GetThere today announced a senior European appointment to lead the company’s expansion plans in France. Tony Mikkelsen joins as senior sales director, France and southern Europe, from EMC2 Computer Systems, where he was e-business development director for southern Europe.
Before joining EMC2 in December 2000, Mikkelsen was sales and business development director of TERMA AS, an IT systems integrator and service company with offices in Europe, Asia and North America. He was responsible for all outsourcing and managed IT service activities across Europe, and managing director of the company’s Italian subsidiary from its creation in 1996.
Mikkelsen is a Dane who now lives in Paris with his French wife. He is fluent in French, English, Danish and German and is proficient in four other European languages.
Mikkelsen’s appointment follows that of Ludger Bals in Germany in March this year, and points to GetThere’s steady growth in Europe and commitment to local customers. The company has consistently reported quarter-on-quarter bookings growth in Europe since early 2002 and says European business travellers are booking an increasing number of trips online, despite a global downturn in business travel.
Richard Adams, GetThere vice president and European general manager, said France was an important market for growth.
“We have established ourselves as the market leader in the United Kingdom and we have made impressive inroads in Germany. Breaking into the French market is a key step in growing our presence in Europe still further. It’s another demonstration of our commitment to the region and to the business travel community here,” Adams said.
GetThere will target large French companies, as well as the French subsidiaries of existing customers. It will also work with travel management companies (TMCs) to offer the GetThere self-booking option to corporate customers. Adams said TMCs were increasingly offering their customers a self-booking option, as they try to focus their consultants on complicated travel requirements that generate higher fees.
GetThere operates in conjunction with any company’s travel agency. Bookings made online are routed to the travel agency, who then issues the tickets. It is compatible with every global distribution system (GDS) and can be used by any company, regardless of the GDS that its travel agency uses.