How to scale with purpose - an interview with JTB's Geert de Boo
We spoke to JTB's VP of Business Travel on how their recent investment in Goodwings will accelerate the future of sustainable business travel.
JTB Corp is one of the oldest and most prestigious travel providers in the world, with over 111 years of experience. In August this year, Goodwings announced an investment round and strategic partnership with JTB Business Travel that will help propel them to the next level. We spoke to Geert de Boo, VP of Global Business Travel at JTB USA to learn more about how the partnership came about, and what it means for the future of JTB USA and Goodwings.
Interview by Alecka Micklewright
AM: Can you tell me a little more about how the partnership came about?
GDB: Christian and I have been in conversations for a number of years now, but it got to a point after the pandemic where it turned from talks to a more concrete discussion about an investment and partnership. JTB USA initially came into contact with Goodwings because we had some mutual clients and it became clear that there were a lot of synergies between our two companies.
AM: What was it that appealed to you about Goodwings?
GDB: From the very beginning, it was evident that Goodwings had something special to offer. For a company like JTB USA, Goodwings brings an innovative approach, coupled with a challenger model that really appeals. It is also really aligned with a core part of JTB’s DNA which is to contribute to a better world through travel. This goes beyond just environmental considerations, to how we contribute to our communities and give back to society. As a company we’re always looking for business opportunities that can make that happen, so here we are.
AM: How do you think a company like Goodwings can contribute to JTB USA's growth?
GDB: I think that it’s good for a large company like ours to align with innovative, creative and disruptive companies like Goodwings. Not only can they help us challenge ourselves and grow as a company, but they can also help us as we transition and focus even more on sustainability. Of course with any partnership or investment, we expect to see results, but I think that Goodwings has proven that you can do both - it is possible to do good and make money. That’s what is so unique about the offering and I truly believe that it can help us transform our company into a force for good.
AM: And what strengths do you think JTB USA brings to the table?
GDB: We have such a strong pedigree in travel management, so this strategic partnership is a way that we can support Goodwings with the expertise that we’ve built up over our 111 year history. In tangible terms this means that we bring, among other things, a competitive travel inventory of flights, hotels, trains and rental cars, together with unparalleled multilingual customer service. I hope that as the partnership develops, there will be even more overlaps between our two businesses that can strengthen our core offering.
AM: What industry shifts have you seen that reinforce the need for solutions like Goodwings?
GDB: I would say that sustainability is firmly on the agenda within the travel industry - that was certainly evident at the GBTA conference that took place in August this year. This is in part driven by the increased pressure to comply with climate legislation, but also just that businesses of all sizes feel they need “to do their part”. So, the fact that Goodwings, with the support of JTB USA, can cater to the travel needs of businesses, while being able to deliver emissions calculations and reductions, is a huge benefit and we’re excited to see how this develops.
AM: Thanks for taking the time to speak to us!