Gunnar Rieger manages operations and IT at the Lufthansa City Center headquarters in Frankfurt. And he is very good at it: the global consortium made up of over 650 travel agencies across 90 countries is growing steadily and has held its ground in the face of intense global competition.
We at Umbrella got very excited the first time we spoke to Gunnar about profile management. He recognised the value of clean client data and knows that you have to treat this valuable commodity with care. We also understood Gunnar’s ideas and visions from the get-go – in short, we just clicked.
In the following interview, learn more about LCC’s exciting profile data ideas and why Gunnar wants to holiday in Banff:
Gunnar, you recognised that profile management is a decisive strategic topic for LCC. What motivated you and what problems did you have to address?
A clean, complete customer profile is the central element of client management at LCC. And such profiles are needed in a growing number of systems: in addition to GDS, midoffice and OBE, they will soon be needed in our own front-end, which will also include a number of direct connections to providers.
We therefore had to look for a provider that really understands the ins and outs of the topic and who was in the position to link new systems quickly and effectively. We were not really happy with the large companies we looked at because they did not specialise in profile management and their processes were too complex.
But Umbrella is simply perfect for us. You are very fast, flexible and absolutely knowledgeable.
You have since implemented Faces under the name “LCC Profiles” across your business travel units in Germany. What was the biggest challenge?
Before we started, we thought that we had relatively clean profile data. However, this project clearly showed us that this was not the case.
We chose the tried and tested Umbrella method of first migrating all profile data and then cleaning it up in Umbrella. A good part of the data was cleaned up during the initial upload. The rest was done while the system was running, since Faces offers the right tools to do so. So we were able to finish the project quickly.
How do your customers profit from LCC Profiles?
All bookings are based on accurate data, meaning we can offer clients a perfect service.
LCC Profiles is also very exciting for clients who are active in several countries. In the future, we will be able to look after travellers in every LCC country through the common database and profile structure.
Will you eventually use LCC Profiles for leisure travellers too?
Yes, that is the plan. We will break new ground in order to offer our clients customised services and special offers. To do so, we will introduce a series of new apps and systems – and these will of course be linked to the LCC profiles.
Let’s talk about Gunnar Rieger as a person: Where did you grow up and where do you call home now?
You can certainly tell from my accent that I was born in the Swabia region of Germany and grew up in beautiful Friolzheim near Stuttgart.
But I have lived for a long time in the central Bornheim area of Frankfurt. And I love living here. Frankfurt has made a lot of positive changes in recent years. On one hand, you have the skyline which makes you feel like you are living in a cosmopolitan city; but Frankfurt is also unbelievably green and vibrant.
What do you like doing in your free time?
I am a passionate skier and mountain biker, a real mountain man. My girlfriend also really likes these things so it is easy to decide what to do in our leisure time.
Even if Frankfurt is not really a city in the mountains, the Feldberg mountain is quite close. It takes just 90 minutes to reach the peak by mountain bike. I like to do this whenever I can. The Feldberg is kind of like my free, 900-metre-tall gym.
Are the mountains at the top of your holiday plans?
Of course! A long skiing or biking trip in the Rocky Mountains is at the very top of our bucket list. I think Banff in Canada or one of the many great mountain resorts in Colorado would be really exciting.
Thank you very much for the great interview!