Johan, you’re software engineer, but I’ve heard you’re a tour operator in your spare time
(laughs) Well, this year I am. With a group of 15 friends we’ve been going on holiday every year for the past 25 years now. And we take turns in preparing everything.
So I’m about to leave for Normandy and put together a trip for us to WW II.
What do you hope to find there?
For me, personally, visiting another country, or culture, is about those genuine Aha-Erlebnisse. Those moments when pieces fall into place.
It’s only when I visited the battlefields of Verdun I came to realize the vast scale of the first World War. It was a genuine global conflict with a huge impact across the decades that would follow.
I had collected bits and pieces of insight, you know, but being there in Verdun, is what helped me to make a whole of what I had learned about history.
What is your most memorable trip so far?
I spent some time in Moscow because I had to take a course for Amadeus. Amazing city – vast history, incredible cultural value, such beauty. So different from the stories that reach us in the West.
Of course, my Amadeus colleagues there showed me around. From enjoying a genuine Russian supper to discovering what it really means to live in Russia: it was such an enriching experience.
And for a huge part because of the different perspective you get when you’re there and meet people.
You sound like somebody who likes to prepare well
You get the most from your efforts when you come well-prepared (smiles). That goes for almost everything.
I am an opera-aficionado. Knowing the background of the work, being familiar with the libretto and understanding its contemporary interpretation makes for a truly wonderful evening.
Especially when it’s Wagner.
What does that mean for being a software engineer in corporate travel?
It means knowing your customer, the business, his concerns, and making the effort to listen. I aim to really see his perspective and then come up with a solution that makes his life easier.
For example. A Benelux customer of ours used to spend a lot of time to find the matching booking for his crew members. The admin that came with it involved copying and pasting data in a spreadsheet.
So we automated the admin part and made booking a lot easier with a user-friendly interface. Mission accomplished. A fine team effort.
You developed this specifically for this customer
Yes, I think custom development is the future, so to speak. It’s where we are headed, since it’s built in into our new Selling Platform Connect. It’s got Open Source technology integrated – a first for Amadeus, by the way.
Some 12 years ago, I worked for Rail in business travel. At that time it was quite ‘generalist’ as a solution.
We’ve been evolving towards custom solutions since then and see where we are today: more than 250.000 bookings last February.
Who can I book this seat for next time?
Please make a reservation for Olaf Leenders, our Operations Director.
Care to link up?Find Johan Vervoort on LinkedIn here.