Paresh Parihar interviewed by World Travel Awards regarding Travel Recovery
Paresh Parihar, CEO & Managing Director, Qtech Software discusses how he is leveraging technology to tackle the challenges set by Covid-19, travel recovery, and his thoughts on new travel trends.
Here are the excerpts from the interview. Read the full interview, at this link
WTA: What is the Qtech Software business model, and what changes in the way you operate have you had to implement due to Covid-19?
PP: Qtech Software is the technology backbone of travel companies in over 36 countries. We enable end-to-end travel operations including booking engines, Supplier integrations, Agent Management, API Redistribution, and many other services important for travel agencies. We were working on a fixed-cost model earlier which allowed our customers to expand and scale their operations without having a cap on number of transactions or the number of agents they have in the system.
2020 changed the way businesses function, the risk appetite has reduced and so has the investment outlook. Customers now want to start leveraging technology without having to pay an upfront cost. We understood our customer’s issues and have extended our support with spread out payment plans, moratorium on pending payments and options to pay in instalments.
Starting 2021, we have completely revamped our pricing plans. The new pricing reduces the capex significantly and empowers our customers to adopt a pay as you go method. It means, travel companies can now leverage our award-winning technology at a fraction of the cost.
For start-ups and new entrants in the business we are supporting them by consulting them on various aspects and helping them derive from our 15+ years of experience in the industry.
WTA: How have the global travel restrictions, in particular the impact on your suppliers, impacted your operations as a travel technology over the past year?
PP: The travel industry has been one of the severely affected sectors. We witnessed lockdowns, ban on international travel and many businesses shutting down during the last year.
One of the major trends we saw was the drop in inventory with many suppliers. It reduced the number of booking options available to agents.
Another key development over the past year was the shift from credit to cash / real time payments from our suppliers. Pre-Covid, every supplier extended a credit limit to the customers, which was discontinued by many suppliers in 2020. To keep a healthy cash flow, the demand has been for payments via credit card, virtual card, or net banking. We have enabled our customers’ systems with automated payment processing to mitigate this challenge.
WTA: Why is collaboration across the travel industry essential to navigating the post-pandemic landscape?
PP: At Qtech, collaboration is the only way we have worked with our customers, partners, and suppliers. As we started adopting a more virtual way of working, collaboration has now given way to real-time collaboration. It is important for companies to embrace digital transformation, be it for customer support or daily operations.
I believe traditional, walk-in, and offline mode of business need to adopt an online model. And it is imperative that technology be made more accessible by lowering the entry barrier. As a technology enabler, our role is now evolving into a partner to our customer than a service provider. We are driving more collaboration by helping our customers with better ways to market their services, utilize the full potential of their platform and leverage mobile technologies.
On the supplier side, we are deepening our partnerships in the ecosystem. It enables the customers to benefit from the preferential pricing and priority support extended by the supplier. And enables the suppliers to onboard more customers.
WTA: What advice from your own experiences would you offer to other travel and tourism companies?
PP: My biggest advice to all the travel companies would be to Go Digital! We have witnessed 10 years’ worth of transformation in last year alone. Companies must adopt an online way of doing business if they want to survive in the post pandemic world.
Automate your process to make your business function real time. Make your data available to your internal teams, to drive informed decision making. Leverage APIs to provide seamless experience across platforms. And get social media ready to drive better customer engagement.
WTA: What trends in travel and tourism do you see emerging in the aftermath of the pandemic?
PP: Travel is one of the necessities for humankind. We are driven by an inherent need to explore the world around us, connect with different cultures, consume the beauty of our planet, and break free, from time to time.
With the international travel restrictions, we have started seeing an increase in the domestic travel demand. As people become more aware about the situation, they are choosing safer ways to meet their travel needs. Long stays or staycations that enable people to work remotely are a huge trend now.
Families are preferring to travel by road to limit exposure and preferring to stay in individual properties, villas, and apartments.
Overall, the booking window has also reduced significantly for all types of travel. Which I believe will slowly go back to normal with time.
WTA: Have you had any positive changes in your own outlook in reaction to the crisis?
PP: I believe, the travel industry is going to bounce back and, it is just a matter of time before it happens. We need to be ready to serve the changing demands of our customers and shape the future of technology that empowers our customers.
The pandemic has given us extra legroom to improve ourselves and focus on key priorities in terms of product development. We upgraded key elements like our flights booking module and direct contracting module. We cemented partnerships with all major flights GDS – Amadeus, Sabre and Travelport. We launched our advanced Hajj and Umrah ERP Software and expanded our third-party partnerships.
We are working with a very positive outlook that will enable travel companies to provide world class services powered by our award-winning technology.