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Business Traveller

CEO Spotlight: Inside Reservations.com: America’s fastest growing travel platform

Yatin Patel

Here is how one leadership team combined people, process and technology to redefine an entire industry

It seems that the leadership behind America’s fastest growing travel platform, Reservations.com used a winning formula that has led to solid growth. With highly engaged internet traffic statistics for the US market, any analyst can see that not only are they growing – they are also succeeding with customer retention.

A closer look at a string of recent achievements and an understanding of the concept underpinning this travel platform, shows that the results they have, are not by chance. Two distinct factors differentiats the company in a way that it did not have to carve out a special place in the Travel industry through price cuts. The founders combined two special elements that resonates well with all stakeholders: First they created a platform where customers keep returning for a special experience – then they focussed on creating a workplace where the team can love what they do.

People as a differentiating factor:

Yatin Patel who is the CEO and Co-Founder at Reservations.com was recently recognized in the 2019 Outstanding 50 Asian Americans in Business awards, specifically for his business and philanthropic contributions. Given the importance these top 50 Asian American entrepreneurs have for the US economy, it is a remarkable achievement to be on the list. But this is not all:  As such a fast-moving entity with solid growth, Reservations.com also received a 2019 Central Florida Fast 50 award.

Due to high satisfaction levels among team members, the company went on to earn a Great Place to Work® certification – the industry standard for high-trust, high-performance work cultures. Earlier, in 2018 it earned a Best in Biz award, and a 2017 it received the Bronze Stevie Award for best hospitality and leisure website. Patel said the following: “The special people ingredient that we cherish is no less valuable than all of our technological advances – customers can feel it when dealing with our team members, sometimes I think it is contagious and am incredibly grateful to our team for being so compassionate when looking after the needs of thousands of people all year round”.

An innovative, futuristic concept:

The high customer retention levels and growth also has much to do with the user-experience of the platform. Having a seamless integration where humans function perfectly, aided by artificial intelligence, is a part of this special experience. In fact, recently a well-regarded technology expert discussed this clear path to disruption, crediting the 5 specific ways in which the platform crafted a high-touch model.

Given the founders’ long track record in the online travel and technology sectors, they have carefully deconstructed both conventional travel agencies where the people element was everything, as well as the elements that worked well for online. They knew that a key missing element for conventional agencies was the ability to scale up – but for online, it lacked that special human touch and experience that is different and unique to what the masses buy on discount sprees.

Reservations.com has the philosophy that experience-travel is all about escapology and the excitement of breaking the mould of our daily lives: that people want something different. By moving away from the typical one size fits all approach and by leveraging deep learning from customer data, the company truly succeeded in providing return customers with the sort of experiences that really suit their taste. This seamless integration between AI-assisted decision-making and human driven interactions, is providing the customer with exactly what they have been yearning for.

The key achievement of this futuristic concept in travel is this: Now, suddenly there can be thousands of people in different parts of the world at any point in time, who receive a very personalized experience – and recommendations that suit them well, to the point that they do not feel part of the masses.

Understanding what people want and where the competition lacks:

By truly understanding a special segment in the market and setting up an experience to cater for them, it goes beyond satisfying just that group of customers: it redefines a concept for many people. The self-service platforms like Airbnb and Priceline brands will always have a market somewhere in the world, but the phenomenal growth of Reservations.com just shows that in the wake of economic recovery, there is a growing number of users who still value special treatment and experiences also before and after their holiday. A platform that can set the tone for a special holiday and be ready to provide that on a recurring basis – seems likely to continue along this growth trajectory.

When you have people with a deep understanding of an industry, who are open to using the latest technology out there, who then carefully combine all these elements with a great team that feels truly valued it delivers a remarkable result. In this case, it proves that it is still possible in even the most competitive markets, to command a special position. This is a fast-moving company that is certainly worth watching.


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Alexandra Dimitropoulou
Deputy executive editor at the ​CEOWORLD magazine. Writer, internet person, professional restaurant recommender, and native New Yorker. Passions: health & wellness, coffee, running & dogs.
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