The HEAD acoustics travel office: We can hardly plan the day

Hello Diana, what is your job at HEAD acoustics?

I organize all business trips from Herzogenrath, Germany, to anywhere in the world. No matter where our staff are going, whether by land, sea, or air - I ensure everything runs smoothly. Over the years, I've learned one thing in particular: it's almost impossible to plan the day because things often turn out differently. Thinking and acting flexibly and constantly reprioritizing is simply the be-all and end-all of this job.

How long have you been with us?

I've been with HEAD acoustics since July 1993, so it's been over 30 years. I started in the Technical Management Office with Prof. Genuit until I returned part-time after my parental leave in September 2006. Since then, I have concentrated on business trips. During my time at HEAD acoustics, I have also reached many personal milestones. For example, I met my future husband here and count many colleagues among my close circle of friends.

How has your working environment here at HEAD acoustics changed over time?

We have grown considerably over the years, not just in terms of the number of colleagues. Our building stock has grown and changed a lot. This inevitably means that we don't see each other as often as we used to and don't know each other as well or at all. It was different in the beginning when everyone knew everyone else. Of course, people now also use digital channels, where they used to pick up the phone or visit in person. Today, it's no longer common to book hotel rooms over the phone with the help of hotel directories. Back then, we also booked flights via a travel agency over the phone, and they still sent the tickets by post.


The coronavirus pandemic and all its restrictions are still very much with us. What were the effects?

Corona has brought business travel activities to a complete standstill from one day to the next. We had to cancel all trips that had already been booked. Meetings were held online instead, whenever possible. After the most severe phase with lockdowns and contact bans, isolated tours in Germany took place under the strictest hygiene conditions. Later, trips to Europe were added again. The effort for long-distance destinations, which could then be traveled again, was enormous due to the different entry regulations. In the meantime, our travel activities have almost returned to pre-corona levels. Certainly, online meetings are now replacing one or two trips. However, direct contact with local business partners is essential to build and maintain personal relationships, among other things.

What effort do you put into preparing and supervising the trips?

It also happens that spontaneous on-site support is required for business travelers, for example, because they have problems with flight cancellations or rebookings for hotels, rental cars, etc., are necessary. Depending on the problem, the solution can sometimes unexpectedly cost a few hours of working time.

Every now and then, oddities happen that provide entertainment. For example, we once had a forgotten passport, which – brought to us to the headquarters in Herzogenrath by his wife – was finally chauffeured to the airport in a cab. Once, there was even a passport handover at the highway service station, where I drove to meet my colleague because he realized on the way to the airport that he had forgotten his passport. With his recovered document, he moved straight towards the airport and fortunately got his flight to Japan!

The stories from the road are also always lovely. For example, a colleague had to spend the night in the hotel sauna a few years ago due to overbooking at a trade fair. Others sent interesting pictures of their accommodation, e.g., a photo where the shower cubicle was installed in the middle of the hotel room.
Incidentally, I sometimes get calls from stranded colleagues while shopping in the supermarket or at a family party – it never gets boring in my job!

Thank you very much, Diana, and have fun at the travel office!