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Interview with Fernando Morote, Sales & Business Development Director at Yalago

Fernando Morote, Sales & Business Development Director Yalago
This month we had the chance to catch up with a long standing friend of TravelgateX's - the unstoppable Fernando Morote. Read below his thoughts on hotel distribution, lessons learnt with the pandemic and the evolution of Yalago.


- Tell us a bit about you, what you do and your company

- I’m originally from Mallorca in Spain, however I moved to Dubai with my family four years ago in order to launch, as Sales Director, Yalago – a bedbank which is part of The Emirates Group.

Playing a pivotal role in the inception of the brand and having the foundations of Dnata and The Emirates Group has been an amazing experience.

- Can you talk about solutions you think will be most impactful in the next 12 to 18 months as travel begins to recover?

- We’ve seen the whole world focusing on automation. IT roles have become more critical than ever, as there has been a huge demand for them. 

This new set up has meant that companies have to be more cost-efficient, and we are expecting an even more competitive landscape once travel recovers.

- What were your original plans and intentions when your first set up Yalago and how have they evolved since then?

- Before we even started, we knew we had a very solid base, the Group has been trading for more than 40 years and there was a clear opportunity for Yalago. The pandemic has meant we’ve had to pause our ambitious expansion plans, however now we’ve seen indications of recovery, we’re starting to look at resuming these plans – In fact we’ve already started to recruit several sales roles.

We are extremely confident in our value proposition to the market, that despite being the middle of a pandemic, we launched our new retail focused brand in the UK last autumn – Yalago Retail Connect. Throughout this period, we’ve continued to keep growth on our minds, and kept true to our vision of becoming the most valued leisure specialist wholesaler.

- What does TravelgateX add value to your business? What suggestions/challenges would you give to our TeamX?

- Since the inception of Yalago, we’ve always been a TravelgateX customer. We’ve worked with each other in the past and we knew this partnership was going to be a quick win for us to get into the market and connect with our clients. Since then, we have grown together and TravelgateX has become one of our primary distribution solutions.

With automation mind, our challenge would be allowing TravelgateX clients to use more flexible API specs from suppliers. Our APIs are constantly evolving in order to provide additional information to reduce manual operations. Having our distribution partners adapt to these changes is in everybody’s benefit.

- Travel trade show season is going to be upon us again soon, but it’s going to look very different this year with events going virtual. As a veteran of years of travel trade shows, how are you going to approach these virtual shows? 

- We are yet to see if a virtual travel show will be able to deliver the same level of return on investment as face-to-face conferences. Virtual tradeshows are becoming more regional, as it’s difficult to align time differences when logging on from different continents. As exhibitors we are also missing the additional business brought by walk-in customers. As this situation continues to be the new normal, I’m confident they will get better with time, however we are quite skeptical at the moment. 

- What resources do you draw inspiration from on a regular basis (personally or professionally)?

- I’m inspired by people that are able to reinvent themselves over a given time. Being able to quickly adapt to a hyperdynamic environment, and succeed while doing it. In addition, I’m also inspired by people that keep themselves on the top of their game through patience, hard work and perseverance. So kind of liking opposite worlds!