A candid chat with reservations.com CEO & Co-Founder YATIN PATEL

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Hello Yatin, can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I’ve spent over 20 years in the internet technology and e-commerce industries as an entrepreneur, designer, founder, investor, and operator. More recently, I’ve been focused on the travel and hospitality industry through Reservations.com, which I started with my co-founder Mahesh Chaddah in 2014.

I am also an avid photographer and I stay actively involved in the Orlando philanthropic community through various organizations. 

What are your focus areas and why?

I’m currently 100% focused on the online travel industry. My co-founder and I saw an opportunity to disrupt the status quo in online travel by offering a higher level of personalized services to customers. That realization led to the founding of Reservations.com and the amazing journey we’ve experienced over the last 5-years.

We see tremendous potential to continue the growth of our business and to improve the levels of service we offer our customers. It’s exciting to be at an inflection point where we can play a role in redefining travel.

How does Reservations.com work?

We are an online travel agency (“OTA”) that connects travelers with an inventory of over 500,000 hotel properties around the world. We provide a simple and easy-to-use interface that allows customers to search for specific properties, cities, or regions to accommodate their next trip. The reservation process is intuitive and seamless.

In addition to our online reservation functionality, we have invested heavily in a 24/7 call center. The call center provides access to trained travel agents who assist customers with making reservations, accessing exclusive rates, and servicing existing itineraries. 

Where do you think you are making an impact? 

I believe that we have started to shift the perception of what an online travel agency can, and should, be. By showing consumers that there is a higher touch alternative to the status quo, we are redefining the industry standard for hotel reservations. 

What can you offer that your competitors cannot?

We pride ourselves on offering a higher level of service than our competitors. The founding principle of Reservations.com was to bring the human touch back to travel. We strive every day to live up to that motto. Heavy investment in our call center operations is a testament to our dedication.

In addition, we are in the process of refining and launching a loyalty program for our customers. We aim to pair each member with a personal travel concierge who can recommend destinations, activities, hotels, and other experiences specific to their preferences.

How do you go about creating a unique travel experience for your clients?

For the average consumer today, the focus of travel has shifted from destination to experience. Good travel experiences begin with the booking process – the very first step in our customers’ journey. To provide the best experience, we offer 24/7 support for all of our customers. Our loyalty program will also reward our valued customers with the added opportunity of speaking directly with U.S. based travel concierges to plan once-in-a-lifetime travel experiences. This will include not only lodging, but also transportation, tours, and restaurant recommendations.

Tell us a few of your success stories?

I’m most proud of everything the Reservations.com team has accomplished over the last 5 years. Starting from nothing but a domain name to powering nearly 2,500,000 hotel reservations is an incredible trajectory. It gives me a great sense of satisfaction to know what is possible with a group of dedicated and driven individuals all working together towards a common goal.

What are some of the biggest challenges you have faced?

Growing Reservations.com without ever raising outside capital. This has required an incredible amount of diligence and thoughtfulness in every decision we make. We have needed to be ROI positive from day one, which has instilled in us a great sense of organizational discipline and efficiency. Although this is a tougher route for growth, it has given us the freedom and control to position the business for long-term success.

What are your top travel tips?

We consistently post great travel tips on our blog called Runaway Suitcase. Given that I’m frequently on the road for work, I loved our recent piece on how to stay healthy when traveling for business. I also enjoyed a recent post we put together regarding travel journaling. It’s so easy for the details and intricacies of a trip to get lost as time goes by, so I love to write things down so I can revisit them later.

Outside of that, I always urge people to just get out and travel. Travel is oftentimes characterized as a stressful and daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. Travel with an open mind, jump into it headfirst, and you’ll come out the other end with a wealth of experiences to reflect on.

 

Anything else you would like to share with our readers?

I would encourage all of your readers to visit www.reservations.com the next time they are planning a trip. If they would like to speak to an agent, they can always call  844-656-1783. We would greatly appreciate the opportunity to assist in reserving their next great travel experience!

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