Gunjan Verma

Gunjan Verma

Chief Technology Officer

Gunjan Verma, Chief Technology Officer of The Travel Corporation, discusses the role of technology in transformation and combatting COVID-19...

Last year, The Travel Corporation (TTC) celebrated its hundredth anniversary. The globe-spanning organisation incorporates around 40 brands as part of the TTC family, as well as a number of Hotels. “Each of those brands is known in their categories to provide exceptional customer service and travel experiences at their core,” says Gunjan Verma, Chief Technology Officer of The Travel Corporation, and previously of one of those brands, Contiki. “We’re passionate about making travel experiences personal, with a huge focus on sustainability. Whatever we do is with the aim of making travel matter.”

The customer experience is at the core of the travel experience TTC offers. “We have a platform called My Travel Portal,” says Verma. “We use it to build excitement even before a vacation has begun. What are you going to see? What are you going to eat including any dietary requirements? What are the local experiences that will be available to you? It also allows our customers to express their travel passions. For example, you may say you’re actually very interested in architecture, while your partner may say they're very interested in food and wine. We capture all of that detail.” Beyond that, it also has simplifying functions such as taking the stress out of juggling travel documents by storing all relevant data for hotel check-ins or flight boarding.

Verma points out that just as important as the new technology is the culture supporting it, however, with a new emphasis on supporting decisions with data. “18 months ago, we embarked on an AB testing framework with everything we do. Now, we don’t just say an image on our website looks more inspirational than another - we let data tell us. We’re shifting the culture from inspiration to inspiration and data, instituting a culture of testing, learning and continuous improvement.” Alongside that is an emphasis on trusting teams to manage themselves. Verma sees this as not just a trend but a permanent evolution. “It is actually well established now that self managing teams perform better. The question is how do you keep business objectives in mind, give them to your respective teams and let them get on with it, promoting that culture of autonomy with a few guide rails.”

Going forwards, Verma sees his department as continuing to fulfill the measures upon which it judges itself, namely improving customer experience, providing productivity improvements, focusing on security and compliance, increasing distribution and building a culture of continuous improvement. “TTC’s technology department will continue using technology and digital-enabled tools and processes to make our brands more successful in their respective, competitive marketplaces.”

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