We are very pleased to introduce you to Raymond Vrijenhoek, our new Commercial Director Benelux & Nordics. Ray brings a wealth of valuable experience from previous roles in the aviation and travel industries. He worked at Amadeus, Canada 3000 Airlines, Transavia, Travix (including CheapTickets), Otravo, Saber and Kiwi.com, among others. And, most recently at parking provider Parkos as a strategic advisor.
In welcoming Ray, Melvin van Wingerden, Country Manager AirPlus Benelux & Nordics, comments: “The appointment comes at an exciting time in our company’s history as we continue our ambitious program of growth and innovation. Ray brings a wealth of experience and he will greatly help drive the commercial teams in the markets.”
During this open interview we look back on Ray’s first few weeks and speak about his vision for the region.
Congratulations on your new position as Commercial Director of AirPlus Benelux and Nordics. It’s been a few weeks How’s the energy?
I have been welcomed by the AirPlus family in a very warm and professional way. It feels like a warm bath. I am very motivated to inspire and fuel the team with some fresh energy. The whole Sales team is ready and looking for new successes and qualitative growth in our portfolio.
What inspired you to join AirPlus as the new Commercial Director, and what are your initial impressions of the company and its culture?AirPlus is a people’s-oriented company, I felt that already during the recruitment phase and this has been confirmed during the onboarding. In addition to the AirPlus culture and people my main reasons to join were the corporate payment sector where I feel and believe a disruptive future and serious change is ahead.
You’ve had quite an impressive career within several aspects of the Travel Industry already. Can you tell us about more where your career started in the travel industry?
After my graduation I had the opportunity to start my career at NOVA Tours (still existing), a traditional and typical Amsterdam based travel-agency and tour operator ‘combined concept’ where the owners gave me all freedom to learn all aspects of serving customers in the best possible way. Aside from the operational business aspects I learned how to behave as an entrepreneur.
How do you see that expertise fit and contribute to AirPlus’ future & vision?
Because of my industry veteran status, I can contribute to various topics thanks to my previous roles and experiences in Travel, Insurances and Distribution. I sincerely look forward supporting and contributing to the ambition and objectives for AirPlus in an environment (payment/fintech) where agility and adaptation to customer needs remains key for success.
The corporate payment is ever evolving. How do you see the company changing short term and long term?
AirPlus has very solid and robust organization, this in combination with the ‘newly launched state of the art platform’ will gives us a velocity to facilitate our current and new customers in the best possible way. The payment industry is built on reliability and sustainability and that’s exactly what we can offer globally. As many more clients have embraced the digital arena indirectly, they have global presence where AirPlus can help them in the right way with the right products.
And, lastly, how do you see yourself and your new team being part of that change?
The Sales Team is very divers, well-prepared, experienced, greatly motivated and above all they are intrinsically motivated to succeed. I am here to guide them in the right direction giving them instruments and support enabling both the individual and us as a Team to be recognized as customer obsessed with a winner’s mentality.
We would like to thank Ray for taking the time to sit with us and wish him the best of luck in this exciting new role!