TRAVELPORT PROJECTS AT UMBRELLA
Travelport’s origins date back to 1971. Nowadays, the headquarters in Langley, Berkshire (UK) report annual revenues of over 2.3 billion US$.
Umbrella and Travelport have been collaborative partners for many years. We have asked Travelport’s Michael Kuptz about the company’s focus for the future, the importance of profile management for a GDS and, of course, also about his private life and hobbies:
For us as a small technology company, the GDS market seems like a clash of the titans. What sets Travelport above the rest of the competition, and where do your priorities lie?
We have left the classic GDS business model behind and transformed Travelport into a powerful platform. If you are curious to see what exactly this means, click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3EzxBbYZAEI
This approach has already led to some developments that benefit travel sales. Here in particular, Smartpoint and the Branded Fares & Ancillary Services platform are worth noting:
Smartpoint because with the user-friendly graphical interface we have created completely new possibilities for highly efficient consulting and booking.
The Branded Fares & Ancillary Services platform because with their help, additional services can be found and booked quickly and easily – not only at the travel agency, but also online. Then there are our investments in the mobile sector. We will soon present new solutions and expand our product portfolio.
Last but not least, there is something that our Travelport team is especially proud of: our relationship with our customers. Again and again, we hear how satisfied they are with our service readiness and that we understand and accordingly implement their requirements and needs. That doesn’t just make us happy, it motivates us, too.
A number of renowned travel agencies use Umbrella Faces, together with Travelport/Galileo, including Kuoni in Switzerland, BTU in Austria and Clarity in the UK. As a GDS provider, what are the benefits of using a profile management tool?
We are very pleased with the extremely positive response in the market. For me, the big advantage of profile management with Umbrella Faces is clearly the integration of the profiles in an agency’s workflows, i.e. in Smartpoint, where the profile can be called up and processed.
Agencies benefit from the top quality of the profile data they get from Umbrella Faces. Manual rework is rarely necessary, which makes Umbrella Faces more efficient and faster at the counter.
We have also implemented some “special projects” with Travelport. You were personally involved in the development of the interface between Umbrella and the RailMaster. What is the advantage of this interface for your customers?
That was indeed an exciting project and I was happy to take the lead. The integration of client profiles from Umbrella Faces has the advantage for our customers of being automated, integrated and processed in RailMaster’s processes in real time.
That is much faster than manual entry and there are of course no typos or false entries. All in all, we have thus been able to expand the functionalities of RailMaster by an innovative facet, which is, of course, entirely in the interest of our customers.
And how was working with Umbrella?
Exactly how I had hoped: fast, proficient, and always solution-focused.
How long have you been with Travelport and what exactly is your role in the organization ?
I have been with Travelport and its predecessor Galileo since 1991, with some breaks. Of course, over such a long period of time you do not always have the same job, so I have had a lot of different positions.
I am currently Regional Product Manager for Germany, Austria and Switzerland. My main responsibilities include working with colleagues to gather the product requirements of our customers in these countries, validate them and, if needed, make sure they are implemented. I also act as Product Manager for our rail product, the RailMaster, and the Pricing Cache, a product that enables us to deliver priced itineraries primarily to organizers and OTAs.
Let’s get to know Michael Kuptz a bit better: where did you grow up and where do you live now?
As a true northern German, I grew up in Geesthacht near Hamburg. I have lived in Frankfurt am Main since 1991. When I first moved to Frankfurt, it was a challenge for me. But luckily, the city really developed in a positive way, especially in the past 10 years, which is why I feel at home here now.
Plus, Frankfurt boasts a great central location. You can easily take a day trip on the Mosel, the Rhine or even in the Forest of Odes or the Spessart mountains. The only thing I really miss about Hamburg is being close to the sea.
Michael Kuptz outside of work: what do you like doing in your free time?
I love getting out on the weekends. Together with my wife and kids, we take a lot of excursions and go to events.
Motorsports are also another passion of mine. I really love rallying and rally cross, even if I don’t actually drive but rather just watch live. I find it fascinating how the drivers master their cars, even in the most adverse conditions and at high speeds.
And of course I am very enthusiastic about “my” football club, FC St. Pauli. I even join the “Kiezkicker”, as the team is called, for their away games whenever I can. It also offers me a welcome reason to return to Hamburg time and time again.