Growing Up In The Travel Industry
Thomas Kümpel, Senior Business Consultant
Speaking the travel language
When I finished my education, I started working as a Travel Consultant for Carlson Wagonlit Travel. It was quite a natural choice for me, since I pretty much grew up in the Travel industry! At some point, the decision was made to implement a new Mid and Back Office system for the company. I was part of the implementation project team, and I worked closely with the software vendor. At this point, my career took a turn, and I got an opportunity to combine my passion for the Travel industry and my passion for implementation.
Being a Travel Consultant for 10 years, I have experienced what it is like to go from manual processes to an automated system first-hand as an End-user – which means that I understand what our customers are going through. Naturally, our customers can also sense this, and they appreciate that I speak their lingo. It creates a relationship based on trust and respect. We are not just “a jacket and tie” walking into their travel agency with generic ideas on how they should run their business, without having any idea about what they do.
Working with Travel Agencies
I think every industry is different from each other, although they also have many things in common – whether they agree or not! But people in the travel industry tend to be open to new cultures, enjoy travelling and overall just being more open to the world. The Travel industry is lively! They sell dreams. Their customers are not their customers out of obligations; they are there because they want to be there, because travelling makes them happy.
It’s mostly a happy business. When it’s about travelling, you can get excited about spending time with your family, about the destination itself, it can spark conversations with other people who have been there, it just gets people talking! It is not boring. Everyone deals with similar technical issues – printers that never work, computers that lag or a computer mouse that keep disconnecting, so that’s definitely not something that sets the Travel industry apart… No, what I really enjoy is being around people selling happy products.
Working at TravelOperations
I got the opportunity to get on board with TravelOperations right from the very beginning – and I have never regretted my choice. This company was focusing on AX and the Travel industry: the two things I am passionate about. When I started at TravelOperations, it was a rather small company. We have grown a lot since then! One of the greatest parts of working here is that I am part of shaping the company both on the administrative side and on the product side. I am very proud of where we have taken the company so far, and I hope that we will keep on taking it much further.
Of course, the whole team is also a great part of working here. For example, I learn a lot from Michael, our General Manager. He brings a lot of ideas on the solutions, and I am usually very well aligned with his ideas. I am overall surrounded by nice people, and this is very important for me. I am really happy to work with my colleagues, and there is no one in the company that I wouldn’t want to work with. We trust each other – both on a professional- and personal level! This really makes my workday very, very nice.
My Business Family Trip
One of my best travel experiences must be my trip to Australia in 2014. It was actually both a business trip and a family holiday. Peter, our Lead Solution Architect, and I went to our office in Brisbane for 4 months to do a product validation for a customer. We brought our families, and it was incredible to not only work with a customer on another continent, but also get to share this experience with our families! Now, we can talk about all of this as a family, and these are great shared memories.
On the professional level, it was very intensive on weekdays, but it was also extremely rewarding. I got to work full time with a company who had great interest in us personally and in our solution. I made friends who are still an important part of my life today, and the entire experience played a big role in shaping my career.
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