Charlotte Gassert is Vice President of Sales, Europe, for the analytic company Infare, which uses large amounts of data to help airlines, airports and travel agents optimize their revenue management systems
How do you get into the world of aviation?
My flight career began 18 years ago when I joined American Airlines at the European Reservation headquarters in Dublin. From there I took on various functions in the German sales department before turning to more strategic management positions in European sales. After leading European units of a large travel management company, I moved to Budapest to oversee all of the company’s sales, marketing and booking activities in Hungary before being responsible for all North European and Baltic trade activities.
How did your career develop?
After 12 years with American Airlines, I saw an opening at Etihad Airways. In the same year, the airline started a partnership with Air Berlin, which allowed me to launch this joint offer on the market. When an opportunity arises for Infare, I am ready to take the next step and move to the aviation data technology center.
Can you describe your roles and responsibilities?
As Vice President of European Sales, I follow Infare sales in Europe and Africa, which are currently an important focus for us. My job is to support our sales team in achieving the best value for our customers, work with them on innovative new ideas, continue to develop our value proposition and further optimize the way we work. Because this is a newly created role, I have the opportunity to help shape and define our position and professionalization.
How has your previous experience helped you with your current role?
I understand what the airline needs and how it works. The main focus of my previous role was to review processes, create new business methods, build teams, and create value for customers and employees. Infare now makes some big changes with the fast growth we have seen in the last few years; actively design, expand and create something new. One can say with certainty that my skills in sales, organization and project management will be fully exploited.
What do you like most about your job?
I like to unite people, develop ideas, develop strategies and be part of a dynamic environment. The world of airlines is constantly changing and our solutions are supported, which change in many ways. We help airlines make smart decisions for long-term business goals by providing more data and expertise to make it useful. Our sales team moves from sales to advice – we can better support our customers with our experience and knowledge.
How do you see how your customer base develops?
For nearly 20 years we have reached an unbeatable global reach, and Africa is an important target market for us to expand our customer base and conquer this very diverse and attractive continent. We also see that customers demand increasingly diverse data and can respond to this question with the various products we offer, which are designed for various departments. Wealth and availability of data are very important, but knowing how to interpret information allows airlines to act. Tools for pricing information are very important for this purpose. Our sales and account management team helps customers get the most from their subscriptions.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I see that I am still in the heart of this unprecedented industry that is so dynamic and interesting. Looking back at the state of the industry when I started, there was no online registration or a la carte prices – who would have thought that this time there was? Innovation in the aviation industry is extraordinary. At the same time, we still have the human factor in a journey that combines the best of both worlds. The travel industry is addictive!