In today's competitive travel industry, having reliable software solutions is essential for businesses to thrive. That's why companies like wbe.travel are so important. They provide comprehensive software solutions for travel businesses around the globe.
Recently, HyperGuest had the opportunity to chat with Radu Ciubotaru, Director of Sales and Business Development at wbe.travel, to learn more about their mission and vision.
Can you provide an overview of wbe.travel positioning, including the solutions offered, its market penetration, and target client base?
At wbe.travel, we have built a reputation as one of the most honest and transparent companies in the travel tech industry. Our approach is focused on showcasing only the features that we have available, which includes a full tech suite consisting of a B2B system, corporate contracting, an external system, and an XML gateway. We are proud to be one of only two travel tech companies in Europe that offer this full tech stack, which we believe sets us apart from our competitors.
Our system is designed to be sales-focused, meaning that we provide our clients with the tools they need to increase their sales channels. This includes offering more booking engines, selling their XML in major marketplaces across Europe, and providing more sales channels through XML, B2B, B2C, and corporate engines. We understand that in order to succeed in the travel industry, our clients need to be able to offer their customers a wide range of options and flexibility, which is why we have developed a system that is focused on meeting these needs.
In addition to our sales-focused approach, we also offer an automation feature that provides our clients with a touchless booking experience. This means that any customer, whether they are a corporate travel agent or an end consumer, can make a booking and receive their voucher or ticket automatically. The invoice and receipt are also sent automatically, and the booking information is integrated into the client's ERP system, either provided by us or an external vendor. This automation feature helps our clients save time and reduce costs while improving their overall customer experience.
When it comes to Distribution in the travel space, the big players such as Booking.com and Expedia immediately spring to mind, as if they were practically the only ones generating traffic and bookings. However, the world of travel is characterized by many niche players and points of sale, so how could hotels benefit from them?
That's a great question. At wbe.travel, we focus on our strengths, which are building contracting and external systems that are connected to major bed banks around the world. We don't specifically build software for hotels, but our customers can sell via push and pull methods across multiple hotels. When a hotelier or a group of hotels approaches us, we encourage them to work with our customer base in their respective regions. We find that this approach is the most honest and transparent way of working.
In cases where a platform like HyperGuest is used, it can be a great facilitator because hotels don't need to add all their static data to our external system. Instead, they can log in and most of the work is already done. We see HyperGuest as a great tool to help our clients who are working with Audit.
Describe the wbe.travel's approach to innovation and product development, as well as how it ensures that its technology solutions are fitting for each type of client.
To begin, wbe.travel's approach to innovation and product development is deeply rooted in its DNA as an IT-focused company. The company was founded by two programmers in 2003, and every decision they make is IT-focused. For example, wbe.travel created a SaaS engine in 2005, which allowed multiple customers to use one supplier in the backend. In addition, wbe.travel was the first company in Eastern Europe to move to Microsoft Azure when it launched its cloud service in 2010, allowing the company to scale up its travel business.
wbe.travel is always looking to stay ahead of the curve in terms of technology. The company integrated with Open AI for its chatbot six years ago in 2017, putting it on the forefront of this technology. wbe.travel believes that focusing on IT challenges is key to staying competitive in the travel industry. Therefore, the company encourages travel companies to focus on what they do best - serving customers and providing a flawless booking experience - and leave the IT challenges to companies like wbe.travel.
What do you see as the major challenges facing the Travel Demand industry in 2023 and beyond?
To be honest, we were a bit lucky. Travel demand has been the only area that was untouched by the crisis, so as soon as people could travel, they started doing so. We have seen a slowing of growth in other sectors, such as homes, cars, consumer goods, Amazon, stocks, crypto, and anything else. In reality, everything except people's desire to travel has gone down, even a once-in-a-lifetime black swan event like the pandemic or a lack of airport amenities has not stopped people from traveling. In my personal experience and belief, the only way we could see a booking slump this year and next is if purchasing power decreases. People are not stopping traveling, even a local war in Europe is not stopping them, but bookings will decline only if people's purchasing power is eaten up by inflation.
For us, the pandemic was an accelerator for both our business and our customers, resulting in over four times the number of bookings we had in 2019. In my belief, the only way for this to change is if people suddenly find themselves without money and genuinely cannot travel. I have some suggestions for travel companies to be careful because inflation is eating away at budgets and making them more restrictive. My number one recommendation is to only work within your market and become better in your own market, rather than going outside it. Also, be careful about giving credit to companies you don't trust, as it could lead to exposure. This is my advice for travel companies moving forward.
Can you discuss your decision to integrate wbe.travel with HyperGuest and the benefits it provides to wbe.travel clients in terms of direct connectivity?
To be honest, we needed a solution like HyperGuest three or four years before it was even formed. The problem was constant demands from customers asking us to solve the dilemma of dynamic rates. They were losing out on static rates with hotels and desperately wanted to access dynamic rates. However, with millions of hotels out there, and customers only able to access hundreds of thousands of them, they wanted direct deals but couldn't afford the IT costs. For example, connecting with 50 hotels would require 50 channel managers, and the cost of IT would be too high to fight the big OTAs.
We knew we couldn't afford to pay the IT costs to connect all these OTAs channel managers. As a result, we couldn't connect them. When we discovered that a market-dominant player like HyperGuest had more than 130 channel managers connected to a one-stop solution, it clicked for us. We saw the demand and realized that in two to three years, everyone would need a solution like HyperGuest. Those who sign up now and use HyperGuest will be ahead of the curve by two to three years. I envision a future where everyone will need a company like HyperGuest connected because they want to cut out the middleman. However, building your own IT isn't feasible, and intermediary companies are necessary. This is why we partner with the best in the business.
To read more about wbe.travel's integration with HyperGuest, check out their profile on our new Integration Center!