"In the last six months, we have pivoted towards accelerating development of particular products, focussing on those which we believe will most benefit travel retailers in the current situation"
Mal Barritt, CEO of Traveltek
Founded in 2002, Glasgow-based Traveltek provides travel retailers with the technology to package together an extensive range of hotels, flights, cruises and ancillary travel services in one seamless transaction. Since 2016, when private equity house YFM made its first investment of £5.3m into the business, it has undergone a transformation with the appointment of experienced travel industry expert Mal Barritt as CEO last year, completing the new management team.
“After almost 30 years in the travel sector, I was passionate about taking on the job of leading an advanced travel booking engine like Traveltek as I could see that innovative technology would play an increasingly important role in the future of the sector and, with the fallout from Covid-19 still posing huge challenges, this is more the case than ever,” explains Mal.
Following the devastating impact of the pandemic on the travel sector, Traveltek has fast-tracked the development of products it believes could prove to be business-critical for many in the hard-hit sector with launch plans brought forward to Q4 2020. Working with Traverse Associates Ltd, the main supplier for data warehouse and automation technologies within travel, advanced reporting and automation services are being integrated into the Traveltek software. The new Traveltek Data Insights product, believed to be the first of its kind, will deliver an impactful and powerful BI (Business Intelligence) reporting suite giving insights into both product and destination booking trends, with comparisons able to be drawn to any date band. It will be available on a subscription basis by the end of 2020.
Mal continues: “Having previously bought services from Traveltek, I have been able to look at the business through the lens of the customer and this has also swayed my take on product development - I always ask myself, would this product make my business more productive and really add value? In the case of Traveltek Data Insights, I believe it is particularly timely and could make a huge difference to travel businesses’ ability to recover post-Covid. There is currently a vacuum in terms of data insight with no aggregated view looking across users. As Traveltek covers a wide demographic, we can act as a useful barometer, giving insight into lots of valuable trends, from which destinations and holiday products are proving the most popular, to the duration and spend. This analysis will provide travel businesses with a crucial insight into what’s happening, helping them to predict future demand and plan bookings recovery.
“In the last six months, we have pivoted towards accelerating development of particular products, focussing on those which we believe will most benefit travel retailers in the current situation. For example, we have also fast-tracked our Robotic Process Automation (RPA) products which automate a lot of data entry and document scanning, enabling a significant amount of manual processing to be removed in line with the need to cut overheads or cope with a reduced headcount.”
Mal adds: “With the travel industry experiencing one of its most difficult periods ever, we are fortunate that the financial and strategic support provided by YFM is enabling us to innovate in line with market needs. In March, in what were some very dark times for many sectors, it was very reassuring to have a supportive, experienced partner on board that had real belief in the business and could act as a reliable sounding board as we navigated through the fast-changing situation.”
Over the last 18 months, Traveltek has focussed on the UK, Europe and Australia and has grown into a £5m business, employing 85 people. It recently moved from East Kilbride to a more central headquarters in Glasgow and also has offices in India, Brisbane and Dallas.
Steve Harrison, partner at YFM, comments: “The travel sector has clearly been one of the most heavily impacted by Covid, but the Traveltek team have responded magnificently to continue to support their customers in these difficult times and also by their ability to re-think and re-shape. As with all our portfolio companies, we have sought to work closely and collaboratively with the management team through Covid to adapt their business to the challenges and seek out opportunities.
“Traveltek has embraced remote working, increasing the team’s productivity and improving customer service and delivery, and is developing new products designed to help their customers become more productive and efficient, which will be key as the sector recovers.”