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Interview: Alex Yankelevich, CEO VacAgent

Alex Yankelevich, CEO at VacAgent, explains to us in this interview, how the crisis generated in the travel industry due to the pandemic has been an opportunity to adapt the workflow within his company and think about new products and initiatives for when the sector recover. It also explains the collaboration with TravelgateX to grow within the industry.


Has the crisis motivated VacAgent to make internal or external changes?

VacAgent, as may be the case with other players in the travel and tourism sector, has been impacted by the coronavirus outbreak COVID-19. At VacAgent, however, we have adopted our workflow to the current situation of the vacation rental industry. It is also good to see that, even though the new era demands new safety standards, there are countries that have already implemented certain strategies that have proved to be reliable under travel restrictions.

What is your growth strategy post-COVID-19 and how is TravelgateX going to help you?
Even as we the crisis persists, we already see some promising signs of steady recovery for those destinations that provide sufficient and safe conditions for those who travel under new restrictions. TravelgateX provides a powerful solution for global distribution of our vacation rentals inventory portfolio. VacAgent also implements some additional features, allowing travelers to indicate specific pandemic-related requirements that can ease the booking process. Keeping all that in mind, when time will come to call it this post-COVID, even more opportunities and travelers requests will become obvious, and we'll be there to help.


How did you come to work with TravelgateX?
Go Global, one of the big travel industry wholesaler and our strategic partner, offered TravelgateX software solution to facilitate our cooperation and we are satisfied by what TravelgateX has to offer. TravelgateX professionally deals with an array of partners, while constantly meeting up the rising bar of technological requirements.
 
With regard to partners in our platform, what destinations are interesting for VacAgent?
The current demand that we experience in our global distribution system is geared towards Europe and the Gulf region. There are many destinations that provide effective measures to prevent the spread of the pandemic, so we look forward to increasing our inventory in those regions first.

In your personal point of view, what would you say has been the biggest lesson learned from this crisis?
The crisis, which was devastating for the industry, brought not only challenges but also new opportunities. Over the past few months, our main goal has been to detect as many of them as possible and to overcome the challenges along the way. Our main lesson is to find ways to adapt and change what did not correspond to a new reality.

What do you think are some of the biggest opportunities that may come from this time for your sector? For the travel industry?
Because remote work does not require the performance of a particular office, individuals can work from anywhere in the world as long as the Internet is available. This is a great benefit because, without having to give up their career, they get to know other places and cultures. So if the average stay was about seven nights in the past and mostly during the holiday seasons, we expect long-term bookings to grow for months and longer, not only for holidays, but for a whole year. Travelers will come up with more expectations for a long stay, but we believe that the new challenges will be met by vacation rental professionals.

What is a crazy or out-of-the-box product or technology that you would personally like to see attempted for the travel industry?
At VacAgent, we are working on a unique bidding platform that will fully automate the entire bid process for travelers and property managers for long-term bookings. We believe this new platform will bring added value to all players in the vacation rentals industry.