Sep. 24, 2021


Güçlü Batkın

Oman

Güçlü Batkın

CEO, TAV Operation Services

“We are already offering an end-to-end customer journey. From the minute a customer arrives in the car park area we serve with valet parking, meet-and-greet, and fast-track services on arrival and departure.”

BIO

Güçlü Batkın, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of TAV Operation Services, one of the subsidiaries of TAV Airports Holding A.Ş., is responsible for the management of the product and service portfolio that makes up the group's non-aviation revenues. TAV Operation Services, led by Güçlü Batkın, operates in more than 20 countries with 1100 employees. TAV Operation Services serves its consumers in Turkey and abroad with brands such as Primeclass, TAV Passport, Hello Sky and LoungeMe. Güçlü Batkın, who graduated from the University of Maryland, Department of International Trade and Marketing in 2000 with a double major, started his professional career at Global Securities. Continuing his professional career at PwC, Batkın joined TAV Airports Holding in 2005. Batkın, who took many different positions within the Holding, such as TAV Georgia Secretary-General, TAV Latvia Country Coordinator and Holding Business Development Coordinator, gained experience, especially in corporate and strategic transformation. Batkın, who served as HAVAŞ Sales and Marketing Deputy General Manager between 2012 and 2017, was then appointed as the Holding's Commercial Affairs Director (CCO). Batkın has also served as TAV Tunisia Country Director since 2015. Batkın, who completed the Harvard Business School Advanced Management Program, is the Vice President of the Foreign Investments Council of DEİK. Batkın, who is married and has two children, speaks fluent English.


What have been some of the recent developments of TAV Operation Services over the past year?

TAV Operations Services is the hospitality arm of Groupe ADP and TAV Airports. A very recent development of Groupe ADP taking over 49% stake of GMR, positioned our company as being the largest international airport operator platform in the world. Thanks to current shareholder structure, we are leveraging our in-depth hospitality offers with airport operator business experience and distinctive background. Today we operate in 20 countries with 34 airports and 62 lounges, we are serving our passengers with more than 1000 employees all around the world. We are taking a 'one company' approach to build the services business under TAV, with ADP and ultimately GMR. Within that TAV OS is the only company reaching customers at all touchpoints with an end to end travel and hospitality journey.

What are the benefits and challenges of being an independent operator during the pandemic?

It's been challenging and unprecedented times for every business, but the aviation industry is one of the most negatively impacted one by nature. During the pandemic, our priority was to keep our people and customers safe and healthy. Every country has its own rules and regulations and we put our best effort to be compliant with each of them. Together with our agile teams, we were so fast to take action in any incident also getting support from the airport authorities and institutions. As I explained, we are operating in multiple destinations with a very diverse infrastructure. Our company is a learning organization and have a solid background so all aspects of mitigation plans were on place during this crisis as well. It is true that we are facing such a crisis on global scale for the first time ever but also have a proven management success. Our action plans resonated with recent COVID-19 safety rating for lounges, which was the first of its kind in the world. Our Primeclass lounges in Riga and at Muscat airports rated as the first lounges given the 5-Star COVID-19 Airline Lounge Safety by Skytrax. We are also highly motivated with feedback received from customers which is giving us additional responsibility for continuous improvements to sustain operational excellence.

How are you adapting your strategy to remain sustainable financially?

Our core business requires a solid review of current and future capital needs as we have are running continuous expansion plans in many region. We need to determine precisely how to address our anticipated growth. We optimized our costs during Pandemic and forced all operations leaders to improve their planning capability to evaluate risks. The cooperation with financial institutions and our international counterparts also helped us for the risk management. We adapted our strategy based on the current needs not only for financial sustainability but also operational performance.

How does TAV Operation Services stand out amongst its competitors?

Customer satisfaction is our first priority and is core of our business continuity as being a hospitality service provider. We stand out with our dedicated people with their efforts to make our customers happy and satisfied. The trends and needs during pandemic accelerated digital investment for all parties in the ecosystem. Our main target is to provide a seamless and contactless journey for our passengers when it comes to end to end customer journey management. Our group companies' operational presence is leveraging our expertise for airport operations beyond hospitality. We have a great understanding of the airport customers and authorities so this knowledge guide us how to increase customer satisfaction at all touchpoints. I believe this is how we distinguish in the ecosystem as TAV OS.

How is technology changing air travel and where is it making the biggest impact?

We are following the trends and capture ever changing patterns of customer buying behaviors fast. The positive insights of travel recovery is giving us more courage to invest more for satisfying elevated customer expectations. Digitalization is essential for a seamless passenger journey. We were focused on big data for many years and digitalization agenda was more relying on single customer view and automation tools around this algorithms. Today we are discussing AI and AR in providing customer experiences which is beyond prior expectations. Time and health safety are more valuable for everyone than ever. Passengers want to travel hassle-free, but all the health safety precautions and well-being concerns implemented in the sector mean that we need to be more careful in terms of how it is affecting their time consumed and overall journey. The more contactless interactions we can offer, the higher we create customer satisfaction. Today we are ready to provide our lounge customers online booking and order system. They can reserve a meet and greet service or car parking prior to their arrival. We will see further development in the value offers provided for customers to ensure minimum contact in the airport and maximum time reserved for passenger comfort.

Do you expect the timeline for the green transition in the aviation sector to be shifted because of the pandemic?

We closely monitor that Gulf countries are developing green energy and alternatives, and investing heavily in this green transition. All sectors will go green eventually and for aviation and our sector, it will be even sooner. We want to be carbon-free and environmentally friendly until 2030. Customers expect lounges to be safe zones and we are responsible to provide what is required for a best journey.

Are there opportunities in other ancillary activities to embed TAV Operations into the travel chain much more?

We are already offering an end-to-end customer journey. From the minute a customer arrives in the car park area we serve with valet parking, meet-and-greet, and fast-track services on arrival and departure. We have the amenities in the lounges like wellbeing areas, and plans to enhance current spa experience. As a side note, we also operate the commercial areas of TAV-branded airports. To expand our value propositions, we also explore new business areas. The travel industry is recovering much faster than other sectors so we are ready to invest more in the near future.

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