Mieke De Schepper, EVP, Amadeus IT Group
Mieke De Schepper joined Amadeus IT Group in January as executive vice president of online travel companies and managing director Asia Pacific. At Phocuswright Europe 2019, she will take part in the panel Lessons, Insights & Truths from Asia.
In a series of interviews with executives participating at the event in Amsterdam in May, PhocusWire finds out what makes them tick...
What's the one travel mistake you see people making more than anything else?
For me, it’s trying to replicate the experience of influencers and curated "must-see" lists when visiting a new place. The joy of travel is the beauty of discovering the road less frequented, that great experience that you stumble upon or that local, off-the-beaten-track restaurant that you weren’t sure about trying.
Do you agree with the often-used phrase, "travel planning is broken"?
I do not think of travel planning as broken, nor do I think it is perfect. There are a lot of opportunities for travel sellers to set themselves apart from others and offer the traveler a more personalized experience.
With the digital revolution, there is so much information at the palm of a traveler’s hand, with travel options to suit every type of preference. While convenient, too much information also provides challenges as to which source to trust on quality, price and service.
What is the most critical component of your business (apart from its people, technology and customers)?
Apart from people, technology and customers, it is content and data. We need to ensure that we have the right content in a way our customers need it, at the speed they need it, while enabling providers to optimize this with data.
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This year will be a pivotal year for our NDC-X program with NDC content being made available in both our Web Services and Selling Platform Connect solutions. We are focused on bringing agencies the broadest range of travel content all in one place - including air, accommodation, rail, mobility, insurance and destination - so that travel agencies can create unique journeys, provide the best service at all times and enhance their profitability.
What single thing could improve the airport experience more than anything else?
Being traveler centric. I believe time wasting is the biggest frustration for every traveler, especially frequent travelers like me - from security and immigration, to the repetitive nature of filling in forms.
What is your proudest professional achievement?
My time at Philips where we spent many months working with the Singapore government to implement LED streetlights across the island. The similarities to the air industry are quite interesting when thinking back to that time, where we were in a state of disruption with the LED. Rather than fight the change, we recognized the opportunity it could provide to our customers.
What’s the most interesting thing about you that we wouldn’t learn from your resume alone?
I absolutely love to sing and dance…but not always with an audience.
What do you do to alleviate stress?
I believe sleep is absolutely key. I like taking baths at night to decompress, especially when I am on the road. And I always have my music on when in transit. Music gives me a bit of a cocoon when going through airports and cities. When possible, I like to practice yoga, and a glass of wine also helps a lot!
Describe your desk and working environment.
Digital, digital, digital. I love the new ways of working that technology enables. I never use my desk, I am either meeting with people in person or via video calls, many of which I do from home. I travel a lot as I firmly believe in being as close to our customers as possible, so the reality is I get most of my work done on the plane.
When is the last time that you wrote a letter?
Last August when I attended a personal development program, the Hoffman process. It was a letter to myself and my coach who had recommended me to go there.
Do you have a favorite type of aircraft to fly in?
One that has welcoming staff and serves healthy food.
Lessons, Insights & Truths From Asia
A look through the lens of global brands that have built up strong businesses in Asia and at their mistakes and experiences.