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Is who you travel with more important than the destination? Say hi to Hubert van Velden, Account Manager Online & Leisure Travel. In this series of monthly Amadeus Benelux portraits we put one of our colleagues in the seat next to you for a short trip.
You’re the first Dutch colleague in the seat here!
Well, we’re not that far away, are we? But visiting our Belgian offices coming from the Netherlands does indeed feel a bit like travelling every time. (laughs)
It’s the first time I work for a truly ‘Benelux’ organisation, and I can say there are some cultural differences. While we tend to be more direct, our Belgian colleagues are more welcoming. But the atmosphere is always great, wherever you visit Amadeus!
You’ve been travelling a lot long before you dived into Tourism studies
I have been to exotic places, that’s right. The Fiji and the Cook Islands, just to name a few. I have always been attracted to those countries where the conditions are tough, but people manage to live, well, well.
Take Australia, for example. That’s where the picture above was taken, near JimJim Falls in Kakadu National Park. Not exactly the most friendly environment for human beings, is it? But Australians are so welcoming, the quality of life is very impressive, and they’ve made it into a fine place to live. Fascinating.
Back to our side of the world. How did you end up at Amadeus?
I have only been here for a year, you know. I have worked in leisure travel before Amadeus, for various companies, including TUI and Kilroy travels. Even before my professional life, I was fascinated by all those data and codes that represented flights and transportation modes that could take you anywhere in the world. Amadeus turned out to be the engine.
While working in travel, Amadeus, I learned, has a solid reputation as an organisation that assists travel professionals in offering relevant services. We are known to build solutions that answer real challenges leisure agents and tour operators face. And we still do today: Amadeus really helps and inspires. Especially now we’re all going online.
You’re on the other side of travel now.
I have learned to see the needs of travel professionals before starting here, true. Our mission is, really, to take those needs and translate them with the right technology into the matching services.
Travel is so complex. So many data, so many requirements, so many facets. How do we not lose sight of the essence, of what distribution and travel IT really need, and stay within budget? Now there’s a challenge.
There are so many wonderful travel organisations in the Benelux, which I respect a lot. It’s great to be able to help them and be there for them.
So I feel very lucky to be able to work with people who have a genuine heart for travel. And I do mean colleagues, customers and so many professional organisations who, in challenging circumstances, enable people to travel every day.
Those are my daily heroes.
Are there typical Benelux travel challenges?
Apart from that fact that the Netherlands are ahead online, I’d say travel players here today wants to be able to inspire customers online and still differentiate themselves.
Speed is a factor: how easy is it to combine your unique offering with the right transportation modes, while informing your customer with accurate pricing and timing fast? We’ve got tools for that, like the Amadeus Smart IT Platform.
So that’s what we do. We keep in touch with what works at Amadeus around the world, and implement those best practices in the Benelux – and develop locally if possible.
Our total offering for all those hard-working travel professionals here.
That’s what makes me proud.
What’s your motto, Hubert?
Oh, I am not a man of great, wise insights (smiles). I just tend to go by “Everything will be all right.” Which, in most cases, really is true. Even when bad things happen.
What destination is on your to-visit list?
For me, it’s rather whom I’d like to travel with. Now that she’s grown, I’d love to take my daughter to Australia, or Peru, Bolivia, Argentina. South America is such a rich destination. Or Africa. Wherever she and my girlfriend can come along is fine.