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Travel expert interview: Mirko Behnert

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009

Mirko Behnert - travel expertToday we are interviewing travel industry rockstar Mirko Behnert, our newly-appointed Director of Marketing, Analytics and Corporate Development here at Before joining, Mirko has worked for Expedia,, ebookers and Avis Europe.

You have started recently in the marketing role at Venere. What are you bringing to and what exciting new things are you planning to do in the next few months?

I have a broad background in Online travel, Marketing and E-Commerce and I believe the experiences I have gained over the past 11 years in the tourism- and hotel industry in different parts of Europe will enable me to have a real impact on the Venere-brand. has been a pioneer in the European hotel industry since the very beginning of the online travel revolution (going back to 1995) and I am planning on building on that great heritage of innovation and ‘true’ customer focus.

We are currently going through an ‘exploration’ phase and looking at our customers’ needs- and desires in more detail, which will then help us to focus our ‘innovative brains’ on those things that will have the biggest impact on their experiences. I strongly believe that ‘true’ customer-focused innovation doesn’t necessarily have to be ‘loud’ nor involve adapting the latest technology gadgets, but small incremental enhancements that just make their online buying experience a positive part of their whole travel journey are often worth much more.

There are no detailed plans we want to share here – just yet – but rest assured we won’t rest and continue providing a great service to our customers – whether it’s on the web, on the phone or on a mobile device. Stay tuned!

How do you feel about the Facebook and Twitter revolution? Do you think social media are going to have a big impact on the travel industry? How are you planning to further develop social media engagement for Venere?

Social media has already had a big impact on the Travel Industry – just think about the impact sites like Tripadvisor have had on the way we purchase travel today. Travelling is a very engaging and emotional activity and people love to talk about it afterwards and share their experiences.

Social media is a great enabler to make the sharing of those experiences even easier, more exciting and more valuable for others. Social media also enables people to let others ‘participate’ (at least partially) in your experiences while you’re going through them … just think about the number of people who now send regular photo- and status updates to their Facebook profiles while still ‘on the road’.

In the past people used to have to wait until their back from their trips to share those experiences – now it happens in real-time.

What is your favorite holiday destination? What is your best travel experience ever?

I don’t really have a particular destination, but I love holidays in the mountains (i.e. Alps) during Winter- and Spring and I prefer activity-type holidays (i.e. Water sports, Golf, mountain biking etc.) during the summer months.

One of my best travel experiences in the recent years was the wedding of a good friend of mine in India. It was a traditional Indian wedding that went on for several days and we were a great group of friends travelling together to the different venues throughout Rajasthan.

You are German and lived in London, UK, until recently. How do you like your new life in Italy? What do you like the most about living in Rome? Are you learning Italian?

The short answer is ‘I love it!’ I had a great time living in London for the past 10 years, but I felt it was time for a change and Rome has always been at the top of my list of favorite cities in the world.

The lifestyle is quite different here, but I feel I have already adapted to it fairly quickly – almost too quickly when I look at the way I am driving now – there is a chance I lose my license next time I am back in Germany ;-)

I have started to learn Italian as I think it is an important part of exploring a new culture, but thus far the progress has been a bit slower than I had hoped…

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