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Amadeus Targets Greece With New Initiatives

Amadeus, a leading provider of technology to the travel and tourism industry, said “we will make a difference in Greece” during an overview of their IT solutions and future strategy at a media event for journalists from the Central, Eastern and Southern European region at the company’s headquarters in Nice, France.

Juan Antonio Carrasco, director of markets in Central, Eastern and Southern Europe, focused on Amadeus’ clear strategy for the future and its impact on the CESE markets.

Frederic Bessis, Amadeus' vice president of products and strategic planning spoke of the emergence of new business modes since airlines are feeling a constant pressure on their margins caused by the increased competition, the high fuel costs, the strong consumer pressure and the increased cost of IT infrastructure. Mr. Bessis referred to "bad times for the airline industry" due to the oil crisis and produced for the audience a chart that predicted a fall for the overall airline industry in 2009.

Frederic Bessis, Amadeus’ vice president of products and strategic planning spoke of the emergence of new business modes since airlines are feeling a constant pressure on their margins caused by the increased competition, the high fuel costs, the strong consumer pressure and the increased cost of IT infrastructure. Mr. Bessis referred to “bad times for the airline industry” due to the oil crisis and produced for the audience a chart that predicted a fall for the overall airline industry in 2009.

Mr. Carrasco informed attendees about the company’s 2008 position in which Amadeus produced a 76 percent market share in Central Europe and a 78 percent market share in Eastern Europe.

“On the other hand, our Southern Europe market share (60 percent) is low mainly due to the excessive competitive market in Greece,” stressed Mr. Carrasco.

When asked by GTP what future plans Amadeus has in store for the Greek market, Mr. Carrasco underlined that he has high hopes for Greece as already over the past eight years Amadeus’ share in the market grew from 15 percent to 40 percent with rapid speed.

“We will make a difference in Greece, which is one of our future targets, as we have a series of initiatives planned such as online solutions to deploy revenue management,” he said.

According to Mr. Carrasco, Amadeus’ success in the CESE region has been forged based on three pillars: forming partnerships with the travel and tourism industry and technology players; using their technology to bring the travel industry to the next level of efficiency and service to the customer; and their presence across the region with 18 Amadeus offices in the region that serve 32 countries in CESE.

Guiallaume Kozinski, business solutions manager for CESE, told GTP that Amadeus used to have a good presence in the Greek market but then was impacted by the incentive “GDS war.”

Mr. Kozinski said that Amadeus took a very courageous decision five years ago, as the company invested in solutions, rather than financing the war, which today has proven to be a winning strategy.

“We want to be in Greece and it’s not a question of money but it’s a question of being perceived as a company that offers the solutions expected by the market,” he said.

Mr. Kozinski said that besides the GDS competition, Amadeus is also fighting against third-party companies such as hotel inventory providers, tool solution providers, etc.

“We have a long-term vision to enter the value chain for the travel agent not only via our online presence but as well as providing back office solutions, everything that involves the management of a travel agency,” he said.

Another initiative of Amadeus, to take place over the next three years, is to add more hotel content to the GDS as the company sees the Greek hotel business as the biggest opportunity for them.

Andrew Owen-Jones, Amadeus' managing director of TravelTainment, the company's leisure group, said that travel sellers are facing the increased competition from the online and/or direct channel and need to be able to offer a diverse range of leisure travel products to satisfy customer demands and open up to new revenue streams. He provided an overview on the leisure industry from the providers' and sellers' point of view and presented Amadeus' clear strategy and IT solutions for this segment.

Andrew Owen-Jones, Amadeus’ managing director of TravelTainment, the company’s leisure group, said that travel sellers are facing the increased competition from the online and/or direct channel and need to be able to offer a diverse range of leisure travel products to satisfy customer demands and open up to new revenue streams. He provided an overview on the leisure industry from the providers’ and sellers’ point of view and presented Amadeus’ clear strategy and IT solutions for this segment.

“In 2009 we will invest in innovative solutions to provide more hotel content available for recreational agents to offer a wider range of hotel types,” said Mr. Kozinski.

Among Amadeus’ plans to adapt to the Greek market is to add “sophistication” to their online platform.

“Greece’s market is much more sophisticated than big markets like France and Germany as it is very fragmented,” said Mr. Kozinski.

In addition, Mr. Kozinski also pointed out that this past year Amadeus was not producing as expected in the Greek online business as it has many differences compared with that of Western Europe.

“We are now taking off with big players like the online travel agency pamediakopes.gr and we want to capitalize with this success and break into the market next year,” he concluded.

Designed under the name ‘A clear direction for the future’ the event enlightened journalists on the evolution of Amadeus over the last 20 years -from a global distribution system to an IT provider and partner- and how Amadeus envisions the challenges and the future of the travel and tourism industry.

About the Author
Nikos is Greek-American born in New York, USA, and has lived in Greece for over 30 years. He is the managing editor of Greece's leading monthly travel and tourism guide, the Greek Travel Pages (GTP) since June 2008 and of news site GTP Headlines since its launch in September 2012. Nikos has also served as international press officer for the City of Athens and for the mayor. He has a degree in Mass Media and Communications, specializing in Journalism. Nikos is a native English speaker and speaks Greek fluently.

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