Lufthansa City Center focus on automation, digitalisation, sustainability and a new customer experience

Frankfurt, 6th October: From 29.09.-30.09.22, the global franchise network Lufthansa City Center met with 105 attendees from 42 countries for the first in-person conference after 2019, co-hosted by our partner Amadeus at their Amadeus Briefing Center in Sophia Antipolis. Taking up the motto “ComeBackToBusiness”, the international LCC Headquarters, together with speakers from Amadeus, IATA, Lufthansa, Qatar Airways, Saudi Arabia, Panama, and Lufthansa City Center entrepreneurs, debated challenges, opportunities and changed customer expectations for the comeback of corporate and leisure travel.

“It is good to be back, and even stronger as before, as the personal encounters, and the revival of real business connections and handshakes was long overdue,” highlighted Martina Groenegres, Managing Director Lufthansa City Center International GmbH in the opening of the conference. “Despite the challenges of the past crisis years, the LCC network performed very well and even grew in these past 36 months with 25 new LCC members in 8 countries (Finland, Cuba, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Iceland, Mauritius, Iraq and Sweden)”, continued Martina Groenegres in her speech. Nine new franchise members already joined the conference in person. Anna Kofoed, EVP EMEA Travel Sellers at Amadeus, spoke about the future of travel being here today, the changing landscape and the key role of the technology as the efficiency enabler for travel agents. As labour shortage is a key challenge in almost any LCC market to date., the question of “How can trans-continental cooperation, intra-LCC talent exchange and automation empower Lufthansa City Center agencies locally?” was raised at the conference. Solutions and inspirations were provided by Prof. Dr. Armin Trost, keynote speaker and external consultant who shared his leadership, recruitment and talent management tips to compete in today’s tough employer market fighting for the best talents.

Two insightful expert panels enriched the conference programme: The first panel on Corporate Trends and Industry Forecast with Markus Orth (Lufthansa City Center Reisebueropartner GmbH), Laura Bellorio (IATA), Marian Szypula (Lufthansa City Center etravel Poland) and Anna Kofoed (Amadeus) debated automation, NDC, new fee structures, service components and new customer experience accompanied and guided by TMCs. The optimism on the return of business travel was underlined from all parties on stage, with up to 90% of business returned to the pre-covid times in Germany, Poland and many other LCC markets. “As TMC, you cannot just focus on bookings anymore. The future is about finding extensive solutions for bookings, digitalisation, sustainability, duty of care, expense and more for our corporate customers. Lufthansa City Center are prepared and look forward to drive these trends further to our small and medium-sized business clients,” stated Markus Orth as summary of the panel, to which all others agreed. “It is expected that by 2023/ 2024 a full recovery to 2019 levels will be seen depending on the region” said Laura Bellorio from IATA and thus underlined the recovery path of the industry.

The leisure panel invited Luciana Kramer (Promtur Panama) and Anas Alsharief (Saudi Tourism Authority) as destination representatives together with Inga Sigursveinsdóttir (Lufthansa City Center Iceland Travel) as DMC and Clemens Strauss (Oscar Bravo marketing agency) to outline successful marketing strategies towards the new leisure customer. The credo was clear: It all comes down to sustainable and authentic experiences, careful destination strategies preserving culture, nature and heritage, combined to digital marketing efforts focusing on individual community building for an authentic, lasting customer relationship.

Sustainability was not only part of the agenda, it was also lived at the event: Thanks to the new partner of Lufthansa City Center International, TreesforTravel, this conference was the first international LCC event organised with a CO2-positive balance. 75,966 kilos of CO2 were compensated through renewable energy projects, plus 463 trees planted.

The global audience agreed: the need for in-person meetings is stronger than ever before and will remain one key component of the rising business travel needs, always accompanied by virtual offers. Lufthansa City Center as global TMC and DMC specialist network will continue to differentiate from its market competitors - with entrepreneurial innovation and highest personalised services in combination with further automation, global network benefits, a strong and powerful brand, top quality talents and services and a clear focus to sustainable travel services.

About Lufthansa City Center:

Lufthansa City Center (LCC) is the world's largest independent franchise company in the travel agency market with 500 offices in over 90 countries and a total turnover of 5,43 billion Euros (business year 2019). LCC is active in the leisure (tourism) and corporate (business travel) sectors. The chain of owner-managed medium-sized travel agencies includes 270 offices with around 2,000 employees in Germany. Outside of its home market Germany (which is operated by the German franchisor Lufthansa City Center Reisebüropartner GmbH), the travel agency network employs around 2,300 people in 230 offices. Responsible for all world-wide agencies is Lufthansa City Center International GmbH, the international franchisor located in Frankfurt/Germany. Lufthansa City Center offer a global programme with local relevance to nurture the cultural differences and dynamics required in each market. A global presence with local capabilities ensures the best opportunity for delivering exceptional customer service. Further information is available at lufthansa-city-center.com/en.

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