Fri, Oct. 7 at 11am ET / 8am PTSponsored By: Air Canada & United for Business
Tues., Oct. 11 at 12pm ET / 9am PTSponsored By: TripActions
Wed., Oct. 12 at 12pm ET / 9am PTSponsored By: Spotnana
Virtual Event - October 6, 2022
New York, NY - October 24, 2022
Washington Hilton, Washington D.C. - October 27,
London, UK - November 2022
Filter in or out as many as 200 cities, as well as hotel and car rental class and meals of the day and watch as the per-diem calculator automatically adjusts per diems to your program. Drill down into cost breakdowns and export the results.
Lufthansa’s SVP of global markets and stations Naeve discusses:
Lufthansa Group’s Frank Naeve on July 1 began his new
position of SVP of global markets and stations, which includes global sales, after
serving as VP of passenger sales for the Americas for the German company. He sat
down with BTN senior editor Donna M. Airoldi at the recent Global Business Travel
Association convention in San Diego to discuss his new role, sustainability at
Lufthansa and upcoming technology changes. Edited excerpts follow.
BTN: Congratulations on your new position. What are
the biggest changes for you so far?
Frank Naeve: The role was extended from what my predecessor
had, so it’s part of a reorganization. It encompasses the sales portfolio, so
the global markets, but also the global stations, and the ground operations are
part of that. [We are trying] to bring the customer experience in the field
organization into one hand, to use the knowledge that we have to offer a better
experience for our customers. So that’s a big change. I have some background in
operations, so it’s not completely new to me.
Another bigger change is I take responsibility for distribution.
What we heard [during GBTA] is that it remains one of the hot topics being discussed
with the corporate customer as well as travel management companies. That package
is very exciting and something I’m looking forward to tackle.
BTN: What plans do you have to do that?
Naeve: I’ve had a good experience spending the first
weeks just doing a lot of listening. That is why this event is such a great
opportunity … [and] from my former role in the Americas I have some customer input.
But then really listening to our customers and listening to the Lufthansa Group
and where we see potential and building on that. The core of the new organization
is really the customer, looking for ways to improve the customer experience,
but then to take all that input and make sure it is being considered and goes
into all the internal decision-making processes we have. That is the brief I
have from top management as well.
BTN: What do you already see as some of your biggest
Naeve: In the very short term, the operational issues
that have come up. Especially the month of July was very challenging. Nearly
all airlines had problems. We have tackled that with a clear plan. Part of that
is to make sure our capacity planning reflects the reality we are facing. We
have taken some flights out, and we will continue to make sure that what we are
planning is something that can be operated realistically. … August is running
much better. We seem to have turned a corner operationally, and we also are hearing
that from our customers.
As we come out of the pandemic, the whole issue of customer experience
is [a priority]. We’ve done a lot of work already in bringing back many elements
of the customer journey. Customers expect what they had before the pandemic. During
the pandemic, people were saying, ‘I know it’s a difficult time, so maybe the
catering doesn’t need to be as good, or the lounges maybe not open or the full
scope.’ That is gone now. Customers are saying, ‘OK, we are back to normal. We
want at least what we had before if not more.’ [All that is] part of my new
portfolio with the airport operations, the check-in process, the boarding
processes, the lounge quality—it’s all really important.
And then confirmed [during GBTA] is sustainability. When we
were here a year ago, there was a lot of talk about sustainability. But the
biggest difference is the discussions have become much more concrete on what we
can do. I think a challenge for the airlines is that many of our customers have
a somewhat different approach, depending partly on what industry they are in, partly
on the company policies, and therefore we need to be flexible.
BTN: Speaking of sustainability, you introduced a new
“Green Fare” on Aug. 2 in the Scandinavian market across your four carriers.
Naeve: It’s really just a test. Scandinavia is one
market where there is an affinity toward environmental topics, and we thought it
would be worth testing it. There is definitely a premium for that. But I would see
it as part of a bigger picture of what sort of offer can we make to B2C customers.
We have the Green Fare in Scandinavia, and already as part of our booking flow customers
can buy [sustainable aviation fuel]. So what sort of offer can we make to our customers?
In the same way, what can we offer to B2B customers—the corporate
travel managers? On the one hand, what options would allow them to better
inform their travelers [about sustainability] and on the other hand, maybe
though the purchase of SAF, what would allow them to meet their environmental goals
in terms of CO2 emission reduction?
[Green Fare] is part of a wider picture, in terms of how we
can have those products and see how customers react and their willingness to
buy. [We also have] pillars in terms of fleet modernization, SAF is an
important part of what we do, and then our CleanTech Hub where we have over 80
projects with innovative companies that allow us to come up with ideas, not
just CO2 reduction. The Green Fare was an idea that was discussed, and [we
tried] to be quick and test it out. It’s early days, and we don’t know how
successful it will be, but it’s something we are keen to work on.
reported Aug. 15, Lufthansa and Air Canada will extend benefits beginning
this fall from United’s Corporate Preferred program through your joint venture
across all the carriers. How will that change your corporate loyalty program?
Naeve: Corporate Preferred is something that we are
launching not just within the JV but also at Lufthansa. [We’re starting] with
those three elements and are looking to enhance our offer for corporate
customers. As an example, we are further developing our own tool, something
that is similar to [United’s] Jetstream. It’s a cornerstone of [how] to enhance
what we are doing. Within the JV, the important part is we are looking to add
layers to our offer that add value to our customers. Corporate Preferred is
basically a starting point. We are looking and have discussions with United and
Air Canada to add more value as a JV because it is such an important part of
the work we do across the North Atlantic.
BTN: How are contract negotiations going with corporate
clients? Is bundling coming up more, customer experience, New Distribution
Naeve: Yes, yes and yes. But it’s very dependent on
the corporate customer. I think the needs of the corporates in terms of the
elements of the contracts they have is probably changing. But it very much
depends on the corporation and industry they are in and requirements they have.
We are well positioned to be able to meet those requirements for international travel.
[For] domestic, we still are seeing potentially the need to extend for another
year because we heard from a number of customers the database to renegotiate
something through a [request for proposal] is still quite low.
BTN: Any technology changes on the horizon?
Naeve: We have an ongoing significant project to modernize
our [website]. Part of that project was to bring all the Lufthansa group
carriers onto one technological platform which is very important, then to allow
customers have seamless access to all the websites with one login. On top of
that, we are in a dedicated process of improving the features as they relate to
servicing issues, [like] the ability to rebook. We are investing in chat-bot technology
that allows more self-service features. We have a very clear plan and substantial
amount we are investing in term of upgrading our digital capabilities. Also, being
able to offer an improved customer experience with those digital services. It’s
one of the projects throughout the crisis that continued to have a high
The Global Business Travel Association unveiled a new brand at its annual convention in August, a sign...
Amex GBT global EVP of global clients and general manager for the Americas David Reimer spoke with BTN...
Concur Travel president Charlie Sultan sat down with BTN executive editor Michael B. Baker during the...