Interview with Andreas Schneider, Head of Kuoni Business Travel Switzerland
Hi Andreas, where do we catch you today? Zurich, Lugano, Geneva? Good question but you forgot to mention Uzwil our newest Location in Switzerland. And the answer for now is none of the above. I am currently in my very own office in my house in Mainz. My hotel of choice in Zurich has decided to close for December and early January due to very low bookings and so I decided to come for a last visit for this year at the end of November. I will be back mid-January and for now work remotely like everybody else. For a quick personal assessment… How many times did you start talking and were still on mute? Probably like everybody else way too many times but apart from this working remotely has given us all a lot of new found agility. Indeed it has. Can you please share some highlights and achievements of this year that you and your team have had and implemented? We started the year off very well with the implementation of NDC for anything that is booked via our Kuoni Online platforms. Kuoni was the first TMC in Switzerland to fully implement this new standard. Of course this was celebrated accordingly. We also implemented a fully automated visa process with Viselio. All our offices can handle this process and thanks to Viselio we can even offer our travellers access to a Covid test. We also completely upgraded our hardware and software to enable carefree working from anywhere. Our staff love the opportunities this creates for them. We have implemented Microsoft Teams and Microsoft Telephony. Any of my colleagues has access to any document ever created at any time via their mobile and their laptop. This is my view on empowerment. This enables a very fluid mix of working from home or working from the office. From an HR perspective this is a fantastic upgrade for our team. This sounds great and makes 2020 a not so bad year after all. Do you have any other topics you would like to share? Indeed I have more news for your readers. One of the first things I noticed when I took over from Serge Bacher was the importance of attention to detail and language. I am very happy to say that we can now offer 24/7 service in German, French and Italian. The main point being „at no extra cost“! Why? We wanted to take emergency topic out of a 24/7 availability. It is no emergency if you need to speak to a consultant after 6pm. It is just a necessity and we are very happy to cater to this necessity. We see it as a service. Thanks to our new and fully connected platforms everybody has access to everything at any time and emails that come in once our offices close for the day are worked on in our new service centre so that our customers get replies in due time regardless of day of the week or time. Wow this is indeed a first! 24/7 at no extra cost. Congratulations! Anything else to share? For now all I can say is that we have a fantastic piece of news that I will be happy to share in the next newsletter. We are testing a new product and the results are making the team very happy. The launch is set for March. I believe that is when your next quarterly newsletter goes out. Am I right?
Indeed you are. Thanks for catching up.