The recent signing of an agreement by the Lufthansa Group to sell Lufthansa AirPlus Servicekarten GmbH to SEB Kort Bank AB opens a new chapter for AirPlus, world leader in Corporate Payment services. This strategic move signals a new phase of optimized quality, innovation and industry leadership. In the recent issue of TravMagazine Melvin van Wingerden, Country Manager for the Benelux and Nordic countries, and Daniele Aulari, Director Western Europe, discussed their insights about the direction AirPlus is taking amid these developments.
One of the striking aspects of the talk was the emphasis on local expertise and customer service. AirPlus, present in the Belgian market since the early 2000s, has a strong local presence, with teams in Brussels and Amsterdam to serve customers in their own language and according to their unique business needs. "Our people have backgrounds in travel, payments, and procurement," shared Melvin, "They make sure our customers not only use our products for payments, but also that they really understand our customers' goals and requirements so they can realize maximum value."
AirPlus' strength goes beyond payment solutions; data plays a crucial role in their offering. "We generate data with every 'swipe' or virtual swipe, and we are known for the best data quality and highest level of detail, which enables our customers to manage their expenses quickly and easily," added Melvin. This detailed data, including specific booking and business information, allows clients to effectively allocate costs and streamline financial processes.
From Daniele's perspective, the focus on environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria also emerged. He noted that transparency in spending and governance, especially with the upcoming European legislation, is central to their offering to help clients comply with new reporting requirements.
Regarding the acquisition, Daniele stressed that AirPlus' future remains focused on customer-centric operations and digital transformation.
As the payments space evolves rapidly, Melvin stressed that systems built in the early 2000s will not be able to meet modern standards and requirements. "We set up migration projects and digital migrations during the pandemic and we are now preparing for the final phase of that migration project," he told us. With the new digital infrastructure, AirPlus will be able to launch new products and markets faster. Recent examples of innovations include integrating their corporate accounts into Apple Pay, Google Pay and Uber for Business.
The conclusion of the talk also revealed AirPlus' vision for the future. The company is focused on providing an "invisible payment experience" for users that is fully embedded in the travel ecosystem, where every payment and every swipe is seamless and frictionless for the user.
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