Henrik Kjellberg, CEO
Awaze is the new brand name for European Vacation Rentals, which formed last year when Wyndham Worldwide sold its European rental business to Platinum Equity for $1.3 billion. As CEO, Henrik Kjellberg oversees the Awaze group of brands including Hoseasons, James Villa Holidays, Cottages.com, Novasol and more. He will deliver a keynote session at Phocuswright Europe 2019.
In a series of interviews with executives participating at the event in Amsterdam in May, PhocusWire finds out what makes them tick...
What assumption about travelers have you found not to be true?
That you can make assumptions about travelers.
What was your childhood aspiration?
To be a fighter pilot. I mean, who wouldn’t want that?
Who is the person you most admire within the industry?
Barry Diller, chairman of Expedia. An incredible visionary.
What travel industry development or brand do you wish you'd thought of first?
I think the TripAdvisor reviews were an incredibly cool and novel concept when they launched. I wish I’d thought of that.
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If you weren't in travel, what company would you like to be part of and why?
Travel is such a cool industry, so everything else would be a downgrade. But if you force me - Spotify. I also love music, and I think their product is wicked.
What do you consider to be the most important invention in the digital world in the last 20 years?
The “airplane mode” button. I love all things digital, but human interactions are even better.
How do you stay inspired?
Exercise, read, meet interesting people.
Think back to five years ago. Did you envision this is where you would be?
I would have envisaged I would be in a similar role to this.
What’s the most interesting thing about you that we wouldn’t learn from your resume alone?
I am the eldest of seven siblings, whose name all start with H. I know, it’s odd.
If you woke up and had 2,000 unread emails and could only answer 300 of them, how would you choose which ones to answer?
Your inbox is not your to-do list. I probably shouldn’t be in my job if I get 2,000 emails a day. As [Amazon head Jeff] Bezos says, on any given day maybe you have three important decisions to make, so make sure you get those right.
Awaze CEO Henrik Kjellberg will give a keynote on the European vacation rentals sector at Phocuswright Europe 2019 - May 15 to 16 in Amsterdam.