Surprise, Michael: your holiday pic is the first one here that is not about nature
Ha, true. I’m all for city trips. That’s because I’m a movie buff, and I like to visit places where actual scenes have been shot. Like my picture here. So we visit the US a lot. This year, we’re off to Miami.
Is that Brooklyn Bridge, New York City?
Close. It’s Manhattan bridge. It features on the poster of “Once upon a time in America”, a classic crime masterpiece by Sergio Leone. I like to look for that place where the actual shot has been taken, you know, same location, same angle.
That’s why we visited Elysian Park in LA too: there’s a scene in Terminator 2 where the exact spot we saw is transformed into a nuclear war zone. It’s wonderful to stand there in real life and take it in.
What is it that draws you to cities?
Every city has its very own secret vibe; and it’s wonderful to discover what it is. It can be distant, cold, or free, or very relaxed.
What is NYC’s vibe, then?
I guess it’s the huge contrasts. It’s incredibly busy and overwhelming, and it can be very relaxing at the same time. It’s like, here’s your coffee, sir, you have got 10 seconds to drink it, and in Central Park, everyone is taking it easy. It’s wonderful to sit there next to New Yorkers on Sunday.
New York City is a world, a universe on its own. And there’s so much you recognize from movies.
Would you share those moments on social media?
Oh, definitely. And I appreciate social apps giving me advice, on where to go, where to eat, or where to get a drink. That’s very positive.
Yet, travellers do not only use social media to share nice moments
I understand why travel professionals would be hesitant to ‘get social’. I see people not knowing how to handle negative feedback, sometimes, and I see why that would be hard.
But along with technology, social media are a fact. And even when feedback is negative, you’d have something to work with; something to learn from. It keeps you alert. Look at how Telecom operators handle complaints: they win by being open about how they solve issues.
And travel professionals should do so too?
KLM already does, right? The trick is to use technology and still add your personal touch. That is crucial. Technology is a fact, it helps us save time, work more efficient, connect data, but it’s nothing without personal expertise.
That is how travel agencies can still make a huge difference today. Customers may be better informed, use online tools, come and see you as better informed travellers: but your specific knowledge of a country, or a region can make you stand out.
People may book online, but how ‘close’ is that hotel exactly? What places should you visit; what’s going on when you get there: that expertise makes all the difference, and it can’t be replaced by online tools.
How does that affect your daily responsibilities as Solution Services Consultant?
Every project needs a custom, personal approach. That’s where our team comes in. From assessment and start to implementation and roll-out: we see how our solutions have to be adapted to our customer’s environment, and we guide everyone through that process. That’s the only way today to get optimal results for everyone involved.
Who’s in this seat next time? Is he or she on Twitter?
Talking about social media: in travel b2b it’s even harder. So I’d like to hear from our Marketing Director Christine how she’s handling that for Amadeus. And, yes, she’s on Twitter.
Care to link up?Find Michael Franken on LinkedIn here.
Solution Services Consultant