Welcome to our regular ‘Getting to know…’ feature. Every month, we’ll be interviewing a member of the Amadeus Rail team based in one of our offices around the globe. This month, we catch up with Mirja Sickel, Head of Sales, Account Management and Marketing
What’s your role at Amadeus Rail?
I am working as Head of Sales, Account Management and Marketing in the Amadeus Rail Business Unit and joined the team in March 2012. Before that I worked for 7 years in commercial departments of the Amadeus Airline Business Unit, but I was curious to know how I could help to support the growth of our new business unit for Rail. I decided to embark on this challenge despite my background being with airlines. Before Amadeus I worked for Lufthansa in Madrid, and during my studies I got to know the world of airports well, working at the check-in for several airlines. But from the start I knew there were certain parallels between the airline and railway industries. My experience helps me to understand quickly the challenges in the rail industry, especially when it comes to the distribution of the rail offering through different channels.
How does your role help make rail booking easier?
In my role I am working with many different railways to implement the right distribution solutions with the goal to improve the customer experience of train travellers. I am responsible for the definition of the right commercial model around the solution my product and development colleagues have defined together with the rail customer, and we always follow the objective to provide solutions that make booking rail easier for the customer.
What has been the most rewarding moment of working for Amadeus Rail?
My most rewarding moments are when I can explain to friends and family what we are doing in the Rail Business unit: establishing solutions that will make it possible to book rail as easily as flights in the future. Many of my German friends do not understand why they cannot walk into a travel agency in Germany and simply ask for a combined train ticket for their journey from Germany to France, or to buy their train ticket in Germany to travel from Madrid to Barcelona during their visit. I myself can still not understand why my business travel agency in Madrid has no trouble booking the most complex journey from Europe to Asia, travelling within different countries with various airlines, but has so much trouble adding a train ticket from Stockholm to Malmö to the same booking as my flights from Madrid to Stockholm.
What excites you about working in the rail industry?
The rail industry seems very interesting to me at this time as it is getting more and more deregulated; railway companies are slowly starting to enter into new markets and opening up their international distribution. It is exciting for me to support this change and see how inventive and forward thinking railways are nowadays. It is interesting to get involved in their processes when trying to improve the future.
What’s your favourite travel destination?
Impossible to say, I love travelling … wherever!
What’s your favourite app?
I like Spotify very much, which allows me to listen to music when travelling. Music makes me happy :)