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Interview: Ketan Anand, Co-Founder and CTO at tripAbrood

“I will remember this pandemic as something that forced all the businesses in the world to focus on innovation and agility across technology”.

tripAbrood is shaping the future of family travel by building the world’s first AI-powered family travel booking experience. Using AI, machine learning, and data intelligence, we are creating the sort of personalized experience families used to get from a local travel agent shop. Ultimately aiming to reduce the time it takes to book a family holiday online from 30 hours to under 10 minutes.

Tell us a little about you. How did the business start, and how has it evolved over the years?

tripAbrood’s founding team joined forces in October 2019, when we started on the journey of solving the many challenges we’d personally faced researching & booking family holidays. Fast forward to August 2020, we have now built an AI-powered online travel agency from scratch and have partnerships with multiple global suppliers and a popular GDS. Building a travel startup during a pandemic has been an interesting experience, to put it lightly.  Our initial founding team has now grown into a decent-sized team of 8 rockstars across product, tech, and growth. 

Can you describe the importance of two key factors to Tripabrood development: technology… and customer service.

Alexa, my co-founder and CEO comes from Bloomberg and brings in a lot of experience and passion for superior quality customer service. Our internal page in confluence has this quote “It is not your customer’s job to remember you. It is your obligation and responsibility to make sure they don’t have the chance to forget you.” from Patricia Fripp. The travel industry, in the last few months, has got a lot of bad press around customer service. We have always spoken internally about setting the bar high for ourselves regarding customer service, but the current pandemic has made the need even more prominent. 

We are a tech startup and as expected, technology is the engine that drives our business. Using the latest advancements in cloud computing and artificial intelligence, we are creating a truly disruptive travel booking experience. Technology, data, and conversational user experience are the three pillars of our travel product. 

Travel tech industry

In your personal point of view, what would you say has been the biggest lesson learned from this crisis? And in the travel industry?

Personally, I will remember this pandemic as something that forced all the businesses in the world to focus on innovation and agility across technology, business models, and operating structures. Our customers, employees, and especially the market is not forgiving of the companies that fail to innovate. There are enough unfortunate examples in the travel industry that are either closing or ramping down operations as they have prioritized legacy strategies over innovation and agility. Strangely it feels like the right time to be building a travel startup. 

Another unintended outcome of this crisis for us and everyone is the increased support and appreciation of remote working. We always knew this and have been a remote-first company since last year but this crisis has reinforced our beliefs in a remote-first culture. 

How long has Tripabrood been a partner of TravelgateX? What did you know of us beforehand?

Our partnership is just a few months old, having signed our partnership in April 2020. Not being from the travel industry, I had a fairly neutral lens going into the partner research. We went through a list of platforms and did a fair amount of due diligence across a wide set of factors ranging from product quality, performance, suppliers connected, operating costs, and technologies used. I found TGX to be the platform best suited to our needs and the rest is history!

How easy was it to integrate the TravelgateX API – and how long did it take?

Integration is relatively straightforward. TravelgateX API is well documented and more importantly, any gaps in understanding or integration are easily solved by reaching out to your team in slack. I believe we probably took around 4 weeks for an e2e integration with just one engineer working on it.

Benefits of using TravelgateX API

What are the benefits of using the TravelgateX API?

This is a state of the art GraphQL based powerful and flexible API platform that can be consumed as per our needs. The APIs are also highly performant and have clear documentation. They are truly APIs made for developers by developers! TGX team is also very quick in adding new suppliers.

How does working with TravelgateX and using the TravelgateX API helps you to achieve your business goals?

We are building a world-class travel personalization platform and really needed a partner that had a product with technical superiority, globally scalable design, and more importantly a partner that will work with us closely and give great support. TravelgateX tick these boxes quite well. We have been able to access multiple suppliers, consume their data, and test integrations all in a short period of time. We now have hundreds of thousands of properties in our inventory to sell. Being able to connect to multiple suppliers through a single platform is very efficient. This completely hides the complexities and business rules associated with each supplier and allows us to focus on the important priorities for our customers. 

You partner with many other tech companies – what makes TravelgateX different?

One of the things I really like about TravelgateX is that you are quite agile. Any support query is just a Slack message away. Like every other startup over the last few months, we also have had many challenges to overcome and TGX have been a great partner supporting us where possible along the journey. 

Lastly – how would you describe TravelgateX in three single words?

Fast, scalable, and innovative.