Bert Bakker, Operations Manager, Events Travel shares his views on the single biggest challenge facing the travel industry right now, the difference between working in APAC compared to Europe, and what he looks for in a holiday destination.
Tell us what you/your company does in 20 words or fewer? We are an event ticket and hospitality company. We offer seats and packages to major – sold out – international events.
Tell us the 1 thing about your company/business that we need to know. We have an online platform for partners where all of our options for international events are available all the time and confirmed immediately.
What do you like about your job? Working on events that I enjoy watching personally and working together in a team of people I can call my friends.
What do you think is the single biggest challenge facing the travel industry right now? I believe more people are looking for unique ways to explore the world. And the individual travellers tend to keep full control on their travel plans and do not want/need the help of an agency.
What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to someone starting out in the travel industry today? Take a look at your own interest. Based on that, choose a niche market to start in. This way you work on something you like personally (improving your odds of success massively) and you start off in a market with fewer competitors. First succeed in your niche market, then add another niche market and build on it.
What do you find different about working in the APAC market versus internationally? The APAC market is new for us. But what we still have to get used to dealing with is the strict governmental rules in terms of travelling. In Europe, we are used to just hopping on a plane and going wherever. But consumers from the APAC market have to deal with things like Visa applications, etc.
How does social media aid the travel industry? Nothing like images of remote places and other people travelling sparks the need to travel in people. So it plays a massive role.
Name your favourite app and why. Snapchat. Not really an answer related to the travel industry. But I just enjoy the fun way of letting people you know, see what you are up to.
Where was your last holiday? Macedonia and Albania.
How did you buy it? (online, travel agent, phone) I booked it at an online travel agency as a package deal (flight and hotel)
Why did you choose that destination? The countries are not run over by tourists, and the nature is stunning. And it is always fun to go to new and unique destinations.
Where’s next on your list of places to visit? On business I will go to cities like Berlin, Dublin and Cardiff over the next few months. But the first proper holiday will be in the beautiful Malaysia. After the WTM Connect trade show I will be travelling the country for a few weeks.
You’re stranded on a desert island – what 3 items would you want with you? I do not know if my girlfriend would appreciate it if I address her as an item, but that is number 1. Otherwise sunglasses, spray tan and swimming shorts, as you better enjoy yourself on that island.
What was your first job? I worked in a factory making cubic containers and pallets for farmers.
And your first job in the travel industry? At my current company.
What is your prediction for the year ahead in the travel industry? As people in general have more to spend in the year ahead, more will travel.