European Business: Egencia GmbH was established in 2006 and has become a preferred partner for travel managers and companies within a few years. What have been your greatest successes since the foundation?
Florian Storp: Over time, we have developed from a local start-up to a renowned global player. People were smiling at us at the beginning, but we have been able to prove our strategy of combining traditional travel management services with innovative IT solutions. For 20 quarters, we have been the fastest-growing company in the travel management industry with double-digit growth rates. Today, the Egencia group reaches annual revenues of five billion USD. In 2011, we received the Business Travel Award in Düsseldorf for innovations in the business travel industry. All this shows that we are on the right track.
European Business: The market complexity in the travel management industry is increasing and competition is growing, especially in the online segment. What is the secret of your success?
Florian Storp: Our aim is to take business travel management to a totally new level. The focus of our business activities is the traveler and not the company. Only a satisfied traveller is a motivated employee who achieves good results. Our solutions offer transparency, cost savings and service on a high level from a single source and win over the users with their attractive features. The employees have the opportunity to plan their business trips flexibly themselves. Booking a trip with Egencia is easy, efficient and mobile. With motivated and satisfied business travellers and a technology which guarantees the compliance with guidelines and complete cost control, we create a win-win situation for companies and their employees.
European Business: What are the attractive features of your travel management solutions?
Florian Storp: Our solutions allow travel management from the planning and booking to the accounting, offering different tools from a single source. We work with a travel booking platform which is based on Expedia’s technology and makes it easy to find flights, hotels, rental cars or rail options. We have a new app for iPad, iPhone and Android mobile devices called Egencia TripNavigator, which offers additional features such as online check-in, trip alerts, flight display, directions or mobile only deals. Perfect usability has been the focus of the development, and with our new app, the business traveler always carries his own travel agent.
European Business: But what about the traditional customer services?
Florian Storp: We strive to deliver an exceptional experience for every client and traveller. We combine our IT solutions with traditional travel management services and offer 24/7 first-level support to all our customers. Our travel consultants offer expert advice and excellent service, providing travel planning, alternative itineraries or enroute assistance to find the most efficient options available. We work with an intelligent call technology, which associates every incoming call with a client and his personal travel profile. This way, the business travellers can be personally addressed by our consultants.
European Business: How will the market develop in the future? Are there new trends?
Florian Storp: The digital age has changed the entire communication. Thanks to mobile devices and smartphones, communication is possible anywhere and anytime. Today, the question is not whether the travellers book online or offline but if they book online or via their mobile devices. The challenge is the transmission to mobile devices and perfect usability. We have an average online booking rate of more than 85%; this shows that our tools are used. We also support so-called short message services, which will be another focus in the future.
European Business: What are your strategies in the future?
Florian Storp: In our goal to take business travel management to a totally new level, we plan to further optimize and expand our technologies and solutions. We want to include additional features in the end-to-end process, eventually developing a door-to-door solution, where the business traveller only has to enter starting and destination point, and the system will offer different route solutions, including travel time and CO2 emissions. We are the fifth-largest travel management company in the world, but we strive to be the best provider, not the biggest one.
European Business: Mr. Storp, thank you for the interview.