Big Interview: 2023 – Traveltek’s year of broken records and product launches

Big Interview: 2023 – Traveltek’s year of broken records and product launches

We sat down with Mal Barritt, CEO of Traveltek, to see how the ‘labour of love’ poured into the company over the past couple of years has reaped unparallelled results

Still reeling from the success of launching its AgentConnect product to the North American market last year, Traveltek went on to report a record-breaking year last year.

The past few years have been a real “labour of love” though, explains Mal Barritt, CEO of the travel technology company.

“When you’re building and defining any new product and any new technology product specifically for the travel industry, it takes time, it takes effort and there’s a lot to learn along the way.

“You need the right skills and experience to define something really innovation driven for the market.

“So, we spent a lot of time specifically in North America trying to understand customer requirements and what they would want as a product offering for that market and then building that product and then deploying the product,” he said.

Twenty customers later in the North American market, the team have not only achieved the target goal they set out to with its launch, but the product has been very well received by the market, with a “lot of good feedback”.

The addition of landing a very large client around Christmas time last year, which will be revealed later this year, saw the firm go on to be the most successful its ever been.

Barritt puts this success down to customer sentiment, customer acquisition and customer retention.

The firm embarked on the year 2023 with a “very clear plan” to evolve the existing product suite and bring a new product to the market.

Its migration to the cloud has played a part in its retention of customers with Barritt citing the ability improve customer service because of it through the stability of the platform as well as the reliability and the performance of the platform for speed and efficiency.

Last year’s total of sixty-six new client acquisitions was a “huge” record for Traveltek and its biggest success of 2023.

The 25-year-old firm also saw record-breaking recurring revenues last year, too.

Barritt said: “We’ve done a lot of work over the last couple of years to try to differentiate ourselves from our competition through customer service because we believe it all starts that.

“So, when we look at acquisition, and the numbers of customers recruited, I’d say that was our proudest achievement of 2023.”

The firm’s view on people for its growth also saw it “work really hard” to improve salaries so they are market rate, which came at a “significant cost” to the business but is something it believes is necessary both from a retention point of view in the business but also for recruiting the right skills into the business needed to grow.

He added: “We invest in our people, and we are seeing the benefits of that coming through relative to our growth from 2023.”

Delighted to have embarked on its recent journey, “there are exciting things ahead for Traveltek with regards to the new product”. 

Its plans for 2024 include a “very, very aggressive growth plan”, along with rolling out the new product it out to its other established markets as well as the continuation of its existing product suite.

Making its mark on the cruise market is top of the agenda as its growth is predicated on the fact that it wants to increase its penetration of the cruise market.

Its mission is to be the global leader of cruise distribution technology: “I think we’ve got an excellent platform to really establish ourselves as the market leader,” said Barritt.

“We know we’re strong in the field. We know we’ve got competition, but we want to stand out from the crowd and be the leader of cruise technology globally.”

Expect more content and more functionality to be added to its product in 2024. The firm will be leveraging its cloud-native environment to lean in on developments with AI and other technologies alike.

Aside from plans to be a cruise juggernaut, Traveltek plans to carve out a space for itself in new markets, especially the Middle East.

New cruise terminals, more cabins on cruise liners and new cruise lines in the region with the likes of Saudia Arabia’s own cruise line, “it’s definitely becoming a fast-growing market when it comes to cruise”.

Barritt believes Traveltek’s technology lends itself well “very nicely” to the market’s growth opportunities.

The “sizeable” customer the firm picked up last month, which is yet to be announced, is a testament to that. 

The cruise specialist will be at Arabian Travel Market in May as a focus source market and will sponsor Travolution’s networking drinks that run alongside the event.