in the pan, and the resilience we have shown through Covid is a testament to that.

Agencies come and go. They make a splash, receive funding, pivot, disappear. Everything I am trying to achieve at Umi grounds itself in the long term. I want Umi to be the go-to digital partner and I want it to stay that way for years to come.

Have a very Merry Christmas everyone and bring on 2022.

Harry Fielder
Managing Director, Umi Digital

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