QBT boss plots recovery course

QBT boss plots recovery course
By admin

Struggling business travel operation QBT needs to be dragged into the 21st Century in order to reverse the fortunes of the business, its new head has declared.

Russell Carstensen identified technology and a fresh focus on the “shop floor” as key to improving the performance of Jetset Travelworld’s travel management division.

Ensuring the QBT brand is “protected” is also critical to its success, he told Travel Today.

Carstensen, the general manager of Air Tickets, was appointed to spearhead QBT’s recovery after posting a $3.3 million loss in the 2012 financial year following a profit the previous year of $3.5m.

Its performance was partly responsible for JTG’s overall 72% slide in profits.

“Some of our processes are old fashioned. For example our manual reporting needs to be automated,” he said. “We are really focused on technologies because we’ve been behind the eight ball. We want to put the focus back onto customer service and that doesn’t mean just being on the phone. It’s about the technology we can give our customers. QBT needs to be moved into the 21st Century.”

The high cost of servicing contracts, particularly the government, needs to be reduced with technology key to achieving that aim. QBT will work with Amadeus to help provide automation, he said.

“We need to get the balance right between online and an offline customer focus,” he said. “Our online penetration has to improve. Every manual booking is a manual cost.”

Carstensen admitted some customers have walked away “reluctantly” as QBT lost some of its focus and struggled to provide the online/offline balance. Additional competition in the market also had an impact, he said.

But the brand remained a strong and trusted one, Carstensen insisted. “We must ensure that brand is protected. I still think it’s a great brand and we have to build a business around the quality of that brand,” he said.

He was unable to rule out further job losses over and above the 65 already announced but stressed there would be investment to give “shop floor” staff the tools to improve customer service.

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