We spoke with Achim about his role, experience in travel and technology, and his approach to customers. Here is what he had to say:
Could you please tell us about you and your journey in travel tech?
I have been working in travel and technology for more than 20 years now, first building the Online Fulfilment Centre of an OTA in Germany, then moving into the world of GDSs. I worked 15 years at Sabre in different management roles (Customer Support, Sales Central Europe and Nordics, Marketing and Business Development) based in Germany, the US, and the UK.
I joined Infare in May 2018 as Director of Global Business Development & Sales Steering. Today, as Vice President Global Sales, I am responsible for all Sales, Account Management and Support teams. Customer centricity has always been vital in all my roles and very important to me. I firmly believe that we can only be successful if we stay close to our customers and treat our relationship as an interactive partnership.
How do you reflect on the Infare journey since you joined?
Since 2018, we have been able to keep our industry footprint growing. We have launched innovative products that have helped our customers grasp even better insights and digest an incremental amount of data.
Despite the worry, the crisis generated by the global pandemic has had the benefit of demonstrating our resilience. As an agile company, we quickly adapted to the new market conditions. We developed unique views and data aggregations to help airlines protect their business profitability and recover from the crisis. The quality of our data remained strong and is further improving. So is our customer support service, which has sustainably been rated as excellent by customers.
How would you describe your role and responsibilities? What do you enjoy most about your job?
Being responsible for Sales, Account Management and Support we are engaging with our customers on multiple levels, accompanying them not just during the sales process, but even more importantly, building a robust and trustworthy partnership.
I very much enjoy spending time with our clients via phone, video conferencing and, when possible, in person. I am a firm believer that business is not done between companies but between people. It is very satisfactory to see how our partners use our services, grow their business with our help, and spend creative time together to develop new ideas.
The pandemic has had a significant impact on airlines. How has this translated into the relationship between airlines and Infare?
When the crisis hit, a lot of uncertainties emerged. We were genuinely concerned about what it meant to our industry and our airline customers particularly. Thankfully, our products and services remained of utmost importance for our clients to observe market conditions, competition, routes planned and flown, etc.
Our existing partnerships became even stronger as we listened to emerging needs and quickly acted upon them.
Market Trends is a perfect illustration of this. We launched the product in the Spring of 2020 as a visual analytics tool to provide unique competitive airfare, demand and macro-economic data, vital to navigate through the turbulence.
We also launched Premium Data, which provides more detailed information for an O&D. We became the preferred supplier for quite a few new start-up airlines that needed historical and forward-looking data to build their strategy.
Last but not least, we also developed new internal tools for Sales, Account Managers and Supporters to consult customers better in the crisis with optimising subscriptions and contracts.
How have you seen your customer base develop in terms of demographics and use of data?
Infare´s customer base has historically been diverse, but most of the business is driven by our airline customers. Especially the airlines have and are showing a constantly growing appetite for more competitive travel data to make smart business decisions. Therefore, we permanently enhance our data, making it richer and easier to read in our business intelligence solutions as well as the other tools our airline customers choose to import our data into. Our agile development approach includes customers early in the development process to ensure our services and products stay relevant.