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Meet Johannes, Product Manager

Johannes joined Inspiring Vacations in 2022 and is responsible for developing and managing a portfolio of tours. Johannes’ role involves crafting high quality, value-for-money travel packages that resonate with our market, negotiating with suppliers and constantly analysing and looking for new ways to delight our customers.


Why did you join Inspiring Vacations?


I wanted to join Inspiring Vacations, a company that is on track to become a juggernaut in the travel space, early on to help shape the company’s strategic roadmap. We do things differently to most people in the industry, which was a major draw card for me. The horizontal organisational structure empowers staff to make autonomous decisions, while ensuring that everyone is heard. You get as much out of your role as you put in. 


How did you get started in the travel industry?


Born and raised in Germany, I embarked on a career in the travel industry after studying abroad in Melbourne. Several years in the wholesale, OTA and tour operating space ultimately led me to Doha-based Qatar Airways where I sourced and managed all outgoing package travel solutions. From here, I plan to use my skills to help elevate Inspiring Vacations to greater heights.


What skills are essential for a successful Product career? Any advice for those hoping to make a career of it?


There is so much more to the Product function than designing trips. Beyond destination knowledge, you will want to have a keen eye for commercial analysis and supplier negotiation. You will excel in the Product space if you are data-driven, with a desire to question the status quo, and determined to solve problems. 


I would highly recommend making an effort to understand Operations and Marketing implications with your every move, as Product cannot exist in a vacuum. The ability to weave together departments from different fields will set you apart, and lay the foundation for a well-oiled production factory. Strive to create itineraries that solve a customer’s problem, are logistically feasible to operate, and can easily be marketed. Only if you look at these factors holistically, will you be able to design great products. 


What do you most enjoy about your role?


The varied nature of my role is most appealing to me. Product Managers always juggle a number of tasks, which creates a challenging, yet rewarding, work environment. You may start your day with competitive analysis, followed by itinerary writing, brainstorming new product ideas and negotiating terms with suppliers. Add to this regular travel opportunities to meet key industry stakeholders on a global stage, and you will begin to understand my fascination with the Product function of the business. 


In your experience, how does Inspiring Vacations do things differently?


There are no corporate hurdles to detract from your ability to create greatness. If you are passionate about a new product, you will be given the tools to turn ideas into reality, so long as you do your homework. As with any business, profitability is key to success, as is customer and employee satisfaction. However, unlike most places, strong emphasis is placed on autonomous decision-making to address all of these points equally, at your own pace and without the need to move up and down a vertical hierarchy. 


What kind of person do you think thrives at Inspiring Vacations?


Be bold. Be ambitious. If you enjoy a good challenge with a close-knit group of bright people that expect you to collaborate and put your thinking hat on, you will thrive. 


How would you describe the Product team?


We are an energetic, resourceful and compassionate group of people that is curious about what the world has got to offer, and how it can be shared with others. A passion for travel is at the core of what we do, as is a common desire to create incredible experiences for our audience. Most importantly, the team is aligned with a shared vision, which creates the base for a productive work environment. Lots of laughter throughout the day ensures we stay motivated and effective at what we do. 


What are you most looking forward to with the company?


I am excited to help steer the company’s future and see it transition from start-up to global leader in the travel industry. The work we put in now will define the company’s legacy, which is empowering.