All the articles about the changing world of travel you’ll find online? Our colleague Sabine knows how it goes in real life since she works directly with travel agencies every day. Take a seat next to her and she’ll tell you all about it.
You work with smaller and mid-sized travel agencies on a daily basis. How are they doing?
It’s quite the challenge, right? Competing with online services. Clients who have done their research and come asking for rates with prices in their hands, or specific information about a particular location. So respect to the agencies out there. It can be tough.
How can they stand out?
The key is niche, on the one hand. Personal, local expertise about a destination can make all the difference. Or specialisation in a particular kind of travel, like health and wellness trips, wonderful diving destinations, the best hidden golf courses or ethnically inspired travel.
You mean: people make the difference
Yes, expertise can ‘beat’ online research, really. Especially when you combine it with passion as a travel specialist and personal contact. And I’m sure your customer appreciates personal assistance should something go wrong.
Where does Amadeus come in?
Be where the competition is: you can’t afford to not adjust to online consumer behaviour; even when you’re a small or mid-sized agency. So we offer affordable online services: a mobile platform – Mobile Traveller by Amadeus, just to name one.
And, taking on a consultancy role, we can look into your agency and offer insight and strategic advice on how you could improve. Based on market data, for example. Training can make a huge difference too to improve your margins.
You can have it any way you want as an agency (smiles). Our aim is to be close by, with technology, with data, with strategy, with operational advice. That is what Amadeus is all about in the Benelux.
It’s a completely different Amadeus than the one I started with. You know, my career spans 25 years now here, and the change is amazing. How we’ve adapted to the world of travel, how our portfolio has evolved. One thing never changed, though: how well we are being taken care of as employees. (smiles)
What kind of traveller are you?
Oh, very eclectic. City trip, wide landscapes, anything works for me, if it does not involve too much action. Dubai is on my list for sure, since it’s so completely different. And South Africa, because almost everybody who’s been there says it’s one of the most beautiful countries in the world.
What’s your fondest travel memory?
Ha, my stay at a huge floating city, of course! I spent an amazing 2 weeks on a cruise around French Polynesia. Breath-taking scenery, beaches like you’re in paradise. Not to mention the cruise ship itself, with swimming pools, movie theatres – name it: it’s all there. Best holiday ever.
Would that make you a bon vivant?
I guess so – but not in the luxury sense of the word. I’m just trying to enjoy life to its fullest, at every moment, whatever may happen.
Who will we be travelling with next time?
Let’s hear from Stephane Grandjean, our Project Support Executive. With his experience, you can’t go wrong.
Care to link up?Find Sabine Leroy on LinkedIn here.
Account Executive Leisure & Online Sales