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ITB Personalities: Felix Willeke, deputy managing director and head of Marketing, Lernidee Erlebnisreisen

Felix Willecke, stellv. Geschäftsführer und Marketingleiter Lernidee Erlebnisreisen

A home game with signature moments and an air of excitement

The news I am bringing to ITB …

Over the last few months demand for Arctic cruises has risen to such a degree that we have had to seriously increase capacity. In summer 2017 we will be chartering MS Ortelius for the first time for a cruise to Spitzbergen, and we have already scheduled two cruises for 2018. In 2019 we will step up our programme with a cruise to the Antarctic and one visiting Iceland and Greenland. Travel agency sales are booming in this segment. It seems adventure cruises meet luxury market needs, require professional advice and are preferably booked over the counter. We are just as delighted with this success as our travel agency partners.

My expectations for ITB Berlin 2017 …

 … This is a home game – for us as a Berlin-based company it is an ideal opportunity to demonstrate our presence. We will be making use of all five days of the fair. Buying, and the annual reunion with all our partners in our targeted markets  – there is no other fair where this takes place so intensely, efficiently and one can communicate better.

Above all ITB Berlin is an event where we sell products – sales partners from 45 countries will now be visiting us on our stand. That is incredibly motivating – and will make our meeting in a Siberian log cabin a signature B2B moment. The bar is well stocked too.

What could be a headline topic at ITB Berlin 2017?

… Digitalisation will continue to be the main topic. Startups such as Conichi are currently showing what it really means to be a game changer. In the medium term, Johannes Reck of GetYourGuide aims to revamp the entire event business. We are watching developments with interest, respect and with a certain air of excitement. This is a good thing and motivates us to be adventurous. Just like in 2016 when, under the name of Belvelo, we were the first to offer guided e-bike tours all over the world. Perhaps not a game changer, however our customers confirmed that the pilot project with our first trips was a big success.

What I personally like about ITB …

… the short distances we only need to cover. Being in Berlin is doubly positive for us – our 100 square-metre stand gives us a lot of space to present our products and services and lets us welcome visitors and generously cater for them during talks and informal meetings. And I for one am glad to be able to see my family in the evenings. For me, taking my child to school in the mornings and stopping off for a brief espresso on the exhibition grounds is the perfect start to a day. It shows me what is important in life: a happy private life and a job that is quite simply positive, challenging, motivating and inspirational all round.

What is important for me …

… is what I just said. Not just to have company data in one’s head, but to be able to experience what dealing with people in business really means. The fact that long-term relations and sustainable business count for more than an immediate return on investment or shareholder values. Medium-sized companies are what it is all about.

Sustainability also means that a lot of what a value chain produces benefits destinations. Many of Lernidee’s important destinations are in threshold and developing countries, which are politically unstable and socially and economically speaking do not enjoy the same favourable conditions that we do here.

Meet Felix Willecke in Hall 26 / booth 301

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