Phocuswright Europe 2020 preview: Out of Office with… Monika Wiederhold

Monika Wiederhold, Amadeus

Monika Wiederhold is managing director of Amadeus Germany and executive vice president Airlines Central and Eastern Europe at Amadeus IT Group. Previously, she served as senior vice president of Travel Channels Retail for the NECSE markets (Northern, Eastern, Central and Southern Europe) in addition to role as managing director.

In a series of interviews with executives participating in the online event in September, PhocusWire finds out what they have learned from the COVID-19 crisis.

Knowing what you know now, if you could go back to the start of the coronavirus crisis, what would you do differently?

Certainly, I would accelerate even faster to push for touchless and frictionless solutions along the whole travel chain for the traveler, from check-in to bag drop and boarding at the airport, but also in hotel environments and other parts of the journey. Biometric technology can significantly transform travel in this respect, reducing the friction caused by physical touch points while prioritizing safety.

And I would certainly invest earlier in a comfortable office chair at home…

What have you learned from this time about the way you’ll manage and communicate with your team moving forward?

Information is key – and quick access to information becomes even more important in a crisis. With this in mind and together with my team we have established more frequent touch points for maintaining regular contact either through fully virtual staff briefings, replacing emails by phone/video calls whilst keeping informal digital slots – from coffee breaks to a virtual sundowner internally but also together with customers.

What do you miss the most about travel?

Both for business and leisure travel I really miss meeting people – friends, customers, new cultures…

What have been the surprise benefits to not traveling?

It was amazing how fast everybody adapted to a full digital work style including negotiating, learning and even having virtual coffee breaks. And I had time for a daily morning run.

What lasting changes will there be to you personally from this time?

I will keep the daily sports routine and continue to enjoy my kids’ new capabilities to cook lunch. But of course, a lot of the digital working style will stay for good and I am happy to enjoy the efficiency as a result.

What’s been your one guilt pleasure during lockdown?

In order to bring a little color and good humor to my home office workplace during this challenging time, I allowed myself a brightly colored gamer keyboard, which I now have to defend every day against my totally enthusiastic children.

Keynote: Sustainability – What Now?

The air is cleaner and the birds are singing. Some are calling for a permanent change in behavior as we witness an improved environment with fewer people traveling. Has the coronavirus pause signaled a new direction for travel and sustainability? As the industry restarts, how can we find a balance?

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