Marc Will is the owner of Intertours, a modern, tech-savvy business travel agency in Frankfurt, Germany.
You see the Corona crisis as an opportunity and have chosen to take on the crisis head-on. What are the most important things currently happening in your company?
At the beginning of the crisis we of course needed a few days to let what was happening in the industry and the consequences it would have on us sink in. We questioned our business model and examined our authority in the market. And despite everything, we came to a clear conclusion: companies need both business travel and service providers such as Intertours to make travel management economical. With this understanding, we focused on three central issues:
For several months we have been the exclusive Travel Leaders partner for Germany. In a global and ambitious network with a “glocal” concept (act globally with local service), we offer international companies travel management solutions.
In recent years we have realised that there is a strong loss of confidence in existing tools and systems. Content is no longer centrally available, travellers often find better prices online, and therefore question the existing infrastructure. For this reason, we have invested heavily in multi-source content, including NDC and low-cost carriers, and connecting with high-performance suppliers. The savings potential has been recognised particularly by companies with high volumes and they have reacted very positively to our focus and the new technical possibilities.
We gained a very successful international travel management pro for Intertours – Thorsten Hild. With the current number of new projects on-going with internationalisation and our new technology, his expertise is helping us a lot. This will surely give us additional momentum.
You have recently begun to introduce Umbrella Faces. What are your expectations for the system?
In neighbouring European countries, we can see a certain focus on seamless integration of data, even in the SME sector. We want to start here and install a wide range of integration options, including for internal processes. Many innovative ideas and services are only possible with data interfaces – so Umbrella is a central part of our strategy.
In a few words: where does Umbrella need to develop (and why)?
Visual improvements => the UI is a bit outdated
The number of standard connectors (HR systems & expenses) needs to be increased significantly
It is now the middle of August 2020. Are you already seeing some recovery in the business travel sector?
We have seen good growth in numbers since May. The development was interrupted during the summer holiday time. To be honest, unlike in the scenarios we set up at the beginning of the crisis, we no longer assume that the market will be revitalised in August/September. From our point of view, we will certainly see low levels for another two to three months.
However, in contrast to booking numbers, we are seeing increased activity in the optimisation of travel management. Pilot tests are being performed here and new approaches are being tried out. We also see the future orientation of companies and the strategic importance of business travel – business travel will continue to create economic benefits.
How do you expect the situation will be at the end of the year and on to mid-2021?
For the market as a whole, we do expect a recovery effect and a social need to make up for lost time, which will lead to more business travel. We also see new business opportunities for making travelling during corona possible. Integrating negative corona tests into a digital process or providing corona warning information are developments that we will implement by then.
For us personally, we assume that we can more than compensate for the expected sustained losses due to lower travel, and certainly also the loss of individual customers, with new business – this outlook is essential to us.
Marc Will outside of work: what has been your most impressive travel experience to date?
Actually there are two: a self-planned USA tour and a Bali trip with a personal guide, because we got just incredible insights.