A Spanish meal. Seeing other people happy. Working as a genuine team. For Veva, our Finance Manager, you don’t have to look too far to find things that make you content. It’s what she took home from an amazing stay on Cuba, and she’ll tell you all about it while she’s in the seat next to you.
Finance and travel: how did that happen?
I started alone, here in finance. (laughs) A lot of the admin tasks were outsourced back then – mind you, that’s more than 20 years ago. So you could say I entered Amadeus when there were a lot of opportunities.
Today, our finance team counts 8 specialists. We have a tight schedule, with strict deadlines to meet, and reporting to be done to our HQ in Madrid. That can be stressful. But we work together really well, and that makes work a true pleasure, and something to look forward too.
I could say that that is what I’m most proud of here at Amadeus, how our finance department has evolved, seeing it grow. But it was and still is a team effort. So I’m not taking the credit.
We’re celebrating our 30th anniversary, so you’ve seen the change happen first hand. How did travel and we evolve over the years?
Over the past 20 years, our playing field has changed fundamentally. With that, our focus has widened and our product portfolio has become much more varied and complex. Which means more complex finances too. (smiles)
Take business travel, for example, where we offer a complete travel and expense solution now. Or our mobile services. We have taken on a consultancy role too, for a wide range of travel professionals. We’re there for everyone in travel, not just the travel agents anymore.
For me, this is a chance to continue to learn and develop myself. A wonderful journey. Our field changes rapidly, there’s a lot to catch up with – fiscal rulings, just to name one. We all need to keep our skills and knowledge up to date. That’s what I love about my job.
It’s August, the sun is shining. Did you go on vacation yet?
Yes, we did. Every year we spend some time at the Belgian coast with friends we know from way back. Now that we all have children, it’s getting quite the group to cook meals for (laughs), but it’s a wonderful time, and I look forward to it every year.
Any other destinations on your list?
Anything, if it’s not too European. I have travelled a lot to European countries, so getting to know a place that is very unfamiliar, is exciting. South-Africa or Tanzania are on my list, I’d love to go on safari.
It’s what I loved about my stay on Cuba, some years ago. It’s so different. And it offers a confronting perspective on our lives. How come people there have such a ‘joie de vivre’ despite the conditions they live in? Our guide was a university lecturer, but she made more as guide, so she switched jobs. That makes you think.
We take so much for granted. So I try to take that home with me. I’ve come to realise that simple things make me happy. Being with the people you love, seeing a twinkle in their eyes. And enjoying a fine meal. (laughs) A Spanish one, preferably.
If you could make something happen in the world of travel that is not yet available today, what would it be?
Perfectly safe travel. We already offer applications to track and alert people who might be in unsafe areas. But taking this several steps further, that would be something I’d look forward too. But maybe you would like to discuss this with Sabine Leroy, our Account Executive for Leisure and Online Sales? We’ve been colleagues for more than 20 years, so I can put in a good word for you!
Care to link up?Find Veva Smismans on LinkedIn here.