Below is our recent interview with Yatin Patel, CEO and Co-Founder of Reservations.com:
Q: Can you walk through your professional and personal background leading up to the founding of Reservations.com?
A: The majority of my professional career has been spent in the hospitality and travel industry. Specifically, my efforts have been spent on the modernization and digitization of online travel. I have co-founded and operated several successful online travel businesses in the past.
The idea behind Reservations.com came from prior experience in the space and the realization that there was significant opportunity for a new online travel agency (“OTA”) that was focused on providing high-touch, customer-centric booking services to travelers around the world.
Q: Could you provide our readers with a brief overview of Reservations.com?
A: Reservations.com is a next generation online travel marketplace started in 2014. My business partner Mahesh Chaddah and I founded the company to bring the human touch back to online travel. Our skillsets are very complimentary; my background in industrial design and marketing, as well as Mahesh’s expertise in computer science. We had the chance to purchase the Reservations.com domain as the foundation for a strong consumer brand in the travel space.
The business has grown considerably since inception. We now offer consumers access to over 500,000 hotel properties across 5,000 destinations around the world. We have served over 2 million travelers and facilitated more than 4 million room nights along the way.
In addition to providing customers with a vast inventory of hotel options, we pride ourselves on delivering a higher level of service than other online travel businesses. In pursuit of this goal, we have invested heavily in a 24/7 call center that is available to all of our customers throughout their hotel booking journey. Our call center agents are there to assist with questions and concerns at no additional cost.
We are extremely proud of what we have been able to accomplish in a short amount of time. It is worth noting that we are completely independent and have never raised outside funding. All of our growth has been organic and fueled by the hard work of our team. This independence has enabled us to invest into areas of the business that we feel best position the company to serve its customers over the long-term.
Q: How are you different than other companies in the online travel space? Why do customers choose you?
A: As mentioned before, we offer a higher level of service than other companies in the online travel space. Travel used to be conducted solely through full-service travel agents. This was expensive and time consuming. In recent years, travel has shifted towards a low-touch, self-service model. We believe that Reservations.com sits in the middle of these extremes. We offer choice and competitive prices with an added human touch.
A seamless booking experience across devices that aligns with a customer’s unique preferences is what we strive for.
Q: What are the future plans for Reservations.com? How will the company continually evolve to serve its customers?
A: We view the future success of Reservations.com from a few different angles.
For one, we are constantly looking at ways to expand our inventory of hotel properties. This is an ongoing pursuit and is something we consistently prioritize. We are able to increase choice for our customers year after year.
Secondly, we are exploring new and innovative ways to deliver greater value to our customers. For today’s customers’, travel is an experiential category. We have started to work with partners to offer event and ticket purchases alongside hotel accommodations. We are looking at expanding this into other experiences, like tours. Ultimately, we are building a lifestyle brand that customers can use for all of their reservation needs.
Finally, we are building out a deep loyalty program called R Club for our most valued customers. R Club members will have access to special travel deals as well as personalized trip planning from a dedicated travel advisory team. Our team of travel advisors are well versed in itinerary planning in local markets around the world and can offer specialized advice on how to get the most out of your trip: from hidden gems in South America to the local’s favorite restaurants.
We are extremely excited about all of the new initiatives we are working on.