By Anna Gouldman
These are busy times for Amadeus e-Travel. The e-commerce unit of Amadeus has recently released strong growth figures for 2004 - showing that year-on-year bookings through its Planitgo engine surged by 72 per cent over the past twelve months. Online travel bookings made through its Aergo system also surged by 76 per cent over the same period. There have also been changes at the top, with Jerome Destors taking up the new position of commercial director and being charged with the brief of working alongside Denis Lacroix, the product development director, to drive the future growth of the company. Breaking Travel News caught up with Klaus Goddard, Head of e-Travel UK, to talk travel.BTN: What differentiating factor distinguishes your business from its direct competitors?
KG: Amadeus e-Travel offers the only truly global corporate booking tool for corporations. A single, global platform is deployed in all markets worldwide and delivers global, as well as market-specific content. Coupled with our industry-recognised implementation and adoption expertise, Amadeus e-Travel is the only technology provider able to successfully deliver the solutions corporations are today demanding at both local and global levels.
BTN: What was the most positive aspect of 2004 for you?
KG: The release in early 2004 of the latest version of e-Travel Aergo, and a continuing programme of product enhancements helped generate growth of 76% in 2004. The initial results in 2005, indicate 2004 was a springboard to further success in 2005 and 2006.
BTN: How have recent world events affected your business?
KG: Travel remains remarkably resilient to all manner of external challenges. Today the tools available allow corporations and their travellers to make informed decisions based on these challenges in real-time.
BTN: Where will you go for new revenue stream in the coming months? Which regions are you looking to expand to?
KG: Amadeus e-Travel serves over 215 markets worldwide with new corporate business units having been recently formed to serve Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland, Spain as well as the Latin and South American regions.
BTN: Can you comment on the significance of offering corporations market-specific content and give some examples of how e-Travel actively accommodates such requirements?
KG: Even within the single European market, the corporate travel market differs widely from country-to-country. Amadeus e-Travel’s presence in all major markets worldwide ensures our products truly reflect local market needs and that emerging market trends and requirements are quickly identified and met. For example, 2004 saw the release of fully-integrated rail solutions in France and Germany, allowing corporate travellers to make side-by-side comparisons of all rail, scheduled air and low-cost carrier air fares in a single transaction. This trend will continue in 2005 with the release of further market-specific content for the Nordic markets, Germany France and the UK.
BTN: Can you comment on the health of the business travel industry from an e-Travel perspective? Why have corporations switched to online bookings now? How will e-Travel support this move?
KG: Despite the many challenges of the past few years, the corporate travel industry continues to offer many opportunities. This is especially true in the travel technology sector where online booking is helping to reduce the cost of a corporation’s travel programme whilst increasing their ability to proactively manage this programme. Amadeus e-Travel’s recent product investments of over EUR 20m combined with its extensive in-house delivery and implementation expertise and network of partnerships with key travel management companies, ensure these benefits are easily available to any corporation.
BTN: What are your goals for the immediate future and in the long term?
KG: Amadeus e-Travel will be continuing to invest in bringing the most comprehensive content and functionality to the corporate desktop. These will further enhance the end-user ‘experience’ as well as delivering even more sophisticated management tools to the corporation.