This month we meet Francesco Di Gregorio, Product Manager in Nice. He tells us about his role at Amadeus and about his excitement of being part of a European-wide project. He takes us to South Tyrol where he likes relaxing and coming up with innovative ideas.
Tell us about your role at Amadeus Rail.
I am a Product Manager at the Rail division of Amadeus. Our team is the key hub to channel the business needs collected in the market by sales, account managers, ACOs and railways into well-defined and prioritized set of requirements for the Development teams. I am responsible of all use cases related to Journey Planning, Shopping and Booking and my main goal is twofold: from a product perspective, I want to introduce disruptive technology and services in the market and remove any possible friction from user experience. From a budget prospective, I am here to identify high value requirements and funnel the budget in their direction. On a more long-term basis, I also look at product vision and strategic partnerships enabling sustainable profitability.
How does your role help make rail booking easier?
We put customers’ needs and feedback at the center of our attention, trying to simplify and streamline their processes whenever possible without giving anything for granted but always putting our expertise into it. Both on distribution and IT sides, our key priority is to make sure that our product line meets these needs by offering fast, flexible and highly-integrated solutions that hide the complexity and specificities of non-standardized interfaces and deliver an excellent and seamless user experience. We do this by constant iteration and fine tuning, continuously re-thinking our functionalities and acting geeky most of the time. But the results are then paying off: a single API and GUI to book many different rail carriers, PNRs fully integrated with the Amadeus products’ ecosystem and back-office feeds, a flexible and intuitive operational engine to manage the inventory of trains, etc..
What has been your most rewarding moment working for Amadeus Rail so far?
Running the technology showcase at the last Rail Form in Vienna was for sure a rewarding experience. I had the opportunity to showcase cool technology in front of a highly knowledgeable audience and make them dream a little bit for a moment. It’s incredible how much feedback and ideas you can collect in those kind of events.
What excites you about working in the rail industry?
I have been working for several industries, and travel and tourism is definitely the most exciting one for me. While one might find himself feel a bit alienated in most industries due to the poor palpability of the results, this industry gives you a unique opportunity to be both a professional and a customer at the same time and you constantly know that the things you do can have an impact on a really large scale and the reward can be huge. Today we are living at the time of pervasive “intrusion” of disruptive technologies in the areas of Social Media, Mobile Services, Big Data and Advertisement which makes everything even more exciting for this industry.
Speaking about Rail, I think this is going to be the next “big thing” in Europe. There are so many initiatives at the European level which are condensing huge efforts towards an open and well-functioning marketplace for Rail that I do really believe we will see outstanding improvements in the next few years, and we in Amadeus are excited to be part of this journey.
What’s your favorite travel destination?
I was born in a little town in the South of Italy, and thus grew up in a traditional, natural and genuine environment. This has been reflected somehow in my travel tastes since I am very much attracted by places where I can have a true contact with nature, local culture, a slow-down lifestyle and (hopefully) great local food. To give you an example, last summer I went with my girlfriend to South Tyrol for a week of hiking and relaxation. We had no internet access and no entertainment in the evening, but we truly enjoyed the beauty of the landscapes, the taste of local food and the peacefulness of the little village we were staying at. Those are the perfect moments to disconnect from the world and reconnect to your inner self in order to come up with some truly innovative ideas.
What’s your favorite app?
There are several, however, the first one that really made me say “WOW” was Shazam. If you listen to a nice song and want to know its title, share it or buy it, Shazam does it for you effortlessly. I consider this app as one of the first examples of how simple design, great usage and excellent performance should be mixed together to deliver a perfect experience.