NEW YORK -- Orbis Polish Travel Bureau, the North American
subsidiary of Warsaw-based Orbis, Poland's leading travel firm, is
in the midst of a major restructuring under its new president,
Cichocki said he is redirecting the company toward the goals of
providing seamless service and maintaining a higher profile among
He estimated that Orbis' North America unit handled about 4,500
clients in 1999 for FIT and tour programs compared with 5,200
people in 1998, a 13.5% drop in core business.
Cichocki said Orbis suffered major setbacks in 1999 due to the
crisis in Kosovo.
"We're not really losing money, but we're not generating money,"
he said. "The crisis in Kosovo had an effect on bookings to Europe
in general, and central Europe in particular."
Orbis also had been suffering from an overly bureaucratic and
departmentalized operation, he said.
"It was like the structure of a very large company, which we're
really not here," Cichocki said. "The emphasis should be on the
needs of the customer. If customers have a request, they don't care
how the request is fulfilled, as long as they get seamless
"It's more efficient if one person takes care of the customer
from the beginning to the end. In the past, when somebody was
buying FIT arrangements in Poland and also buying a ticket, the
ticket was handled by the ticketing department. Now one person will
In addition to one-contact service for all customer inquiries,
Cichocki's other key initiatives include discontinuing the firm's
air consolidation function, expanding its Web site to process
agents' booking requests, more aggressive attendance at European
travel seminars in key markets and contracting with Susan Jawriluk,
an outside sales and marketing representative based in Chicago, to
represent Orbis at trade shows.
The company's restructuring includes a staff reduction from 10
to seven employees in the first quarter of 2000. Cichocki's goal
for 2000 is to reach the level of revenue it achieved in 1998.
"If we'll be able to attain that number this year, we'll be
fine," he said. "Anything [more] is an extra."