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Spotlight on Johnny Thorsen: Fulfilling a Longtime Vision for Corporate Travel
April 17, 2023
By Gus Torrey
Categories Life at Spotnana
Johnny Thorsen is Spotnana’s VP of Partnerships. He is a global technology evangelist in the corporate travel and mobile world with proven ability to start new businesses and develop new services within large companies. His 30+ years of experience in the travel industry includes writing code, marketing new products and services, and driving disruptive innovation for key industry players including GetThere, Sabre, Travelport, conTgo, Concur, SAP, Mezi, and American Express Digital Labs.
Johnny has a degree in software development and systems architecture from EDB Skolen, København. He began his travel industry career as a software developer in his native Denmark, landing at a company that developed back-office systems for travel agencies. Over the years, Johnny has negotiated and closed “impossible deals” between global enterprise buyers, startup suppliers, and major established industry players
When Johnny joined Spotnana in 2021, he knew that his final career move would mark the thrilling culmination of all of his prior experiences.
“My choice to join Spotnana was driven by the disruption opportunity as well as Spotnana Founder and CEO Sarosh Waghmar’s transparency, trustworthiness, and perseverance,” said Johnny. “When I met Sarosh, one of the first questions he asked me was, ‘What would you do if you really wanted to disrupt corporate travel?’”
Moving the travel industry forward
Johnny was thrilled by the development of Spotnana’s System of Record, an innovation driving positive change in corporate travel. Our System of Record is one of the many Platform features that powers modern retailing experiences with NDC content from suppliers like American Airlines.
“Spotnana doesn’t use the PNR as its order management system,” said Johnny. “With our own modern order management system, we incorporate the shopping basket experience into corporate travel.”
For years, corporate travel has been limited by old technology. Johnny sees our new cloud-native infrastructure as an exciting opportunity to build unprecedented travel capabilities.
“Our biggest key differentiator is the fact that we are cloud-native,” said Johnny. “We are not an existing solution that becomes cloud-enabled. We are only just starting to see what we can do with our data environment. In the next six months, we can build a number of unique capabilities that the industry has never seen before.”
Sharing our story with the world
Johnny spoke at 29 events last year, including Web in Travel Japan and Singapore, Phocuswire’s Global Startup Pitch, GBTA Convention, and BTN’s Sustainable Business Travel Summit. Johnny’s primary goal is earning the trust of his audiences speaks when he speaks on topics like open innovation, sustainability, blockchain, and travel microservices.
“One cannot sell trust, because trust is something that people give you over time,” said Johnny. “The only way you can earn trust is by being honest and straightforward, and by fully answering the hard questions in a way that prioritizes transparency over agreement.”
When organizations ask Johnny to speak at various industry events, they often ask him to elaborate on “Traveltopia,” his ultimate vision for corporate travel. In “Traveltopia,” collaboration and technological innovation contribute to the creation of new solutions that drive savings and productivity.
“Like Spotnana, there are many smart players and companies creating solutions,” said Johnny. “We want them to build on our infrastructure and create amazing solutions like Brex Travel.”
Before he joined Spotnana, Johnny was the keynote speaker at BTN Innovate in New York in 2018. During his discussion of microservices, he emphasized the importance of collaboration in driving future innovation.
“I made it clear that we could not continue with the product-centric view of building for a closed world,” said Johnny. “Spotnana’s microservices and APIs encourage collaboration across our industry and are the foundation of our open Travel-as-a-Service Platform.”
Smart data will drive travel’s future
As the industry shifts away from legacy technology, Johnny predicts that smart data will play a larger role as travel buyers develop deeper relationships with preferred suppliers.
“Assuming the industry remains relatively steady in the next five or ten years, we will all move to a more dynamic buying world,” said Johnny. “The idea of a single best price on a given product will be replaced by the idea of the best price for an individual, influenced by variables that are not always visible. Corporate buyers will need to leverage better data without a lowest price or given category price to use for comparisons.”
At the heart of Johnny’s long-term vision for corporate travel is Spotnana, which he believes will support corporate buyers everywhere as they refine travel programs to accomplish more for their organizations.
“My perfect long-term vision for corporate travel is one in which Spotnana accelerates innovation across the travel industry, enabling the launch of interconnected services in a fraction of the time, so that everyone can experiment and test more frequently,” said Johnny.
Sustainability education and innovation are crucial components of Johnny’s long-term vision for corporate travel.
“I am working to brainstorm innovative sustainability solutions and aim to end 2023 by achieving my new sustainability goals.
“To be a sustainability leader, we only need to apply the focus. We have the data, the platform, and the resources to deliver something the world has never seen before.”