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Interview: Felix Shpilman, CEO of Emerging Travel Group

“What we value in our partnership with TravelgateX is an exceptional level of support”

Emerging Travel is an online travel group that operates three brands in more than 100 source markets: the B2B brand RateHawk and B2C brands ZenHotels and Ostrovok. The Group was founded in 2010 and is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year.

RateHawk is a new generation B2B hotel-booking platform. It is used by over 15,000 travel professionals in 120 countries including Europe, the Middle East, South America, and Africa.

In this Interview, the CEO Felix Shpilman explains about the products, competitive advantages, and collaboration with TravelgateX.

What products does RateHawk have?

RateHawk is designed for travel professionals who are looking for a hotel-booking tool that would respond to all their needs, no matter what type of clients they work with – business travelers or leisure customers, individual travelers or groups. Therefore, in addition to booking accommodation, RateHawk also provides group and individual hotel reservations, transfers, car hire, and other travel-related services.

We also offer a wide choice of tech solutions for our partners: a powerful web-interface, fast integration using different platforms as well as direct API integration and white labels that can be integrated in a matter of hours.

Focus and advantages

What markets are you focusing on?

RateHawk has dedicated full-time teams in over 30 markets across Europe, the Middle East and beyond who work day-to-day with our partners. We have offices in Warsaw, Limassol, Delaware, and Moscow, and within the next few years we are planning to open more offices in European cities and in the Middle East.

What is your competitive advantage for travel partners?

The first is our rich hotel inventory – it is sourced from more than 100 wholesale suppliers and 30,000 direct hotel contracts, which enables us to provide our partners with the most competitive prices.

The second is our powerful technology stack. RateHawk’s smart algorithms aggregate the hotel inventory from hotel suppliers and direct contracts, process it and help to find the best rates. Across our entire business we use a lot of machine learning algorithms and invest in UX-research in order to make our product meet the most stringent criteria for travel professionals.

And finally, as a company with early B2C DNA, we focus on providing the best customer service possible. Therefore, RateHawk has an inhouse multi-language support service and a special pre-check service which manually checks every booking and confirms its details with the hotel directly.

The convenient back-office provides access to the analysis of a partner’s performance. On the whole, the integration process was quick and simple.

Partnership and grow

Tell us a little about how the business started, and how it has evolved over the years.

Initially, we came from the hyper-competitive and complex world of B2C hotel sale distribution, where the product and service are the most important success factor. We had managed to build successful brands in B2C, but it was obvious that it was the B2B segment that lacked a user-friendly, high-tech and supply-rich hotel-booking system. Thus we decided to apply all our experience in creating an innovative B2B platform and founded RateHawk in 2016. Over recent years, RateHawk has demonstrated great financial results and significant annual growth. We have localized the platform into 14 languages. We have brought on board over 15,000 travel professionals worldwide and we are definitely not planning to stop there.

How long has RateHawk been a partner of TravelgateX? 

We have been working with TravelgateX for over a year now.

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

Thanks to our partnership with TravelgateX, we have enlarged our partners’ portfolio and connected with new clients worldwide as well as managed to strengthen our position in more markets.

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

What we value in our partnership with TravelgateX is an exceptional level of support and responsiveness, a client-centered approach and advanced analytical tools. The account managers are very professional and responsive, they closely monitor their partner’s performance and provide assistance and guidance in order to improve it.

All the modifications to the system are made within the shortest time, they are easy to test and can be implemented effortlessly. The convenient back-office provides access to the analysis of a partner’s performance. On the whole, the integration process was quick and simple.

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

Innovative, reliable and flexible.